Sep 242014
 
Musing on Languages

I recently started wondering how much language audio lessons reflect the culture of that language. I’m not an accomplished linguist, but whenever I travel, I do like to learn a few words of the local language to help smooth my way. Although I’ve always been told that “please,” “thank you,” and “Where’s the bathroom?” are […Read more]

Dec 082013
 
Connectivity Junkie in Search of Wifi

In 1991, a Greek wanting a new phone usually had to wait several years to get one. I was told that most mid-level managers in the Greek phone company spent the majority of their work hours trying to expedite new phone installations for their friends. (Needless to say, this doesn’t speak well for their ability […Read more]

Aug 022013
 
Ancestral Village Homecoming

I’ve found a new reason to love Greece. Of course I love it because I lived there years ago. When you experience daily life somewhere—grocery shopping with a phrasebook in hand so you don’t create a dinner disaster or enduring a monthly bill paying ritual with your landlady because you don’t have time to stand […Read more]

Jul 182013
 
Hiking the Pilgrims' Path in Delphi

Most people go to Delphi to visit the archeological ruins. Having seen these multiple times, I decided to experience the ancient world of Greece a different way—by hiking the ancient pilgrims’ path from Delphi down to the ancient port of Kirra. I suppose it might have been more pilgrim-like to do the hike from the […Read more]

Jul 172013
 
All Road Signs Lead to Athens

…even if all the roads don’t. I seem to be destined to get lost in Thiva (Thebes). The first time I ever drove in Greece, Thiva was my downfall. I’d done fine getting myself out of Athens and onto the national road (highway). At Thiva, I needed to head west toward Delphi (aka Δελφοί as […Read more]

Jul 082013
 
At Home in Greece

It’s amazing how easy it is to slip back into life in Greece. Even when I’m walking streets I never walked 22 years ago when I lived there, they feel familiar. It’s instinctive to watch for uneven pavement, or to look left, right, sideways, behind me when I cross the street. I’m confident in the […Read more]

Jul 072013
 
Fish Feeding on My Feet

People often seem surprised that I don’t mind traveling on my own. And of course, I’m the first to agree that having a good travel companion to laugh with and who likes to explore the same things you do is probably the most fun way to travel. But when I’m in the situation of having […Read more]

Jun 272013
 
Entering Greek Mode

I feel myself slipping into Greek mode. That mindless state of being in which you expect that things won’t work. Or make sense. Or be on time. When you’re in true Greek mode, you even lose all expectation that anything should work or make sense or be on time. The hotel toilet doesn’t flush? Oh […Read more]

Jan 212012
 
Red, White, and Blue in the Land of Blue and White

(Originally written on July 3, 2011) My memory of past Fourth of Julys is a blurred collage of barbeques and family picnics. Usually I’m wrapped in warm clothes and shivering since summer in Seattle traditionally starts on July 5, though a few clips in my memory collage also reflect the sunshine of long lazy holiday […Read more]

Mar 132010
 
On the Road to Olympia

In Greece, guard rails must be for sissies. There were certainly none on this winding mountain road across the Peloponnese. And I wasn’t too confident about the brakes on my rented, somewhat battered, Nissan Sunny since the car teetered on the edge of a skid on every wet curve in the road. It was the […Read more]