Back from Rome after a 3-day weekend the questions I get from everyone are the obvious: how was it? Did you like it? The short do-not-ask-me-too-much answer is:
– Good! I liked it. Thank you.
Well… I wandered the streets from Via Candia to the Coliseum and crossed the Tiber several times. Got my Roma-Pass and visited most of the must-visit spots. Plenty of interesting places and impressive ancient architecture. The city is full of history, roman ruins, art, churches, museums, castles, fountains, shops and… TOURISTS!
Constantly ambushed by merciless street vendors, there were roman-army-like masses of tourists advancing and taking by assault every street of Rome, armed with last-generation mobile phones and restlessly shooting selfies everywhere. It was insane.
The visit to the Vatican was hands down the activity I enjoyed the most, but the corridors of the Vatican museum reminded me of Tokyo’s busiest station at rush hour:…
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I’m an American, born and bred. I revere the 14th Amendment, root for the New England Patriots [dodges rotten fruit], and can rattle off all 44 presidents.
Yet here I find myself, in Birmingham.
Not Alabama. England.
In some ways, it’s not so different. As my friend John advised before I moved: “The British speak English, care about money, and yell about politics. You’ll barely notice you’ve left.” But it’s not quite like home: the spellings, the roundabouts, the big red buses—and, most relevant for a teacher like me, the sometimes startling differences in the ways our two countries educate kids.
In less than a year of teaching, I’ve encountered some surprising disparities, each of which prompts the obvious question: Which way is better, the British or the American?
I have nothing to gain by these comparisons. If I favor America, my judgments will be dismissed as…
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As children we innately know how to play. Looking back on my own childhood in the 1980s I remember hours spent making dens with my brother, ‘visiting Narnia’ with my friend Hannah or chasing around the park which doubled as a castle/battle field/desert island with my friends. As a child play came easily. Somewhere along the way we lose that ability to let our imaginations carry us. We become self-conscious. Suddenly we begin to worry that our flights of imagination might make us appear immature or ridiculous in front of our peers. Yet; as we look back as adults we miss those carefree days and begin once again to seek the spirit of play.
I recently returned from a trip to the Philippines with All We Can. Visiting communities that were decimated just over a year and a half ago by Typhoon…
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Yesterday I asked you to indulge me in a little meditation exercise of sorts. We wandered around imaginary gardens and restaurants, noting colour, texture, taste and aroma. We sniffed, we tasted, we digested, we were omniscient. With my subtle-as-a-sledgehammer sketches I was hoping to lead us to think about what we get out of our food. I admit that it was pretty crudely drawn, but I hope you know it was from the heart.
Nothing quite so earnest today, you’ll be glad to know. Today it is a straight up, simple-as treatment for a much under-sung spring vegetable, the spring onion (this link tells us the difference between all of the lovely long alliums). This is a vegetable I for one think nothing much about as I duly sling a bunch into my cart every week. It is one of those background ingredients that we may acknowledge are very useful but never…
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