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Posts tagged ‘politics’

April fools

In retrospect, it was probably overly optimistic to hope that a cross-Atlantic trip scheduled for April 1 from the tiny airport in Portland to an even smaller one in Chisinau would pass without some misadventure.

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music retrospective

D was sad to miss the Beat Horizon show, not just because they had played at our wedding, but also because we’ve had limited access to good live music in our Foreign Service postings. Long before he caught the travel bug or fell in love, music was D’s first passion and remains the thing he misses most while living abroad.

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fighting hibernation

While we were busy reliving last month’s travels, winter has quietly crept up on us. Not only has the cold set in again after a pleasantly mild October, but also the days have gotten much shorter — a phenomenon we had happily forgotten in two years of living on the equator. And now that we’ve set the clocks back for winter, nightfall begins well before 5pm. By the time D leaves work, pitch-black darkness has already engulfed Moldova’s unevenly illuminated capital, significantly raising the bar for what makes going out worthwhile.

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a tale of two Ukraines

Even in the short time we spent in Ukraine, splitting five nights between Kiev and Lviv, we were struck by how different the two cities — and the regions they represent — are from one another.

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through the centuries

From the Netherlands, S and her family flew to Berlin for a four-day visit with another foreign exchange student, Laura. S had been to Berlin once before, but the visit lasted a mere 24 hours, which was not enough to even scratch the surface of one of Europe’s biggest and most iconic cities. Coming from Amsterdam, Berlin offered a stark contrast of urban chic. A pillar of the fashion, art, design, and music avant-garde, it exudes a spirit of innovation and experimentation while also offering reminders of Germany’s turbulent history at nearly every turn.

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winos to be?

Today marks the second month since our arrival in Chisinau. We should probably crack open a bottle of Moldovan wine to celebrate.

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where do we go from here?

There has been a lot of coverage of the U.S. Government shutdown, some of it humorous, a lot of it vitriolic, and all of it utterly depressing. Although we too chuckle at John Stewart’s apoplectic tirades against what must surely appear as madness to those who are not familiar with our dysfunctional domestic politics, those of us who can logically connect the dots and understand how we got into this mess must also realize that there is little at which to smile, and that our political malaise goes a lot deeper than the current crisis.

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currency manipulation

D was once a millionaire. He spent three weeks in Paraguay, where the local currency — the guaraní – was traded at 4,000 to the dollar at the time. A couple of hundred dollars was all it took to feel immensely rich. In Ghana, where S studied in 2005, one dollar was equal to 10,000 cedis, and whenever people went to an ATM they would bring a plastic bag for the armfuls of mostly worthless bills they withdrew.

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football and politics

We had been counting on a quiet night in last Thursday. It was going to be our last night together for two weeks. D was planning a weekend trip to Western Ukraine over Labor Day to play ultimate while S was going to spend some time with her family, who were traveling through the Netherlands and Germany. Instead, we wound up driving an hour and a half to watch a soccer game in Tiraspol, the capital of Transnistria.

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lazy lie-in

Serving abroad, we get both local and American holidays off from work, though knowing that some countries go a bit overboard with celebrations, the State Department caps the number of total holiday days per year at twenty.

President-elect of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta waves to his supporters in front of a church in his hometown Gatundu

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