by Pam Mandel | 07.29.14 | 11:04 AM ET
I love stories about complicated cultural identity issues. What’s at the intersection of religion and nationality? What happens when you add ethnicity to that question? How do people who find themselves in two not-quite-compatible subcultures reconcile the conflicting ideas, not just in their society, but within themselves? That’s why I liked this somewhat academic read about how some Armenians and Georgians are adopting American Evangelical religions—and struggling with the implications of what it means to leave traditional Orthodoxy behind.
But the biggest challenge for those seeking to convert others may be reconciling converts’ faith with their ethnic identity. Many of Pogosyan’s countrymen see those who leave the Apostolic Church as less Armenian. He takes pains to emphasize the long-standing relationship between Armenia and the LDS church, which first took hold in the Armenian diaspora in 19th-century Constantinople, as well as the increasing number of foreign missionaries of Armenian descent who have come to their ancestral homeland to serve. He is also careful to stress the cultural similarities between Armenia and the LDS church. “We’re very big on family values in Armenia,” he says, making the LDS church here a perfect fit. Ultimately, his faith has made him more Armenian, not less. It has strengthened his relationship with his family, his local community. “It has made me a better citizen.”
Read the entire story here.
by Candace Rose Rardon | 05.30.14 | 9:12 AM ET
Candace Rose Rardon began sketching in Bosnia to better remember the place. But something else happened along the way.
by Peter Ferry | 03.01.14 | 1:25 PM ET
On a sunny summer day, novelist Peter Ferry bikes to a Dutch bridge where hundreds of soldiers perished
by Jessica Colley | 12.31.13 | 10:21 PM ET
Jessica Colley had attended family funerals back in the States, but none had prepared her for her first Irish burial
by Eva Holland | 08.09.12 | 8:01 AM ET
Today in “Not an Onion Headline”: A hotel in Britain’s Lake District has swapped all its Gideon Bibles for copies of the racy bestseller “Fifty Shades of Grey.” The hotel manager, when asked about the change, noted that the Bible is also full of sex and violence. (Via The Awl)
by Jessica Colley | 08.07.12 | 1:09 AM ET
How to communicate when you don't speak the language? In Italy, Jessica Colley fumbled toward an answer.
by Taras Grescoe | 07.20.12 | 10:23 AM ET
In an excerpt from his new book, "Straphanger," Taras Grescoe explores Moscow's extraordinary Metro system
by Jim Benning | 05.30.12 | 10:51 AM ET
The Icelandic band, whose ambient, ethereal sound evokes the cool, steaming landscape of its native country, has released a new album, Valtari.
Most reviews find the album to be a lot like the band’s other stuff. As the Washington Post put it: “Ultimately the band’s commitment to pleasant but forgettable ambient soundscapes represents a sort of Rorschach test for listeners. One person’s transcendent experience is another’s somnambulant snooze.”
Funny the critic used “snooze.” For me, Sigur Rós has always made music to wake up to.
From the new album:
by Frank Bures | 04.25.12 | 10:07 AM ET
Frank Bures talks to the author about pilgrimage, authenticity and traveling in a world of infinite choices
by Eva Holland | 04.12.12 | 12:51 PM ET
In the latest essay in The Rumpus’ “The Last City I Loved” series, writer Rebekkah Dilts looks back on her time as a foreign student in Paris. Here’s a taste:
Speaking and being spoken to in French, this language that’s like a song, opened a new vein of cognition and a different sensibility in me. Paris was the landscape of what I wanted to be: I wanted to have a history that I believed in fiercely, I wanted for art and words to be acknowledged, but also for softness and aesthetics to be appreciated. And I was embraced by a family again; to feel tenderness and a sense of belonging in the setting of so incredible a city was the greatest gift I could have been given. I felt a unique and profound freedom.
by Doug Mack | 04.04.12 | 10:53 AM ET
Editor’s note: For his new book, Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day, Doug Mack traveled around the continent using a decades-old copy of Arthur Frommer’s “Europe on Five Dollars a Day.”
So what will $5 buy in Europe these days?
During the course of their World Hum interview, Leif Pettersen asked Doug just that. Here’s what Doug came up with:
- Florence: Some crappy knockoff designer sunglasses from an unofficial vendor by the Arno (but only after you bargained down from the original price and the salesman, with a practiced sigh/grin, says that he’s never, EVER made an offer this low, but ...).
- Paris: A pain au chocolat and maybe a macaron from Gerard Mulot on the Left Bank, along with eternal, wistful memories of same, an enduring, bittersweet nostalgia for that transcendent instant when all seemed right with the world. This is all true. Or a couple of condoms from the Eiffel Tower gift shop. Also true.
- Amsterdam: Aw, bro, I know this kinda shady place down a back alley, you gotta bang on this steel door, but for five bucks they’ll hook you up with a little bag of this, like, super-primo ... Gouda.
- Brussels: A couple of chocolate bars in the shape of Manneken-Pis.
- Berlin: Two fake East German stamps in your passport at Checkpoint Charlie.
- Munich: Beer! Or a prostate cancer test from a vending machine at Oktoberfest. I promise this is a real thing. Unfortunately (or not), it does not involve a little robot hand cranking out of the machine, finger extended. In fact, it’s a little stick; you pee on it, like a pregnancy test, which you can also procure from the same machine.
- Zurich: Ha! Good one. Right, like you can get something for $5 in Zurich. You take a single breath of that crisp Alpine air and it sets you back 8.35 CHF, which is, like, $210.04 at the current exchange rate. Though that does include VAT.
- Vienna: Your choice of all manner of Mozart-themed tchotchkes. A Mozart wig, alas, will set you back quite a bit more than 5 dollars, but such is the price of timeless fashion.
- Venice: A map, so you can figure out where the *%$@!! you are in that enchanted labyrinth-land. Or a shoddy plastic version of those famous Venetian masks.
- Rome: Gelato. Gelatogelatogelato. Go to Gelateria del Teatro, near the Piazza Navona. Five bucks (or, you know, the equivalent in euros) will get you two scoops of creamy transcendence that rivals the Sistine Chapel for awesomeness. (Hyperbole? Of course not.) Try the lemon. Or the chocolate-wine. Thank me later.
- Madrid: A ticket in the highest, most sun-blasted seats at a novillada con picadores bullfight. Available online through a Ticketmaster subsidiary. (Again, I am not making this up.)
by Doug Mack | 04.02.12 | 10:52 AM ET
In an excerpt from "Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day," Doug Mack envisions a new future for himself in a vintage guidebook
by Leif Pettersen | 04.02.12 | 10:50 AM ET
Leif Pettersen talks to the author about his new book, travel snobbery, and traveling with "Europe on Five Dollars a Day"
by Jim Benning | 03.01.12 | 12:06 PM ET
If anyone could use some Kickstarter funding right now, it’s probably Greece.
From McSweeney’s: Welcome to the Official Kickstarter Page for Greece.
Greece is a small country in the south of Europe known for inventing democracy and western philosophy and for its national motto, “Release the Kraken!” Our shores are a popular destination for backpackers and tourists wishing to relax amid sun-drenched beaches by day and intoxicated British tourists by night.
We wish to continue this good work, but to do so our creditors are demanding 14.5 billion ($18.6 billion) by March 20. We do not have this money, nor do we think we can raise it in time: Our asset sales have gone nowhere, and the EU has nixed our plan to close shop and re-open a few blocks away as “Greeze”. And so we come to you, our friends, for help.
by Jim Benning | 02.02.12 | 3:17 AM ET
Like so many people, I’ve been glued to PBS’ “Downton Abbey” and the scheming and backstabbing unfolding in Highclere Castle. Here, series creator Julian Fellowes discusses his favorite room in the castle: the library. I love his take on it. The French have their drawing rooms. The Austrians have their ballrooms. Libraries, he says, are the rooms the English get right.
Watch Downton Abbey: Julian Fellowes on a Favorite Room at Highclere on PBS. See more from Masterpiece.
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