Apr 062015
 
Nyet to Russian Vodka

My decision to boycott Russian goods was an easy one. Russia is invading Ukraine. My travels to Ukraine have made the country and its people dear to my heart. So it was natural to do anything I could to support Ukraine and thwart Russia. I discovered that my boycott was easier than I’d thought it […Read more]

Feb 042015
 
Cast Adrift Into the Sea of War

I feel like I’m in a WWII novel. One friend mentioned posters going up in public places like schools, directing people to the nearest bomb shelters. Another friend spent a recent vacation with her family discussing evacuation possibilities and the necessary emergency supplies to stock in case their city gets bombed. The WWII Blitzkrieg of […Read more]

Oct 162014
 
Chut Chut

The first time I went to Ukraine, I hated vodka. That’s a problem, because it’s a mark of Ukrainian hospitality to share with guests. Generously. In a seemingly constant flow. I’d pretend to drink it and hide the glass behind a bowl or something. I’d slide my glass over to a friend so he could […Read more]

Sep 072014
 
How Travel Changed Me

I just got off the phone with the White House. I was telling President Obama (via the citizen comment line) my opinion of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the U.S.’s inaction. Most articles about how travel changes you enthusiastically describe expanding your horizons and understanding other cultures. While I do believe that’s true, travel has […Read more]

May 212014
 
Crisis in Ukraine: The Basics

As I talk to friends about the crisis in Ukraine, I am frustrated by the misunderstandings I hear. I am neither Ukrainian nor a geopolitical expert, but 13 years of traveling to Ukraine has given me a deep respect and love for the Ukrainian people, causing me to follow the crisis daily since November. I […Read more]

Feb 192014
 
Faces of Ukraine: Where Is He Now?

I remember a trip to Ukraine in the spring of 2005, just months after the Orange Revolution shook the streets of Kyiv. Many thousands of peaceful protesters turned out during the cold winter nights of November and December, demonstrating against fraudulent elections that resulted in Viktor Yanukovych being elected president. New elections were held under […Read more]

Jan 262014
 
The Faces of Ukraine: Why I Care

Visiting ancestral towns is bad. When you travel, you fall in love with some destinations for their natural beauty or wonderful food or interesting culture. When I went to Ukraine to see my ancestral towns, I fell in love with the people. And that’s why what is happening there now is breaking my heart. I’m […Read more]

Sep 112013
 
The Borders Are Closed

I was in Germany on 9/11. While my friends and family started their day with the news of the attack, I didn’t learn about it until evening. For Americans in the U.S., it was a day filled with unfolding horror. For me, it was a day filled with sightseeing in Hannover with my cousin David, […Read more]

Mar 062012
 
...and a Night in Teplitz

The hospitality was bounteous, if not terribly personalized. A short visit with the mayor and his wife, then they handed us over to the guesthouse where we’d be staying that night. As with every Ukrainian meal, plates of food covered every square inch of the table’s surface. But the guesthouse owner hovered over us like […Read more]