My hands shook like I was about to play Beethoven’s Pathetique to a stadium full of people. I peeled off to the side. “Eat something.” I peeled a banana, fingers trembling. I’d only gone about 100 yards. This was humbling. Ten days earlier, I’d loaded up two backpacks with things like shampoo leaves, wool socks and peppermint-flavored Pepto and headed for Asia. I knew it was going to be tough. The only… Read More

After eight fantastic days of trains, chocolate pastries and crazy rain, I put my parents and nephew back on the plane yesterday headed back to the States. We had a great time. A few favorite moments … 1. Normandy. We took a tour of Normandy and ended up on Omaha Beach. It’s strikingly beautiful … and hauntingly quiet. Few people, or even sea gulls, go there. I’d never heard my dad talk… Read More

John’s family told him he didn’t deserve to live, and when he died, he wouldn’t be buried. It’s all because of what he did with his knife one day – and with his heart. That day, John had walked into the living room where his whole family was sitting. He slipped his finger under the black string tied around his neck and tugged on it gently, for the last time feeling its… Read More

“She can speak a little English. Just speak really slowly.” With that, my friend left the room. And there I was, staring at her beautiful friend, her dark eyes nervous in her olive face. I smiled. This is the new normal – being in a situation where I have almost no ability to communicate. Months ago on a trip to Israel, a friend and I hailed a taxi and asked the driver… Read More