Apr 242010
 
Pamela's Article 2: A Painful Lesson

Article #30 in the YCC Kids Club Ghana Student Life Stories Project Understanding an Adult’s Punishment By Pamela Agbi, Age 14

This story is a story I will never ever forget in my life.

On the sixth of March, Ghana’s Independence Day, Youth Creating Change organized an excursion to a huge celebration in Aburi Botanical Gardens, two hours from Sogakope.

All the students in YCC’s Cross-Culture Class were organized to attend so that we could [...Read More!]

Apr 232010
 
Help Give Advice to 16-21 Year Olds Planning to Travel!

Recently, I have gotten a bevy of emails from 16 to 21 year old women asking for advice on their dream of taking a year off to travel. This poses some difficult ethical dilemmas for me that I’d love your help with, dear readers.

Namely: How can our advice to these young prospective travelers balance my worship of travel as education, with my passion for all youth to obtain the educational [...Read More!]

Apr 222010
 
Two Cubans, an American, and a Mexican Restaurant in Spain

Two Cubans and an American walk into a Mexican restaurant in Spain.

Is this the start of a really bad joke?

Nope! It’s what happened last night when I met up with the childhood friend of my former Boston Public Schools coworker in Madrid!

The three of us: two Cubans and an American, ate nachos and drank Spanish beverages while discussing Cuban politics– until I got yelled at for asking too much about Cuban [...Read More!]

Apr 212010
 
Are You SURE That's Appropriate for a Grandmother?

In Latin America, the word often used to mean “cool, man!” is: “chevere!” But Latin American Spanish ain’t Spain-y Spanish, baby. Therefore, you have to do your research before you bandy about your old slang in a new country.

Here’s what happened when I asked my lovely host family in Barcelona to explain the Spain-y Spanish version of “cool, man!”

“Do you know what means ‘chulo’?” asked Anna.

“No, please explain,” I said.

“It [...Read More!]

Apr 202010
 
Parque Guell: At the Center of the “Too Much Tourism?” Debate

In Alice Walker’s beloved short story, “Everyday Use,” the conflict centers around which of two very different daughters should get to keep the mother’s ancestral quilt.

Should the precious quilt go to the daughter who plans to hang it in a case on a wall, never to be used, but only to be gazed at in historical appreciation?

Or should the quilt go to the more simple, less-educated daughter who longs to use [...Read More!]

Apr 192010
 
A Warning About Your Dream of Visiting or Moving to Barcelona

Look at that plate of Spanish tapas to the left.

Can you guess what flavor and food is sitting atop those slices of bread? Is it sweet or savory? Does it consist of fish, or cheese, or vegetables… or white chocolate? Is it soft or hard? Creamy or crumbly?

You really can’t tell until you bite into it, can you!

The same goes for cities. You can hear hundreds of [...Read More!]

Apr 182010
 
A Sign on a Barcelona Beach that Made Me Smile

Look carefully at the icons illustrating the sign to the left, snapped on a rather chilly beach in Spain’s Barcelona.

Now ponder: How did the conversation go between the sign’s designers? Let us imagine.

“Hey, Julio, how do you figure we should represent the concept ‘Don’t party here all night?’ on this new sign we have to make?”

“I don’t know, Jorge, maybe some empty alcohol bottles and a stick figure vomiting?”

“That’s gross, [...Read More!]

Apr 172010
 
7 Ways to Battle Homesickness and General Melancholy

Chances are, if you’re from New England and are already homesick, Europe is going to make you ache with it.

Travel in Asia and Africa is easier on the heart because it is so different from home that you can just flow with the newness.

But here in Europe? You’ll feel the tug in your soul. The curve of that column? It looks like Boston’s buildings. The glint of [...Read More!]

Apr 162010
 
The Food I Thought Was Too Good to Exist

Before he boarded the plane back to California, my brother hollered: “Don’t forget to track down that crazy chocolate thingy my friend told us about!”

“There’s no way it actually exists,” I scoffed.

“It does!” my brother asserted. “Find it.”

At the start of our Iberian week of adventure, my sibling had whispered a rumor he had heard.

“My friend told me,” he hissed conspiratorially, “that in Spain they drink this chocolate “beverage” which [...Read More!]

Apr 152010
 
Your Uterus, Travel, and Difficult Life Choices

“Shut up, biological clock, SHUT UP!!!”

This was my Twitter “tweet” which earned me the most re-tweets in a twenty-four hour span this month of any tweet I wrote. It seems people can relate!

“When you have children,” beamed the husband of one of my generous Spanish hosts, “it is amazing. You suddenly understand the full meanings of words such as “Love” and “Sacrifice” and “Responsibility” that you never fully got before.”

“That’s [...Read More!]