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]

Nov 112014
 
Find Your Place in the World

I spent last weekend with some friends in Palm Desert, a little respite from the fall rains sweeping into Seattle. But as I sat soaking in the sun by the pool, gazing up at the dramatic outline of the mountains surrounding this desert oasis, my mind drifted back to my recent trip to Ukraine. I […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]

Oct 102014
 
Travels to Ukraine: Then and Now

My constant bubbling-over-with-excitement descriptions of my upcoming trip to Ukraine may be trying the patience of my friends and work colleagues. What a contrast to my first trip in 2001, when I wasn’t even really interested in traveling to this country. I loved the history and genealogy of my German ancestors who had been born […Read more]

Oct 072014
 
Who Am I?

As I’ve become obsessed with the news from Ukraine, first the Maidan revolution and now Russia’s invasion, I’ve found I can turn almost any conversation with any group of people into a discussion about Ukraine and its politics. And so I’m often asked, “Are you Ukrainian?” The correct answer would seem to be no. No, […Read more]

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]