Of Blood and Air: Homelands Lost and Made

  I feel must address the devastation, disappointment and the profound elation (for a significant number of people) spreading in shock waves throughout Germany at this time, the country that I call home. The results of the election were announced a few days ago and they were relatively grim: Chancellor Angela Merkel held on to…Read more Of Blood and Air: Homelands Lost and Made

The Mirror of Hate

“What are you?” I get asked this question all the time, wherever I go. “What are you?” I grew so tired of hearing it that I once answered on a whim: “Guess.” The man who had asked me proceeded to list off all the Asian nationalities he knew of: “Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indonesian, Indian, Mongolian…”…Read more The Mirror of Hate

Deciphering Tea Leaves

The fragrance of the teas was overwhelming. Pungent leaves of brown, black and green, speckled with dried fruit and herbs. The leaves had been dried whole and rolled—humbled in their shriveled, preserved state. Comforting scents of dirt and new grass whispering of promises they might keep. If only it would rain. Abruptly, sharp citrus notes…Read more Deciphering Tea Leaves

Packing Light

When you plan a trip to a new place, be it a long or short visit, it is natural to devote most of your attention to the physical things you must take with you: a passport, a smartphone, a visa perhaps, personal documents, prescriptions, glasses, appropriate clothing, sturdy shoes, to name a few. There are…Read more Packing Light

Inspiration for a Permanent Tourist: Pico Iyer

Growing up in the US, I often found myself caught between two worlds: my somewhat traditional Filipino upbringing and the dominant American culture of my teachers and peers. Later, after traveling the world and relocating to Germany as an adult, I felt even more conflicted in terms of cultural and national identity. What am I? An American?…Read more Inspiration for a Permanent Tourist: Pico Iyer