WHO'S GOT THE SWINE FLU?
On Sunday I went with bunelo across the street to borrow a wine press from a neighbor — I was the muscle who was supposed to carry it back across the street. The press is made of wood and metal: there is a large, squared-off, metal funnel on the top, painted in blue; the funnel draws the grapes down to two grooved metal cylinders that crush the grapes and push them out of the funnel; the cylinders...
When I was younger I would sometimes close my eyes and try to imagine what the Soviet Union looked like. Of course I had seen Moscow and other places in photographs and on film, but nothing short of imagination could help me visualize a place where the aesthetic was determined purely by utilitarian considerations and political theory. It’s not surprising to me that my favorite building to walk...
Moldova is different from any place I’ve ever visited in one big way: the manner in which Moldova’s identity as a people was defined, and how that is related to its geographical boundaries. Modern states’ shape on the map is determined by their history — what remains in the wake of acts of men and women — and their geography — what remains in the wake of acts of nature. The two are, of course,...
ON LITTLE VICTORIES
Soon I will be breaking my own personal record for consecutive days spent outside the U.S. (the longer of my previous trips were right around three months). My standard of living at home is much easier than when I was in Greece and Sicily. I have high speed internet. I can watch football on my computer. I have a laser printer, which I bought this week (for making tests, etc., for school). I...
A LESSON ON (MOLDOVAN) DATING
I taught three classes Thursday, my first day of actual teaching in the house of learnedness where I will be the resident strange American for the next twenty-three months: two tenth grade classes, and one twelfth grade class. The tenth graders are an unknown quantity coming in, because they previously had studied at other schools: in my town, elsewhere in the district, and some even come from...
THE FIRST BELL
At ten ’til eight this morning I arrived at school for the first day of the new academic year. I wouldn’t be teaching today, for the students were to have classes only with their homeroom teachers following a welcome ceremony that started at 8:30, in front of the school. There’s a roundabout right at the center of town that has a four- or five-story tall space needle-like structure at its center,...