Showing posts from March, 2015

Weeks 30 & 31: Spring break on stand-by

Spring break, just like any other break, means more travels on stand by for me and my family.  Most stand-by travelers will agree with me when I say that stand-by travel brings along the most ambivalent feelings ever.

On the one hand, it's the most nerve-wracking experience, because you never know if there will be a free seat on the plane you want to board until the very last minute - literally until the plane door is about to be closed - when you are either told that the plane is full or you are given a boarding pass. In the former case you are disappointed, but you rush to try your luck at another gate for another flight. In the latter you are elated because you are able to reach your destination. Once there, you appreciate it much more than ordinary passengers because you know how tight it was to get there.

This time we appreciated it even more because of a terrible winter storm that caused cancellations and delays of so many flights on the Eastern Seaboard so there was no poi…

Country music and homemade food

I flew first class from Washington DC to Nashville. I have no idea how that happened, but it happened sometime during the exhausting five hours I spent talking on the phone with three travel agents and trying to resolve the issue of the cancellation of a Miami conference that I was supposed to attend.

Anyway, after a short flight I arrived in Nashville,  where my dear friend Myra was waiting for me. We first met  ten years ago when both of us participated in the State Department's School Connectivity Project.  Myra's warmth and her amazing hospitality made my stay in her beautiful house in Nashville a wonderful experience.

Nashville, also known as Music City, is famous for country music and for its Grand Ole Opry House. Myra was so kind to take me to a concert at the Grand Ole Opry, where we listened to Loretta Lynn, Claire Bowen and other famous singers and singer songwriters.

We also visited The Hermitage, the birth place of Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the Unit…

Weeks 28 & 29: Thawing out

Everybody says this is the worst ever winter in State College. The University was closed this afternoon and students dismissed because of snow and freezing rain. Classes at Penn State are canceled only on rare occasions - so the weather is really, really terrible.

However, because everybody wants this cold and snowy winter to be over there are many different events going on all around State College and University Park. (note to self: write a blog post about the difference between the two). From Wednesday 25 February till Sunday March 1, The Thaw festival took place with many interesting events. I attended the TEDxPSU and The State of Storytelling, both of which were very-well organized and featured some great speakers, storytellers and singer-songwriters.

On Sunday we attended the Global Connections Fundraiser - Passport on a Plate. The theme was the ocean and the Caribbean (everybody's yearning for sunshine) and each of the tables was decorated by a volunteer. For me, the most b…