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
Read More…

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
Read More…

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
Read More…

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
Read More…

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
Read More…

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
Read More…

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
Read More…

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
Read More…

Amelia

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
Read More…