Posts

Medical Experiences of a Peace Corps Volunteer in India

This is me in traditional Indian garb, 1968* A recent conversation with my dentist brought back some interesting memories. The first was of an encounter I had with a dentist when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in India back in the late 1960s. And that took me back to a few other experiences I […]

Courage and Fear

The defeat of evil: burning a Dusshera effigy of Ravana In the late summer of 1970, as I was nearing the end of my Peace Corps service in India, the local Peace Corps office asked if I would be willing to stay on for another three months to help train a new group of volunteers […]

What Exactly Is It That Begins at 40?

When I was a teen, I would occasionally hear my parents and their contemporaries say “Life begins at 40,” a reference not only to advancing middle age, but – whether they were aware of it or not – to the title of a book, song and film from the 1930s. The phrase came back to […]

The Blind Leading the Blind

Ever have a nightmare about the risk of getting lost in a crowded place where no one speaks your language? For an idea of how it might feel, read this story from my first visit to Japan, in 1971. Japan was the last stop on a roughly three-month trip back to the U.S. at the […]

My Most Memorable Thanksgiving

The most memorable Thanksgiving I’ve ever experienced1 took place in 1970 in Pawarkheda, pretty much in the geographic center of India.2 It was the site of a training facility belonging to the government of Madhya Pradesh (M.P., or Central State), which was made available to the Peace Corps to train a new group of volunteers […]

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 […]

My Peculiar Little Footnote to Apollo 11

I wrote and published this item on Facebook on July 21, 2009, when the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the moon was triggering numerous reminiscences. The incident described here is a unique, if little-heralded, footnote to this landmark event in the history of the human species. All the attention to the 40th anniversary of the […]

Lumpy, Crunchy … Yummy!

Winter Palace, St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), Russia Six weeks ago I posted an item about my experiences with tea – chai – in Russia and India. This week I want to invite readers back to both places to share another culinary/cultural recollection, this time in connection with two sweet-and-sour dairy products that I find nearly identical […]

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 […]

Chai … Чай … चाय

Chai: a wonderful thirst-quencher I was fond of long before it became trendy. Actually, I often drank tea as a boy, as it was my parents’ regular post-prandial refreshment. They enjoyed it with lemon rather than milk, which (unlike coffee, to which they would always add milk) made it acceptable after a meal with meat […]