Rome: photo 7
The Forum: the place to be in Ancient Rome if you wanted to buy, sell and trade; give a speech; visit a temple or get involved in politics.
Click here for a taste of this public square's tumultous history and a terrific interactive map.


Rome: photo 6
In the Colliseum.
When life gives you a lemon...
Make tea!

I've got a cold this weekend and am thus drinking large amounts of tea. My neighbor Bassam -- who owns the shop across the street -- had a cold last weekend. I told him of my tea treatment, which he affirmed. However, he advised me to use lemon in my tea for an extra burst of Vitamin C. "It's just as good as prescription medicine," he insisted. I promptly purchased a lemon from him and have been using it faithfully, one slice at a time. And I must say, a fresh lemon is quite tasty when soaked in a hot beverage! I would recommend it to all, even those of you who are completely healthy.

Here's a fun website from the BBC about the joys of tea-drinking.
Movies I'd Like to Watch with my Dad

Schultze Gets the Blues


The Straight Story

The first is one of the best I've seen this year. It touches on themes I would love to discuss with my dad, like the interaction between German and American culture and the risk of opening yourself up to something completely new.

The second is one of the best I saw last year. It touches on themes related to rural life -- farming in particular -- and a complicated relationship between elderly farmer brothers.

I recommend them both to you all. Members of my immediate family: maybe we should rent these 2 when I'm home for Christmas and have a movie night at Tammy and Jim's!


Rome: photos 3, 4 and 5
Krista and I enjoyed a day off from sight-seeing at a lovely beach 1 hour from the city by train. The name of the town escapes me at the moment. All I know is that the water was cool, the food was delicious and the foliage was quite impressive.

Rome: photo 2
The Pope and I.


Rome: photo 1
My friend Krista Dutt is on the left. Our new ancient Roman friend, met while traipsing through the Vatican Museum, is on the right.


Het Vredeskleed
After an absence of way too much time, I'm back!

In the coming days, I'm planning to treat you all to a series of photos from my vacation in Rome this past summer. But first, take a look at this beautiful embroidered tapestry, created last spring by a multicultural, interreligious group of women, all of whom live in Almere. Participants call the following lands their home: Afghanistan, America, Brazil, Burundi, Congo, Denmark, England, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Marocco, The Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Surinam and Russia.

A number of congregations and public spaces (like libraries) throughout the city of Almere hosted the embroidery of the tapestry, including the drop-in center where I work.

The tapestry's theme is peace, and each block contains a symbol related to the theme. Together with my friend Maaike, I embroidered an elephant, which symbolizes peace in India.

This tapestry is headed toward Israel-Palestine, where it is being offered to a group of women peace activitists as a gift of encouragement and solidarity. After a while, the tapestry will continue its journey to another country and another group. Its final destination is not yet known.

This project was sponsored by AVANTI, a center for "encounter, culture and emancipation" in Almere.