Summer Postcards 2011

Heart-pounding Baby Food

Surrounded by three teenagers and my fellow counselor, Walter, I imagined that this was how a bank robber must feel in the moments before he raises a gun and demands all the money.

Lessons in Entrepreneurship

Fear of being cheated, hunger for new business, obsession with adding unique value, and the satisfaction of loyal teamwork—highly chaotic and unstructured, this has been my summer as an entrepreneur-in-training.

Waking Up

I kept looking for something that would make this last scene memorable, but I turned away frustrated.

Light Up to Grow Up

Through his actions, the father sent a clear message: as far as he was concerned, the prospect of his daughter smoking raised no problems. He was, from the standpoint of an onlooker, in a sense priming a child for when she’d actually be able to smoke.

Growing Pains

I promised my friends and parents that I would only go to the favelas, or illegal and informal settlements, that were “pacificado.” However, the trip to the slum of Vidigal gave me a much better look into the real state of most of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas.

Very Important Person

Watergate is one of Berlin’s bigger electro clubs, and is harder to get into than most venues in a city known for its democratic nightlife—where you’re encouraged to dress down, where it’s more of an asset to be a gay man than a pretty girl, and where a polo shirt screams dickhead and/or tourist in popular conception.

Good News from an Unlikely Place

At a time of bitter debt talks and cries of a failed recovery, Detroit and other parts of Michigan are showing signs of hope.

A Spendthrift Rift

To me, these expenses were more than a waste of money—they were conspicuous consumption, evidence of a misplaced value on extravagance. But, I wondered, couldn’t my roommate level the same criticism at me, with my habitual venti chai lattes?


But the Old Continent seems happy to put up with a whole other level of cliché and kitsch—even the earnestly blasé scenesters hardly put up a fight—and suddenly I’m wishing I didn’t speak such good English, because how much fun would it be to sing along to Eurovision with neither irony nor shame?

Bulging with Bingsu

As a food aficionado, I had often dreamed of being a food critic for a major newspaper. My dream became a reality when I interned as a reporter for Chosun Ilbo, the largest daily newspaper in South Korea.

London Burning

As I write these words, there is a strong likelihood that the violence will repeat itself this Tuesday evening, despite police efforts to the contrary. It’s not an exaggeration to say that riots have engulfed the city.

A Loaded Interruption

I can’t resist looking at the gun, its barrel hovering no more than six feet in front of me. The idea of bullets traveling near Mach 3 and fragmenting in my torso suddenly puts burst eardrums at the bottom of my list of worries.

A City Contrived

In Brasília, everything is perfect—and right from the start, I hate it.

In Salmiak Territory

When I bit into my first marble of salmiak, my tongue burned from the sharp saltiness and the back of my nose felt as if it had been struck by a mixture of fermented stingray meat and Windex.

Lessons on the Court

Admittedly, the quality of the game on the court outside the schoolhouse has room for improvement. Martin’s jump shot involves no jump, and the one-armed hurl he makes when throwing the ball at the net barely resembles a shot.

Another Round to the Parents

The clinic had handed me over to immigration, where I was waiting to be served deportation papers.

Further than the Shredder

There comes a time, during a behind-a-desk internship in New York, when you realize that your only weekday exercise is the hurried walk back and forth from your desk to the shredder in the room next door.

I'm Still Standing ... in a Cornfield

When I learned that Elton John would be playing in Padua, I wasted little time in buying a ticket.

Metro Dance Parties (Are Made of This)

Within moments, Eurythmics filled the car. We all looked toward the boom box and the young man, who was tapping his foot in time with the music.

The Yorkshire Blues

It’s a scene straight out of Wuthering Heights, and by the time I started my descent, I believed that Emily Brontë must have been, by Yorkshire countryside standards, a cheerful sort of gal.

Chile's Got Talent

I learned, too, that Chileans were just as eager to celebrate a train wreck of an audition—that of the breakdancing mime, for instance—as they were to celebrate a glorious success.

For Princesses or Presidents

As we were getting ready to leave—the spooky loneliness had begun to wig us out—a little girl appeared atop the largest tower.

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