Among Strangers

A slightly toasty, briny smell wafted from the open kitchen, an umami of golden sesame seeds, green nori roasted over a flame and the northern sea on a balmy day. A spry young waiter stood at our table calmly explaining that we would be ordering all our food through the tabletop iPad. For the sum…Read more Among Strangers

Sensing the Unknown

To know what you don't know. That seems to be a blatant contradiction. But life is rife with contradictions: We may demand compassion and understanding from others, but rarely demand it from ourselves. We may believe in an all-powerful, loving and omniscient God, but accept and nurture a world full of hate, inequality and injustice.…Read more Sensing the Unknown

The Center Everywhere

My husband used to tell me a little story I have since cherished that occurred on the day I first arrived in Germany ten years ago. My flight out of New York had been abruptly delayed by a few hours, so he had to wait for me in the airport lobby for quite a while.…Read more The Center Everywhere

The Unimaginable

As the year draws to a close, it seems only natural to review the most memorable events of the past 365 days. Politically, culturally, ideologically, it has been quite a roller coaster. Many of us have continuously found ourselves in surreal places this year—places we never could have imagined, back when the future was just…Read more The Unimaginable

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 her…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