Every MLB baseball is manufactured in Costa Rica, yet the game itself remains an elusive myth. People have heard of the sport, but in the Costa Rican mind, it only exists north and south of the borders. When my son brought his baseball to school, kids asked to hold it. They turned it in their hands and ran their fingers along the stitching, examining the … Continue reading A Costa Rica Baseball Lesson
When my fifteen year old son and I are crossing a busy highway ramp to climb over guard rails that come up to my crotch and skitter down a fire-ant ridden trail that runs along a steep embankment much like a goat trail, there is nothing to do but laugh. I might get hit by a car. Somebody might see my underwear. I might get … Continue reading Tragedy or Comedy: You Pick.
My grandmother used to have gauzy curtains that I would wrap myself up in and look out the window. I could see the outlines of things and tell where she was in the back yard, but reality was fuzzy. I could see what was out there, but not make out all the details. Those dreamy, impressionistic moments shifted my balance a little and clarity was … Continue reading Don’t Bank on It.
I collapsed into the cab, wet, cold, and exhausted, prepared to pay anything asked of me just to get home. I had left school nearly two hours prior and hadn’t gotten more than a few miles down the road and couldn’t find my way back to my house on the buses, so just said to hell with it and grabbed a cab outside Alejuela’s City … Continue reading When It Rains It Pours
Exhaustion has won the emotional battle tonight. An entire world away, in New Hampshire this morning, my son and I lugged 4 suitcases, 3 backpacks, a box of school books, a large bag, and a guitar through the airport only to find that 3 of the suitcases were a few pounds over the limit. To avoid exorbitant fees, we opened up all of our luggage … Continue reading Dead Butterflies Dipped in Wax (Or: It Hurts But Will Be Okay)
A few months ago, as we hiked for three days through the jungle of Guatemala with two Mayan men who didn’t speak English, I told my friend Heather, “I like traveling with you. You have a nice big comfort zone that doesn’t make you difficult when bats fly into our faces or tarantula eyes light up at night.” She laughed and retorted, “I’m not sure … Continue reading We All Have Comfort Zones
The desire to explore the world on my own is unnervingly inescapable, chasing me down in unexpected moments. And so, amidst a world of “be carefuls” that are generously granted to me, as though this world is more dangerous than beautiful for a small woman by herself, I routinely step out solo. Whether for an hour or a week, standing alone on top of the world … Continue reading Be Careful: Traveling Alone as a Woman
When we step off the Zodiac, it feels as though each of Nanortalik’s 1400 residents has come out to greet us. Children run and wave and flirt, giggling, tempting their new visitors to come and play. My roommates are swept away by two small boys to tour their school and play soccer. Young men nod at us. Older men and women smile openly and say, “Welcome … Continue reading Nanortalik: Welcome to Greenland!
I have just returned from hiking 45 miles in 3 days along the Laugavegur Trail in Iceland, when National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions deliver me to the warm waters of the Blue Lagoon, one of Iceland’s largest tourist attractions. My right foot has a pain in the arch that stretches up into my ankle and calf. My hamstrings feel stiff after sitting for too long, my … Continue reading The Powers of the Blue Lagoon
As I step out of the Zodiac and onto the rocky beach, I am acutely aware that over 1,000 years ago, a crew of Norsemen—loyally following their exiled leader, Erik the Red—stepped onto this very beach. I pause and look around at the beckoning green hills that stretch beyond the lower fields and wonder what fears they may have held tight in their hearts and … Continue reading The Viking Ruins of Brattahlid: From a Teacher’s Perspective.