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A Guide to Healthy Living at Post

In the late 80s I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger… and it was very important to stay healthy while at Post. Amoebic dysentery: Caused by contaminated drinking water, often because of a broken water filter. Turns your stomach into a washing machine. Amoebas we called the little critters. Anxiety: When you hyperventilate for…

Man prays to Jesus against a pink wall, Cartagena

Colombia in Pictures

  Man prays to Jesus against a pink wall, Cartagena Some 80% of Colombians are Catholic.  I am not religious. Adamantly atheist in fact. Yet when I saw this man praying to Jesus in an alcove of the Catedral de Santa Catalina de Alejandría de Cartagena de Indias in old Cartagena I was mesmerized. As…

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Peace

Peace is just a word. Just a word. -Eurythmics When friends ask me how my trip to Colombia was I feel like I should talk about the food, the friendly people, and the amazing scenery. But all I want to talk about is the peace agreement. Colombia is having a moment. A good one. Last…

Simón Bolívar, el Libertador

Colombia

When I arrived in Colombia our writing instructor. my friend Martha, asked us to write down three impressions we had of Colombia before arriving. It’s always good to establish a baseline, she said. I wrote: Cocaine, Gabriel García Márquez and Drug Cartels. After a week in country, in the small town of Villa de Leyva…

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Flattery

  Cape Flattery   Eagles circle, land on a cedar. Their chirping punctuates the sound of jade-colored water from Japan slurping at mossy rocks below.   My step bounces on roots and spongy sphagnum moss. A gulp of salty air fills my lungs. Wind-twisted branches block my view of Tatoosh Island, lonely guardian of the north…

Thomas Jefferson statue at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Ten Things I learned About Mr. Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was an enigmatic and somewhat controversial historical figure. While driving around Virginia last fall I learned a few things about him. He was a horticulturist and ate mostly vegetables. He abhorred the institution of slavery yet he could never abolish it. In his lifetime he owned 600 slaves. The only people he set…

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Meli

Meli was a force. I remember on my first trip to Turkey in 2006 when she took us to the Ataturk Memorial in Ankara. We stood, 20 American tourists, next to the massive, neo-classical building resembling a modern Acropolis. She began to tell us about Ataturk and how he founded modern Turkey. Before she could…

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Lisboa Redux

The first time I went to Lisbon I fell in love so hard I stole a paving stone to I would always have a piece of the city with me. I was enamored of every little thing, from the pasteis de nata, little sweet custard pies that I ate for breakfast every day, to the…

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Fear

I’ll tell you what freedom is to me: no fear. I mean really, no fear!  Nina Simone Last Wednesday I woke to a nightmare I wished I had dreamt. Donald Trump had won the election. The day before I was sure, many of us were, that Clinton had it. That we would elect our first woman…

Harper's Ferry. Where the Shenandoah and the Potomac meet

Fifty by Fifty

When I told people that I was traveling to Delaware and West Virginia so that I could see all fifty states by the time I’m fifty, a pact I had made with a friend a few years ago, I got varied responses. Some thought it was a great idea. Others, including some of my well-traveled…