Poland — Aug 13, 2015

Polish Woodstock

Last year close to 800,000 people attended Polish Woodstock, almost double the size of the original festival in New York. The crowd was almost entirely Polish, with a smattering of Germans and a few other Europeans. Tents, tarpaulins, and parked cars carpeted a sprawling expanse of dusty land, reaching over a hill into the forest.

Germany — Jul 22, 2015

Pilsner all around and not a hop to drink

The beer mountain towered before me, twinkling under the fluorescent lights of a late-night corner store. Behind dozens of crates stacked to eye level, a refrigerated wall showcased bottles of every description, resplendent in kaleidoscopic labels with unpronounceable names.

Germany — Apr 30, 2015

Nothing better than das Wetter

Last time I spoke to my mom on the phone, I told her the Berlin winter was finally melting into spring. “You’ve said that every time we’ve talked for the past six weeks,” she replied. An astute one, that mother of mine! Our exchange took place weeks ago, and I’m still professing my relief at […]

Germany — Apr 8, 2015

A poke around abandoned Berlin

A Canadian photographer, an Australian graphic designer, and an American journalist go exploring abandoned buildings, outshining even the most clichéd expectations of what Berliner expats enjoy on an early spring day. They’re searching for two sites under the guidance of a popular website with the tagline, “If it’s Verboten it’s got to be fun.” Blub was a swim complex that eventually conceded defeat in an agonizing battle […]

Germany — Mar 4, 2015

Schrippen Skandal

There’s a bread war in Berlin, according to Tuesday’s front page of The Berliner Kurier. Their feature goes on to explain that this baker is taking a stance against crummy, er… poor quality bread. He’s standing up to fraudulent baking establishments where the proprietors don’t even hand knead the dough. To be fair, apparently “bread master” is a protected status […]

Germany — Feb 26, 2015

Legends of Tempelhof

I crossed the icy tarmac toward a set of public bins, canvas bags squeaking with the weight of a winter’s worth of recycling. The only other humans in eyeshot were huddled around a makeshift tent pitched between two dumpsters. They were not squatters, but rather a group of friends having a cookout on a misty […]

Germany — Jan 2, 2015

Baby you’re a Feuerwerk

Berlin has successfully retained its standing as my favorite place for New Year’s Eve. There are many perks of celebrating here, but for me the greatest highlight is the wide availability of legal fireworks. The city turns into a war zone in the hours leading up to midnight. Innocent neighborhood children turn into armed combatants when given Roman candles […]

Germany — Dec 31, 2014

Frohes neues Jahr

That’s Happy New Year in German, a language I never thought I’d learn but have spent the last five months butchering. Luckily sometimes it’s as practical as the Germans themselves, and inventing extravagant compound nouns is not always incorrect. (One of my favorite examples is also topical: a glove is a “Handschuh,” aka hand shoe.) […]

IRPfellows, Mozambique — Dec 8, 2014

Mozambique’s first opera trains new generation to sing

When one thinks of Mozambique, one probably doesn’t imagine an opera. There isn’t one, at least not yet. However, I met two astounding women who have returned from careers abroad to popularize the genre in their home country. I wrote this piece for The Guardian about Stella Mendoça’s plans to create a Mozambican opera based […]

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