Why 13 is Better than 3

Sure, there were some lovely things about the preschool years, but there’s also beauty in the early teens. Among my friends, it’s become something of a sport to gripe about our young teens. The sullen faces. The eye-rolls. The sinus-searing scent of their shoes. One dad I know, in the middle of a tirade about…

Pinterest Porn and the Pursuit of Perfect

I’ve always enjoyed my life porn.  Sunset.  Real Simple.  Pottery Barn’s catalog.  I cancel plans on the day that Ikea’s annual idea book arrives.  At points in my life, even the Dixieline Lumber circular or that one catalog full of drapey clothes and Buddha-themed wall plaques has scratched my itch.  And now there’s Pinterest, a life-porn…

The Cult of Efficiency

Once, years ago, my friend Natalie asked me, “You always say you’re too busy for stuff.  What are you doing with your time?”  There was an awkward, confused silence, because my every waking moment felt crammed with non-discretionary activity, stuff I had to do and do well.  I felt like I barely had time to…

Old Life, New Eyes

“As surely as there is a voyage away, there is a journey home.”  — John Kabat-Zinn One of my most vivid memories of my college summer in Russia didn’t occur in Russia at all, but instead on my first day back in the United States.  I had flown straight back to my unfurnished apartment and…

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Delusional

This morning, as I brushed my teeth (water-free since the tap water isn’t safe) in the house where we are staying in rural Peru, I watched the neighbor plow his backyard with a pair of oxen.  This sounds like a romantic view — and four months ago it would have been — but it prompted…

Tidbits of Everyday Colombian Life

Sometimes, it isn’t the famous sites or grand adventures that highlight the differences in culture, but the little, everyday things.  Here is a loosely curated list of what’s different in Colombia.  Some good or fun ideas, some not-so-good, and some that continue — even after almost five months — to completely baffle us… We could learn from this!…

The Season of Invitados

For almost three months, we were a self-sufficient four-person unit: Karpinskis vs. Colombia.  We ate, slept, studied, shopped, cooked, cleaned, watched Modern Family, did everything as a foursome.  It was both awesome — we could complete each other’s thoughts! — and occasionally painful — we could complete each other’s thoughts!  Then late March and Eric’s…