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 view of Princes Street, taken from North Bridge.

Foreign language immersion

“That’s so weird!” I mused, observing my surroundings on Princes Street, a popular tourist destination in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city. Exactly what I thought was weird, I can’t recall through my still-jet-lagged haze. Perhaps it was the statue of a lion covered in pennies (or pence as they’re called here), or
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Detour: Transformers: Home is Where the House Is

I spent my last week before leaving the U.S. at my parents’ homes. Nestled between the harried months preceding graduation and the summer abroad that lay ahead, that week was lost to the domestic doldrums. The great organ that was undergraduate life had just let go its death belch, and
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Detour: Tourbinism

Recently I was scanning through an Old World geography book, a lap-sized cardboard thing published for children in the early 1990s. The world was split not into continents or nations but mid-sized regions, apparently dependent on the richness of their tourist iconography. Each giant illustrated map was a combination of
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Detour: Pilsner and Prejudice

The Danish brewing company Carlsberg introduced earlier this year a new beer called “Copenhagen 56°N.” The beer is a German pilsner, with a light yellow hue and a taste like champagne from a rotting juice box. The beer has been marketed as relentlessly hip ― an alcoholic accessory to a
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OFF THE BEAT: Traveling sans language

Traveling is supposed to make you smarter. Surrounded by foreign stimuli, the intelligent and discerning tourist has perked ears and sharp eyes and learns to navigate the unfamiliar with sensitive footsteps. Like the raised hairs on cold skin, perception stands at attention and responds to the smallest of touches, becoming
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