• Lifestyle & Relationships

    Sitting at the Table With the Dead on November 2

    Dinner table set with food, candles, wine

    On the Italian island of Sardinia, where I was born and still live, there has always been a deep-rooted belief that on the night of November 1 and 2, the fragile yet unsurpassable boundary between the living and the dead becomes more permeable. In the hope that loved ones who have died will find a way to return to this earthly realm for a few hours, and to nourish them from the dark journey they must take, many families set the table as if it were one of the happiest days of celebration.

  • Lifestyle & Relationships

    Your Body, Your Choice

    Single hand holding measuring tape, with the tape wrapped around the hand

    Men questioning women today is the norm. Why? Because less freedom means less opportunities to make the ‘wrong choice,’ I guess. The freedom we have today presses their buttons because they are losing power. There is no question there. In light of the Roe vs Wade verdict (when the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the right to abortion, upheld for decades), there is an obvious and cowardly attempt to wrest this power back.

  • Lifestyle & Relationships

    11 Years After I Moved to South Korea, I Embarked on my Most Memorable Stay in a Korean Temple

    Two monks about to ring a bell in a Korean temple

    “It’s going to snow,” my temple tour guide, Seokun, told me. The grey clouds covered the sun, and the wind picked up, causing chimes to sound in the distance. Seokun looked back at me and asked, “Can you help the monks shovel snow tomorrow morning?”  Naturally, I accepted. I had been waiting for this moment, expecting it, for the past eleven years since South Korea became my home. It became my tradition to take time off to refresh in one of the many beautiful Buddhist temples across South Korea.

  • Lifestyle & Relationships

    The Magic of Lake McCarrons

    Hand touching the surface of lake water

    When I first discovered Lake McCarrons in my home state of Minnesota, I was around 17 or 18 years old. It was a holiday, and my mom, sisters, and brother were gathered around the barbecue tables, waiting for the food to be done. Lake McCarrons was right up the street from where I lived at the time. I liked the atmosphere and how the sun always sets where you can see it.

  • Lifestyle & Relationships

    Damned If You Do

    Wiam Najjar selfie shot with young students in a classroom

    As a teacher, a member of a large family, and a feminist, I have always had crystal-clear notions about nurturing kids. For most of my teaching career, I’ve taught children ages 10 and under. I also have nephews and nieces that I’m very fond of. So far, children are the only humans who speak not only honestly but also kindly. 

  • Lifestyle & Relationships

    What The Pandemic Was Really Like For An Introvert Like Me

    Candle, cup of hot chocolate, book, and pillow stacked in a window nook

    For introverts, you’d think that the pandemic would be fun. Or at least something they’d be used to. It all sounds pretty normal: staying inside, watching something on a streaming service, and spending too much money on a food delivery app. You’d be mostly right if you were talking to this introvert. But this introvert also struggled. And this introvert even missed talking to people.

  • Lifestyle & Relationships

    I’m Becoming My Mother, But That’s Not a Bad Thing!

    Brooklyn standing next to their mother.

    When I was a child, my mother told me I’d grow up to be just like her. She said it to me in a tone that let me know I’d dread what I experienced once the change happened. Now, I’m “grown up,” and, as she predicted, I am exhibiting more and more characteristics that initially belonged to my mom alone. As I get older, not only do I look more and more like her, but I act like her, too.

  • Lifestyle & Relationships

    Heartbreak Journal

    Girl writing in a notebook

    I can’t even explain how much my heart ached from the pain I felt during those years. I was a teenager. I was naive. I was just too nice. Others mocked me. I should have known better. What did I do wrong? Nobody warned me he would break my heart. There were no signs of it. He played the part well and he had me playing his game. I never grieved so much in my life. The unbearable strain my heart felt was a load on my shoulder. Actually, a part of me was missing him. It made me wonder, “how could I fall for someone who gave his heart…