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Why I Study Languages

The benefits of bilingualism are proven. Studies show that knowing two or more languages makes us smarter, protects us from Alzheimer’s disease and allows the brain to look at things in a fresh way. Of course none of those are what pushed me to study Italian. I began my Italian language journey with a spark… Read more »

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10 Things I’m Grateful for Now

This past autumn Marco was a bit down. He had a mountain of work to catch up on after being gone for a month and a half (Italian august holidays plus honeymoon). He had been sick for nearly the same amount of time. He was, quite literally, sick and tired, and it wasn’t helping his mood…. Read more »

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Italy’s Traditional Food For The New Year

I’m not sure how many American families actually indulge in sausage and sauerkraut on New Year’s day. Though it is a tradition in the United States (without a doubt stolen from our many German settlers) most Americans I know turn up their nose at the sour dish. I was raised watching my grandfather and father scarf… Read more »

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Photo Essay: Meditations in Borobudur

Borobudur is an easy day trip from the cultural city of Yogyakarta, in Java, Indonesia. But it wasn’t always known as the must-see sight in central Java. It’s hard to believe that this day-tripper’s mecca was once an unknown point on the map, buried beneath the Indonesian jungle for centuries. Borobudur is an 8th-century Buddhist… Read more »

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I Have a Confession To Make

I have a confession to make.  I ruined my own birthday by being irritable, spiteful and, in certain moments, simply mean.  Surely it was a snowball effect. It came from one thing after another, accumulating until BAM! It exploded. I believe that’s true, but it’s not a very good defense. The end result was still an explosion. … Read more »

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25 Things I’m Really Freaking Proud Of

It’s no secret that I’m a list person. That’s proven on this blog again and again and again. Yet the day before my 25th birthday, I can’t help being a bit haunted by the “25 Things Anyone Who is Even Remotely Successful and Worthy of Living On This Planet Must Do Before 25” type of lists. I know… Read more »

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Photo Essay: Slow Travel in Spain

I’m all for slow travel. I am. But the truth is, I’m not sorry for my weekend trips. I’ve already written my strong defense for weekend trips – I love ’em! – and my summer weekend trip to Spain was no less amazing. I admit, I usually jam-pack my short trips in an attempt to… Read more »

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Death from a Distance, Grieving from 36,000 feet

  Living far from home means missing out on parties. It means missing out on birthdays, holidays, father’s and mother’s days. I’ve missed bridal showers and wedding showers and weddings and babies’ births. I’ve sent my heartfelt love through cards, mail-ordered gifts and Skype calls. I’ve given presents months later when I finally came back… Read more »

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50 Things Americans Think About Italy

Any trip to a new country ignites a storm of comments and questions. It’s only natural to compare, to delight in the novelty and be shocked by the foreignness. After my recent post, 50 Things Italians Think About America, I realized that that’s really only half of the story. For every time an Italian is marveling at the… Read more »

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Indonesia, a Tropical Italy

The first thing we did at the 2015 Milan Expo was head to the Indonesia pavilion. With a honeymoon already planned to the archipelago, we were excited enough to hitch more than a kilometer all the way to the edge of the fair grounds. Qatar had built an enormous megaplex, Brazil had created a web of rope that visitors… Read more »