Haunted By Homes

“No matter how you get there or where you end up, human beings have this miraculous gift to make that place home.” Creed Bratton, The Office Luci and I halt abruptly in front of the kitchen/toy/hardware store window display on Hauptstrasse, because I’ve spied a familiar word. Beside an elegant box containing three ceramic egg-cups and…

Nothing Wasted: Of Slides and Research Papers

Friday morning, and the playground is deserted. Since I teach only one class today and Timmy is hard at work in the counseling department at school, Friday mornings I stay home with Luci. After what feels like a month of freezing weather and sickness, we’ve seized our health and the balmy temperatures and walk across…

Barbarazwieg: Of Twigs, Christmas and New Discoveries

“Apparently it’s a big deal to dress up in costumes when you pick someone up on Christmas Eve in Switzerland…” Christmas Eve morning, Timmy starts texting me as soon as he gets to the airport. With his customary picking-people-up-in-Zürich Starbucks drink in hand, he relates a new and strange Swiss tradition: dressing up in costumes…

The {Not Terribly} Simple Life

Friday I come home for lunch. More precisely, I leave school shortly before lunch, to pick Luci up from friends’ house, where she’s spent the morning playing with twin two-year-old boys. These boys spend another weekday at our house, where Timmy runs a three-toddler circus with extraordinary energy and humor. Whenever she’s going to spend…

The Summer of The Pool

It’s the last day of summer around here. Of course, summer will go on for another month or so, and students won’t return until the end of August, but tomorrow Timmy, Luci and I head to Black Forest Academy for All Staff Conference, the official beginning of the school year. So it seems only fitting…

Home Is Where The Jam Is

I love to go out in late September among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries to eat blackberries for breakfast, the stalks very prickly, a penalty they earn for knowing the black art of blackberry-making; and as I stand among them lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries fall almost unbidden to my…

Sewing Machine

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,  some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.  I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.  Elizabeth Bishop, from “One Art”   The sewing machine came from downstairs. Also Americans working in missions, our neighbors have been in Europe for decades, so I correctly guessed that she…

Then & Now

Then It’s me, three bags and a violin, and climb the three floors to my new apartment downtown at the end of a hot summer day. I’ve taken three trains today, from Austria to my new home in Southwestern Germany. This morning, my new boss told me that I wouldn’t be teaching the classes I’d planned…

and all shall be well

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us, even in the leafless winter, even in the ashy city. I am thinking now of grief, and of getting past it; I feel my boots trying to leave the ground, I feel my heart pumping hard. I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I…

House Hunters: Kandern

  House Hunters International makes me dangerously smug. The House Hunters franchise, as far as I can tell, forms a cornerstone of the Home Garden Television mansion. The basic formula involves someone–usually a couple–looking for a house, then being carted around to three different houses by a realtor. At the end, the couple has to reach some…