SANTA COMES TO LICEU TEORETIC HYPERION
After today’s classes — the last of the year — there was another ceremony with student skits at the school. This time, each skit would be followed by a few songs for dancing. In between the music and the skits, the same kid who always emcees these things would mumble into the microphone for a few minutes, and I would stand around awkwardly until one of my girls would ask me to...
A GREY CHRISTMAS
After the snow finally quit falling last Saturday, sleet fell for all of the next day and froze on top of the snow, sealing the powder in a shell of ice. The snow was three feet deep in some places. Underneath the ice shell, the snow of the virgin snowbanks was so lightly packed that the snow itself seemed like a mirage, as if the ice were a hollow part of a wintry Potemkin village charade. ...
EACH PERSON LIVES IN A WORLD OF HER
Monday night it began snowing, and the snow has yet to stop; it won’t be stopping until tomorrow night. We’ve already had at least two feet, and the snow drifts I have to wade through to get to the outhouse are up to my belt. The first day the snow fell almost no one was out in it, and a peaceful quiet seeped through town. When I walked to school yesterday morning, I heard not a...
RUSSIAN FOLK TALES
The day before yesterday the mother of the wife of the son of my host parents came for a visit. I can’t be entirely sure, but I think she was introduced to me as Xena. Warrior Princess she was not — she said she was seventy years old — but she was still quite the dinner guest. Xena (whether it be her name or not, I’m going to use it) had very short silver hair that did...
I’ve mentioned in this space before the Moldovan concept of frumos (pronounced “froo-MOHS”). The word means “pretty”: one can say fata este frumoasa, which means “the girl is pretty,” or you can say va rog frumos, which literally means “pretty please.” The word can be used to describe both men and women (many a baba here has called me a “pretty boy,” but that doesn’t mean they think I’m a dandy,...