A Vietnamese New Year’s Reminiscence

When I unpacked a red and gold Vietnamese ox ornament last week, it reminded me why I love travel: serendipitous events, cultural immersion, and the opportunity to mingle with “citizen diplomats.” With today being the Vietnamese New Year, or Tết, it seems fitting to reminisce on a Hanoi happening from my travel memory bank that epitomizes all threeContinue reading “A Vietnamese New Year’s Reminiscence”

A Nibbling Donkey in Oberammergau, Germany

The sign declared, Bitte Esel nicht füttern. And since I was in Germany, a land famously known for its rules, I was even more sure to obey. Even though visitors to the Christmas Market in Oberammergau, Germany were asked not to feed the photogenic donkeys (to keep the live Christmas props from developing upset stomachs), rubbing ofContinue reading “A Nibbling Donkey in Oberammergau, Germany”

Of Angels & Alphornists – Out & About in Oberammergau, Germany

We had merely set out on a routine errand to find a hair stylist and pharmacy in  Oberammergau, Germany. Instead, we found ourselves pleasantly distracted by something quite out of the ordinary, at least for us: the soothing, foghorn-like sound of Alphorns, playfully known as ‘Ricola horns’.

Celebrating Saint Nicholas Day & Germany’s Christmas Market Season

On the eve of December 6th, when I was a child, I placed my shiniest shoes in front of my bedroom door, anticipating the arrival of St. Nicholas. The next morning, I eagerly popped out of bed, delighted to find my footwear stuffed with oranges, Christmas cookies, chocolates, and tiny trinkets. St. Nick didn’t visitContinue reading “Celebrating Saint Nicholas Day & Germany’s Christmas Market Season”

Pumpkins, Proceratosaurus, and a Palace: Perusing the World’s Largest Pumpkin Festival

The scene is like something out of a quirky fairy tale with elements like an elegant 18th-century Baroque palace, dinosaurs fashioned out of more than 450,000 pumpkins, squash and gourds, and Rapunzel’s braid dangling from a cobbled tower… This unlikely trio came together at the world’s largest pumpkin festival, held on the grounds of theContinue reading “Pumpkins, Proceratosaurus, and a Palace: Perusing the World’s Largest Pumpkin Festival”

Celebrating the International Day of the Girl

October 11th is the first-ever International Day of the Girl Child –  a day dedicated to recognizing girls’ rights and advancing their lives and access to opportunities. In honor of this day, I encourage you to participate in your own way. Educate yourself about girls’ issues. (I highly recommend the powerful book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for WomenContinue reading “Celebrating the International Day of the Girl”

Frohe Ostern – Easter Greetings From Germany

Every spring, Osterbrunnen — or Easter fountains — herald spring’s return to Germany’s Franconia (Franken) region. Wells and fountains in town centers are dressed with boxwood cuttings, ribbons, and delicately-painted pastel eggs. This custom celebrates water’s life-giving properties. The decorations typically spring up one week before Easter Sunday and then grace the fountains for aContinue reading “Frohe Ostern – Easter Greetings From Germany”

Happy Holi! Celebrating the Festival of Colors in Goa

If you were in India today, chances are that you would now be sporting rainbow hues from head to toe, because today is Holi, the Festival of Colors. Holi is a Hindu celebration that welcomes spring and bids farewell to winter. Originally, Holi commemorated successful harvests. As we prepared to take on streams of colorfulContinue reading “Happy Holi! Celebrating the Festival of Colors in Goa”