Posts

Earning a Ph.D.

Here I am with my Corcel, a Brazilian-made Ford, relaxing in Brasilia in 1972 or thereabouts. I got my bachelor’s degree in Connecticut and my master’s in Massachusetts, but I had to cross the equator and fly all the way to Brazil for my Ph.D. I hasten to add that this doctorate was not in […]

Bud Korengold, 1929–2019, RIP

Last week I lost a friend, Robert J. “Bud” Korengold.* While we were not close, I greatly admired him. I first made his acquaintance when I was a Russian area studies major at Yale, and he was the Newsweek correspondent in Moscow. Back then, our acquaintanceship was one-way. I knew who he was; he had no […]

Nuts and Alligators

Here’s a Foreign Service story that’s too good not to share. Back in the early 1980s when I was working in Washington, D.C., I was assigned for two or three years to USIA’s Foreign Press Center, just six blocks from the White House. It was a great job. The FPC was located in the National […]

The Best Language-learning Experience Ever

Prabha Gupta, my first Hindi teacher (I discovered this photo in my slide archives over a year after I published this blog post) Part of the good fortune I’ve had in a career that afforded me the opportunity to live and work in several other countries has been the chance to learn other languages and […]

A Great Cup of Coffee

If faithful readers of this blog (yes, it appears there actually are a few of you) are tiring of tales from the time I spent in Leningrad, here’s a change of pace – a story from Brazil. And what could be more authentically Brazilian than a story about that fascinating country’s best-known export – other than samba […]

‘You’ve Got Communism’

Soviet propaganda poster: “Forward. To the victory of communism!” Banner shows profiles of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin. Foreground figures are idealized representations of a laborer and a collective farmer in the “workers’ paradise.” On the eve of Labor Day, I’m reminded of an incident that took place back in early 1978, when I was posted to […]

Helping Bring Progress to the Third World & Crack Open the Iron Curtain

The following are some thoughts I was invited to write about “national service” – in view of my having served in the Peace Corps and the U.S. Foreign Service – for inclusion in the Class Book of the Yale University Class of 1966, in preparation for our 50th reunion next weekend (June 3-5, 2016): Don’t […]

Pianos and Diaper Buckets: The Perils of Intercontinental Moves

When I married my “starter wife” (defined in “The Fly,” below) I was not yet 30 and in more ways than one was just getting acquainted with the various responsibilities of life as an adult. I was living in Washington, D.C., at the time, but was preparing to leave on my first Foreign Service assignment […]

‘One of the Cowboy States’

My last Foreign Service overseas assignment was to Japan in 1985. This was no ordinary assignment to our embassy in Tokyo or one of the U.S. consulates around the country. No, this assignment was to the U.S. Pavilion at an international exposition, Tsukuba Expo ’85 (http://bit.ly/1RweFds), held that summer in Tsukuba Science City, 35 miles […]

Surreal Welcome to Leningrad

Bank Bridge over the Griboyedov Canal, one of many canals in St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), sometimes called “the Venice of the North.” As a young Foreign Service officer, I arrived in Leningrad in early July 1976 to begin a two-year assignment at the U.S. consulate-general in that city, the second-largest in the USSR. I flew […]