Newcastle United versus Wigan Athletic F.C.

‘Football’ for the Bear-shaped void in my British life

Collegiate athletics in Europe are nowhere near as important as they are in the United States. Even though I feel lucky to have escaped a football season that required trekking all the way to San Francisco to watch Cal suffer many unfortunate losses among sparse victories, I do miss gamedays
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Christmas market in Berlin

Walking in a (European) Winter Wonderland

While Americans everywhere spent Black Friday fighting long lines and pepper spray in search of the cheapest holiday gift deals, European city centers were being adorned with lights, ferris wheels and German-style bratwurst stands. Instead of strip malls with actors in Santa suits and glitter-saturated plastic evergreen trees, European cities
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All packed and ready to go ...

Wise words from a well-traveled teddy bear

If my childhood teddy bear, Garry, owned a passport, it would boast stamps from five continents and over a dozen countries. It would also verify that his name is indeed spelled with two R’s, as I quite enjoyed double consonants in my youth and decided to include that particular quirk
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The Scottish Parliament Building, located in Edinburgh, Scotland.

National Pride

It’s pouring rain. I’m dressed in green army-themed “fancy dress” (that’s British for costume, go figure) and military face paint is streaking down my face. I’m trudging up a hill through muddy puddles that my California-girl sandals are clearly not designed for. I have three companions. One is wearing a
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Desperately searching for a toilet, or "hiking," near the town of Saint-Étienne, France.

Feeling down in Lyon town

Believe it or not, this Francophile has the blues, or as the French would say, “J’ai le cafard” which literally translates to “I have the cockroach.” Yup, I’m finally in France and I’m feeling a little down. Although there are several contributing factors, such as the broken headphones and the
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The view from Edinburgh Castle, Scotland.

The world is flat (except in Scotland)

Anyone who lives in Berkeley knows well the kind of tolerance for hills you need if you’re a runner there. Actually you need a decent tolerance for them just to go to football games, or classes, if you’re an engineer. I spent most of my freshman year on the phone
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Trinity College. Dublin, Ireland.

Irish ad absurdum

The murder was announced early Monday and took place Thursday evening shortly after 8 o’clock. This being a widely anticipated event, the Green Room of the theater was packed to bursting. It was difficult to move an elbow, let alone shake a fist. Most people resorted to the incessant nodding
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In Scotland, everything is better with a few bottles of IRN BRU ...

My favorite Scottish ‘BRU’

Being legal to drink about a year early has certainly changed the focus of my trips to the grocery store. But after about a week here in Edinburgh, the excitement wore off and the jet lag was lingering, thanks to a few nights of alcohol-diluted sleep. I ventured to the
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A charming courtyard near the Université Lumière Lyon 2. Lyon, France.

Confessions of a Francophile

  I’ll admit it, I’m a total Francophile. I’m sure you all have at least one friend or acquaintance like me. Once I chose French as the language I wanted to (try to) learn, I totally dorked out on French culture. By French II, not only had I decided France
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A flawless view of the city. Dublin, Ireland.

On the lookout for a little Irish luck

I had been in Europe a week before the homesickness struck. It was swift and sudden, like a jab to the gut or maybe like a punch to the heart. I was sitting on a bench in St. Stephen’s Green, a beautifully landscaped park in the middle of Dublin center.
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