Blog World

Blog World

My Perfect Sunday

With few Christians in Japan, Sunday is not a day of worship. It is, however, the only day most people have with their family. Until a couple of years ago, students had school on Saturdays ...

The Bigger Family

One of the biggest differences I find in raising a family in Japan is that the concept of family is different from what I am used to. In Canada, the nuclear family reigns supreme, but ...

The Spinster

All my adolescence I spent here. In Mauritius. This island is more home to me than any other place I’ve been. Not that I prefer it or anything of that sort but in the sense ...

The Oil War

My brother is an addict. He contaminated me. I’ve gotten over it. Not he. His eyes are bloodshot. His fingers twitch all the time. He looks haggard. He’s lost and is still losing weight. Whenever ...

Turkish Barbers

There are two barbershops on Camp Fallujah, about a ten-minute walk apart. One — run by a Jordanian — is located inside the post exchange complex while the other — a shop owned by an ...

It's Hard to Leave

I scanned the line of buses that had just arrived at the stop through my too-big designer rip-off sunglasses that let me pass for Italian when I wear them. The 14C pulled up, probably late, ...

Tempo Italiano

Italians run late; they just do. In my nine months here, I have been trying to figure out if this is due to a relaxed nature — not living by appointments and PalmPilots and the ...

In Memoriam

The ceremony will begin in five minutes. Rows of metal foldout chairs are arranged neatly in the center of a long rectangular room. At the far end, flanked on either side by personnel standing at ...

The Border

The paved road stops at Al Qaim, a military base in northwestern Al Anbar province. Another 40 kilometers further along muddy and half-formed paths is a small combat outpost near the Syrian border. Surrounded by ...

Battle for Hearts and Stomachs

Young boys are the same the world over. In no other demographic slice of humanity do you see such an interesting mix of innocence, persistence, and bravado. Well, “interesting” is probably the wrong word; something ...

AFN

The military is not as unified as it may seem. But for those who think they know the true divide within our armed forces, take note: it’s not any of the usual suspects. Oh, sure, ...

Looking Deadly

When you think of a hero — a soldier, firefighter, or Marine — what image pops into your head? Do you think of a shaved chest, chiseled abs, and vein-covered arms? Or do potbelly, 12-inch ...

Coalition Forces

When a phrase is constantly used over time to the same audience, it ends up losing some of its original significance. So when we first got wind of the “coalition” the United States put together ...

Saying Goodbye

Over the span of a normal lifetime, how often do you see a loved one off for a trip? A long trip? A long and dangerous trip? It’s five o’clock in the morning in a ...

A Smile from a Veil

I am dumb when it comes to girls. My friends are quite good at involvement with them, but their company hasn’t had a great deal of effect on me; they often think I am not ...

Peshawar or Bust

Four years back, while I was living in Tarbela Dam, a friend of mine asked me to accompany him to have his computer upgraded. I said, “Fine, let’s hit the road to Peshawar tomorrow.” He ...

Armchair Obstetrician

I am not a “people person.” Much as I would like to say that getting pregnant with Violet has morphed me into a kinder, gentler version of myself, it hasn’t. I can’t stand hypocrisy, platitudes, ...

My Little Parasite

Every year, my husband and I look forward to Halloween. We plan for months in advance to make sure that we have cool (though sometimes obscure) costumes. One year we went as characters from children’s ...

Manav Desh in Imphal, India

Adorned in traditional attires of a groom, my friend, you look handsome, and your bride so elegant. The mandap, garland in bright yellow marigolds, the sparkle of the jewels of the wannabe brides, dazzling the ...

Manav Desh in Imphal, India

Hours grew into days, days into weeks, weeks into months, and yet time gives me the illusion that it was just a few days ago when my illness began. Ah! Time had ceased to exist ...

Ginger in Nigeria: Why I Can't Fly!

Flying in airplanes used to be one of my greatest delights. Taking off and landing were my favorite parts (only later did I learn they were the most critical parts of the flight). I would ...

Melinda in Greenville, Ohio

Moving Day Dear Noah, You found out today that the girls next door are moving. You are very upset about this. You told me you would have to say goodbye to them forever, all the ...

M.P.J. in Upstate New York

My Son Doesn't Eat My six-year-old son is autistic, and like many autistic people -- children and adults -- eating is difficult for him. My son has never eaten like a typical child. People who ...

M.P.J. in Upstate New York

I trust My husband, Mark, is a sex addict. Four years ago, before he came clean about his sex addiction and started his recovery, I would have told you that he never lied. I lied, ...

Junky's Wife in Charlotte, North Carolina

Ramen Mmmmm. Poverty food. Tonight's dinner will be Ramen, that freeze-dried Eastern delicacy, flavor "Oriental." I will transport myself into the mystical realm of the ancient Orient, enjoying the delights of potassium carbonate, tocopherols and/or ...

Junky's Wife in Charlotte, North Carolina

Why I don't leave When our eyes met, I felt that I was growing pale. A curious sensation of terror came over me. I knew that I had come face to face with someone whose ...

Junky's Wife in Charlotte, North Carolina

The Junky's Wife Explained When I was in my late teens and early 20s, I was a spectacular train wreck. I used coke, a lot, sometimes for days on end. I cut myself. I hated ...

Junky's Wife in Charlotte, North Carolina

A Spoon He called and asked me to bring him a pair of shorts, his sketch pad, a soda, and something to eat. He made a big deal about how I shouldn't look in the ...

Melissa Plaut in New York City

I Hate Second Avenue I went back to driving a cab after a hiatus of six months. When I showed up at the garage for my first shift, my buddy Sam updated me on the ...

Melissa Plaut in New York City

Something in the Air After sitting in the taxi lot at LaGuardia Airport for an hour, I got a fare back to the very slow city. Business was thin all night, but I did manage ...

Melissa Plaut in New York City

The Five-Nine The 59th Street Bridge was a wreck. I knew because I called a few of my taxi buddies one night while they were driving their cabs. I was on an "extended hiatus" and ...

Claire Litton in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Flashbulb anticipation The Jonestown massacre was responsible for my growing up bereft of popular culture. Not because I was orphaned by Kool Aid--drinking parents or because I belonged to a cult, but because my mother ...

Claire Litton in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

My Body is my paintbrush Everyone asks the question: "How much money do you make as a professional belly dancer?" The "baby" belly dancers want to know because they've got dilated dollar signs in their ...

Melissa Plaut in New York City

Sex Drive I was having another long, disjointed night, which is normal when you drive a yellow cab in New York City. But this night in particular it seemed like everyone had sex on the ...

Claire Litton in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Art makes me uncomfortable So, a guy -- let's call him Mr. Teacher -- at the school where I often pose nude for figure-drawing classes asked if I would be willing to work with him ...

Claire Litton in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania There's a rumor circulating among my friends that you can't be popular in the belly-dance scene unless you "party." Not like the Nevada brothel Moonlight Bunnyranch's iteration of the word. I mean the ...

Dimitrios Kyranas in Athens, Greece

The Catch On one of the many beautiful -- thanks to global warming -- winter mornings, I decided to take the bus to university. My intention was to attend a student assembly, gauge the political ...

Dimitrios Kyranas in Athens, Greece

Flashback Yesterday afternoon I looked at photos of my high school graduation. After going through them, I could not help proceeding to the album's following chapter -- my first days as an undergraduate student. The ...

Dimitrios Kyranas in Athens, Greece

Spatiotemporal Unfairness The other day I leisurely rode the escalators of the central subway station of Athens, at Syntagma (Constitution) Square, situated right in front of the parliamentary building. It was ten minutes before the ...

Dimitrios Kyranas in Athens, Greece

A Greek capital crime I was strolling this afternoon along the wide avenues that crisscross the center of Athens, the Greek capital, perusing its wonderful fauna -- stray cats, dogs, and pigeons -- posters advertising ...

Dimitrios Kyranas in Athens, Greece

The Fake Greek It all began in late 1994: I realized that my English was superior to that of my schoolmates, all of whom had more or less the same exposure to English that I ...

Brian M. Palmer in Long Beach

Sick haircut, dude! Some time ago, a heavily tanned, broad-shouldered, six-foot-tall baseball player from Texas, who used the word "dude" to refer to males and females alike, took up residence in the cubicle next to ...

Brian M. Palmer in Long Beach

Fifteen feet from Natalie My interest in Natalie Portman began when I saw a trailer for Mars Attacks . I was 16. I didn't know who she was, but her almond eyes and aquiline nose ...

Brian M. Palmer in Long Beach

Nukkles I would have never guessed that the massage of my life would be at the hands of an elderly entrepreneur suffering from a case of dandruff, but sometimes life surprises you. I was at ...

Brian M. Palmer in Long Beach

Kickboxing's Fine Print Thinking over my years, there've been a few things that I regret doing. For instance, that night I drank 11 beers in one sitting -- it seemed like a good idea. I ...

Helen Leggatt In Canterbury, New Zealand: Style on a lifestyle block?

I got told off last week...by a chicken. I'd had a particularly late night and hadn't climbed out from under the bed blankets until 10 a.m. My ears tuned in to the new day and ...

Helen Leggatt In Canterbury, New Zealand: May Contain Nuts

"It's the summer months, and your children will be outdoors playing more often and could seriously hurt themselves." This announcement remains ingrained in my mind; it was made on the BBC during their prime-time news ...

Helen Leggatt In Canterbury, New Zealand: There's no place like home

I remember pressing my nose against the window as we flew over the Southern Alps of the South Island of New Zealand for the first time. "Ah, yes, this is just as I imagined it ...

Helen Leggatt In Canterbury, New Zealand: Food for Thought

New Zealand supermarkets are devoid of the range of TV dinners and pasta sauces that are the staples of their British counterparts. I didn't know this until my husband Warren and I sold everything and ...

Medicine Soldier In Iraq

Sleep Monster As a traditional guardsman, I have to live a dual life and with the consequences of doing so. Going from a normal work week to drill weekend is not so bad, but coming ...

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