My Language, My Self – A Personal Essay

One of the most delightful words I have come across in Portuguese is beija-flor. Kiss-flower. Doesn’t that sound pretty? Can you guess what it might be? It means “hummingbird.” Compared to the rather utilitarian onomatopoeia in English, isn’t beija-flor so much more visual, metaphorical, even sensual? One of the best things about learning language as an adult … Continue reading My Language, My Self – A Personal Essay

CARNAVAL!

Samba! Feathers! Glitter! Streamers! Confetti! — Carnaval has officially begun in Brazil! A little bit of history Did you know that the word carnaval is believed to derive from the Latin phrase carnem levare which means “to remove meat”? Carnaval, like Mardi Gras in the U.S. or Karneval in Germany, is a pre-Lenten celebration that ends on … Continue reading CARNAVAL!

The Need for Speed: 10 Things You Should Know about Driving in Brasília

First things first. Brasília was designed for cars. According to a recent guidebook on Brasília, the city did not even have stoplights until the 1970s! The city was constructed in the 1960s, which coincided with the rise of the automobile as a modern icon and status symbol. The layout of the city was intended, among … Continue reading The Need for Speed: 10 Things You Should Know about Driving in Brasília

On learning to be diplomatic and the F-word (pssst, the other one)

Friends, it has been a while. My silence (“Funkstille” as Germans would call it) hasn’t been due to lack of travel—there has been plenty of that. But any time that I have recently sat down to write an entry, I have become keenly aware of how trivial our travels seemed during this time of political strife and upheaval. … Continue reading On learning to be diplomatic and the F-word (pssst, the other one)