Off the beat: Barnacles, blackberries, beaches

My first and only comprehensive tour of any foreign country came when I was 8 and my parents decided that a trip to British Columbia, with its low exchange rate and proximity to home, was the ideal way to introduce their children to a foreign country.
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Agatha kehayas

Off the beat: Still we will stumble on

I lift my arms in a full body scanner, though I am not at the airport. I move on, then gather my searched-through things from the plastic bins. The security guard asks me if I work at the fire company whose emblem is on my sweatshirt, bearing my last name.
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Off the beat: Home is wherever I’m with you

For as long as I remember, every summer, my maternal aunts and all of my cousins would travel from wherever they were living at the time to settle in my grandma’s secluded, bright-yellow house in Al-Zabadani, a small town about half an hour outside Damascus, Syria.
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Off the beat: I got it from my mama

Everywhere my mother goes, strangers ask her where she’s from. “From my mama,” she retorts, head tilted and eyebrows raised, daring them to ask again. My mother was born in the perpetuity of a Soviet winter — exactly half a year before Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon. What
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Off the beat: In decaying love, beauty

I watch as Dad slits the skin of his fingers on the edges of bills he has to pay before he grips his glass, swirling around the rum. He seems impervious to the eerie stillness of the room, though Mom just slammed the door. The air feels like it’s shivering,
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Off the beat: A tale of 2 or 3 cultures

A few weeks after we had met, my high school teacher — who entered my U.S. boarding school around the same time as I did — started a conversation with me about how hard it was trying to fit in. “I know,” I remember saying. “For me, it’s strange being
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Off the beat: Progeny of professor parents

I’ll never forget the day I walked into my first college lecture. With my light-up Sketchers guiding me through a throng of eager students, I waddled down the steps and took my place in the front row. Carefully opening my Lion King backpack, I removed a fresh sheet of paper and a turquoise blue crayon.
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The never-ending story

The New-Age Bard

But has it become too cliche to think of what unites us? Here we are, somewhere on the lifeline between birth and death. Where we are all subject to the whims of the same sky and plant our feet on the same earth. Where we fall in love and give birth and grow old and allow the cycle to begin again. Every story merely explores some question of what it means to be alive.
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