Kenya: Nairobi


Finally getting around to Kenya! I’ll start with Nairobi, my base of operations so to speak – it was the city I popped in and out of perhaps ten different times over the course of my three week trip. I’ll cover everywhere else I went in other posts. There will be many, many pictures and much rhapsodizing.

Continue reading

the TWA flight center


I forgot to include my TWA jaunt in the previous post about my summer trips in and out of NYC. I guess going to the airport doesn’t seem like a trip per se, especially because the only plane I got on was firmly stuck to the ground, having been converted into a bar.

We gathered at JFK just a week after the grand opening of the TWA hotel complex in the former TWA Flight Center, which had been closed for nearly 20 years. For lovers of mid-century design, fashion, and history, hanging out in this whopper of a space designed by Eero Saarinen in the early 1960s is a mind-blowing, nostalgia-inducing experience, even if you weren’t born until the very end of the 70s like me. The interior of the lobby / bar / restaurant area has been painstakingly re-done, inducing the feeling not that you are in a retro set-piece, but rather that you are in an exact replica of the Jet Age splendor that was the original TWA terminal.

I almost cried when I heard that once-familiar sound of a million birds flapping their wings and realized that they had rehabilitated an analog arrivals / departures board (which was later programmed to ask, “Will you marry me?” — someone’s clever marriage proposal that I missed while busy trying on TWA-branded sneakers in the hotel store). 

Anyway, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Continue reading

summer trips, in and close to NYC

convention hall and boardwalk
It looks like I’ll be using my free time in Senegal (and Côte d’Ivoire, where I’ll be heading on Monday) to write about other places I’ve been this year. It’s ironic in some ways, but it’s also reflective of what I find so lovely about being here. This part of the world helps me to slow down and provides me with the headspace to sit still and think, and eventually, to write.
So, even though we are half a year out from summer, I’m going to post pics from a few days trips that I took from and in NYC in August(ish). I mean, next summer is halfway here! What better time to daydream about the possibilities than as winter sets in. (That is, for those souls unlucky enough to actually be in NYC at the moment. I’m sitting here in 80 degree weather listening to Youssou N’Dour and feeling like I have somehow cheated winter yet again.)

Continue reading

catching up

Mermoz_bougainvilleaHello from Dakar! Here again for work. I’m so glad to be back in Senegal and at Chez Lo, but I’m also feeling quite snacky at the moment and there are no snacks to be found. A couple of unripe bananas and a half-eaten bag of who-knows-how-old chips are all I could find. It also took me a week to recover from the jet lag this time around. I arrived on Sunday morning and only today did the clouds start to clear from my head. I had begun to think I had developed a physical imbalance.

I guess my brain is still a little foggy because I can’t think of one thing to write next. I want to post some interesting links that I’ve been amassing for months, but I have no good transition to get there. Oh well, here we go:

A colleague recently shared this amazing grammar-checking tool with me. It feels like magic and in addition to correcting what you’ve written in French (or another language), it also explains why, so you can learn (or re-learn, in my case) the language rules.

And here are some new mind-blowing translation devices that I can’t believe actually exist.

The famous Strasbourg Christmas market is coming to New York in December.

A fascinating photography series showcases kids around the world (including a few from Senegal) surrounded by the food they typically eat in a week.

Fuhgeddaboutit! Sorry, but there is no Brooklyn accent.

This article compellingly explores how in the Instagram age, enjoying natural wonders (and being “morally sound”) is secondary to getting the perfect shot.

Common English phrases with unexpected origins.

An interesting map for French learners and linguistics enthusiasts, that shows dialectical variations of “intensifier” words in European French.

Inclusive writing, or l’écriture inclusive, aims to make the French language more egalitarian.

A new study shows that thinking in a foreign language can reduce emotional biases.

A holiday shopping guide for UNESCO-designated crafts (that only seems to feature European traditions, unfortunately).

How children evolved to whine (and how to respond to it).

As a lover of midcentury West African architecture, I appreciate this round-up of African architectural gems.

And finally, this has nothing to do with languages or travel and everything to do with poop, which as of late has become another theme of this blog. It also happens to be one of those articles that makes you feel less alone as a woman.

Have a good weekend! I leave you book-ended with Dakarois beauty.

Cafe Lulu bougainvillea

siblings and niblings


A few years ago, I realized that French has no real word for siblings. If you want to know whether a person has any, you ask if they have brothers and sisters. I find it clunky and annoying. At some point in the recent past, I discovered that une fratrie refers to a group of siblings, but it’s not a term in everyday usage, and I think people would look at me weirdly if I asked whether they have une fratrie.

I similarly find it clunky and annoying that neither French nor English has a real word for nieces and nephews… or so I thought. This article about 25 obscure English words introduced me to nibling, a neologism coined in 1951 to refer to either a niece or a nephew; niblings is the plural. Unfortunately it never caught on, which is a shame. I think it’s both brilliant AND remarkably cute, just like a word for beloved little people should be.

That is all.

[Photo: Ritmó]