• Belarus,  Education,  Fulbright,  Personal,  Vitebsk

    Seeing Myself Through a Child’s Eyes

    “You know what, Alana?” I turned away from the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I was preparing to see the eight-year-old boy I was babysitting studying me with a thoughtful look. “You’re like the Mona Lisa. You don’t laugh a lot, but you smile all the time.” An amusement park in Polotsk I had no words in response, which for those of you who know me, is a truly rare occurrence. “Is that a compliment?” I wondered to myself. Seeing his sincere smile and strangely mature, thoughtful expression, I decided to accept it as one. I thanked him and said, “At least I have eyebrows.” He giggled at my silly…

  • Education,  Fulbright,  Vitebsk

    The First Lecture (and Random Screaming Men)

    In a dream on Sunday night, I heard a man screaming. It was a loud, long scream that awakened goosebumps on my arms. The scream had started in my dream, but I quickly realized that I was quite awake. I found myself sitting up in my bed squinting at my curtained windows. There was indeed a man screaming somewhere outside my apartment, and I heard the sound of running footsteps and then police sirens. Exhausted from a long day of travelling to Minsk and a late evening of lesson planning for my first lecture, I quickly fell back asleep. Monday morning my alarm and the impending reality of my lecture…