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The Last Three Feet

The world of international affairs is often seen as a shadowy one, full of intrigue, cloak-and-dagger, and posturing. Perhaps this is not far from the truth. One thing is certain: the larger the country, the more personnel is needed to staff the countless embassies, consulates, and other outposts who represent their country. A student of […]

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Some Fun Facts on St. Patrick’s Day

– The color originally associated with Patrick was “St. Patrick’s blue,” not green. – The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not in Ireland, but in the American colonies, when the Irish who were fighting in the British army marched through the streets of New York City in 1762. – The Irish haven’t always been […]

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Facing That Foreign Language

Sometimes there are myths that take root and become really difficult to dispel. One of them is the notion that Americans — and English speakers in general — are simply not capable of learning a foreign language well. Oh, we all know someone who has done it with some degree of success, but most of […]

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A Lesson Learned on Bias

Many years ago in Switzerland I had a voice student named Catherine. Catherine taught me something I’ve never forgotten, although it will take me a lifetime to fully put it into practice. A little background: as you may know, Switzerland is composed of three main regions. By far the largest is the German-speaking area in […]

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The (Lost) Land of Civility

I was going through the archives of my first blog (back in the Blogspot days) and came across this post. I’m taking the liberty to repost it because, as is often the case, things that were written years ago can sometimes have just as much if not more relevance in the moment. I’ll let you […]

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What You Can’t Know About Your Country Until You Leave It

My wife and I took a brief road trip last weekend. I like road trips except for one thing: I get so sleepy behind the wheel. Enter the audio book. This time we chose a book that had been mentioned by a good friend. Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight takes place in Southern Rhodesia […]

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Stereotypical Stereotypes

I was at a symposium last night on Russian-American relations moving from the Obama years into the Trump era. While most of Dr. Mark Katz‘s remarks and the questions asked of him centered on Trump and Putin’s relationship and speculation about what that might look like moving forward, one question was asked that got me thinking […]

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How to Turn a Vacation into a Pilgrimage

What comes to mind when you hear the word “pilgrimage”? Trekking your way over rugged terrain to reach a shrine? Traveling thousands of miles to meet up with thousands of other pilgrims at a particular time of year? Perhaps. But what if any time you stepped out of your zone of familiarity could become a spiritual experience? […]

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Cultivating Curiosity

We are all born curious. Show me a baby who isn’t drawn to shiny objects or who doesn’t believe everything is intended to be put in the mouth. Then the baby becomes a toddler and all of a sudden the entire house has to be childproofed. Everything at eye level is fair game to be […]

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Born Into Exile

Christmas with the family this year was one of the best we’ve ever had. As the patriarch of a gathering of thirteen people, I was filled with joy and gratitude to watch the love flow between my sons, their wives and girlfriend, and their offspring. It probably helped that our Christmas dinner was actually a […]

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