An Apple for an Apple: An International Tale of Citizen Diplomacy

As the midnight train bound for St. Petersburg rumbled through the pitch-black Moldovan countryside, I tried valiantly to remain asleep, but my attempts were futile. The cabin was cozier than expected. We had plenty of room to stretch out and we were given care packages filled with comfortable bedding. However, the atmosphere was sweltering hot and unfamiliar. Romanian-Moldovan and Russian filled the air,Continue reading “An Apple for an Apple: An International Tale of Citizen Diplomacy”

Photo du Jour: A Novice Monk in Luang Prabang, Laos

In the Southeast Asian nation of Laos, it’s common for boys and young men to temporarily commit to monkhood, even if they do not remain in service for the rest of their lives. This custom brings a merit to both the novice monks and their families. As the elder monks do, the boys shave their headsContinue reading “Photo du Jour: A Novice Monk in Luang Prabang, Laos”

Scenes from Hoi An, Vietnam

Even on the most overcast of days, Hoi An’s streets are replete with color. Salespeople stand before crumbling, mustard-colored buildings, enticing the young — and the young at heart — with bunches of fluorescent balloons. Nearby, market stalls overflow with vibrant-colored produce. There are miniature bananas, silk scarves of every hue, and blue-and-white dishes withContinue reading “Scenes from Hoi An, Vietnam”

Georgetown, Malaysia: An Illustration of Contrasts

A stroll through Georgetown gives one a sense of being whisked to several countries in a matter of hours. In this largely Chinese city, bundles of smoldering incense scent the maze of bustling streets as crimson red lanterns sway overhead. Bollywood music rumbles in Little India, echoing off storefronts dotted with colorful saris and binsContinue reading “Georgetown, Malaysia: An Illustration of Contrasts”

Seeing Beyond a Physical Challenge – Profiling the Inspirational Isabell Pfeufer

You may remember my having met German university student, Isabell Pfeufer, in late 2009. Introduced to her by a former colleague, I was invited to write a newspaper piece on Isabell’s experiences – as a blind student teacher – with a classroom of third-graders. In the years following that interview, I’ve been delighted to haveContinue reading “Seeing Beyond a Physical Challenge – Profiling the Inspirational Isabell Pfeufer”

Our Heart For You: A Beautiful Coincidence in Bali

We can not do great things on this earth. We can only do small things with great love. -Mother Theresa The man sat hunched over, with sunken cheeks, and spindly legs. As we walked along one of Ubud’s main streets, his empty stare, meek mumbling and outstretched hand caught our gaze. Our hearts sank. IContinue reading “Our Heart For You: A Beautiful Coincidence in Bali”

Magical Moments in Malta

Malta is an enchanting island nation. It’s a tranquil place where residents christen their homes with titles meshing a couple’s first names. Its harbors are studded with elegant white yachts, as well as humble and colorful fishing boats called luzzus. Despite its diminutive size, Malta has heaps of history and culture, marvelous architecture, and a dramaticContinue reading “Magical Moments in Malta”