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Junot Diaz: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Although I was never an overweight Dominican teenage boy growing up in New Jersey, I was in fact a nerdy bookish Slovak-American teenage girl growing up in New Jersey. It was easy for me to identify with Oscar; after all, all immigrant cultures in the United States are the same when you get down to […]

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Slovak Christmas 2012

Just a quick follow-up from last year’s post about Slovak Christmas 2011: Here are the typical pictures of Slovak Christmas Eve dinner in our family. My dad (not Slovak) enjoying the sauerkraut mushroom soup appetizer: And of course, the potato / cheese pierogies drenched in browned butter, the pork that was slow-cooked all afternoon in […]

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Spotted! The Travelocity gnome kickin’ it in his country digs…

I had a fantastic celebrity sighting the other day while running down the Columbia trail in Hunterdon County, NJ, near where I grew up. If you want to know why I was lame enough to have my phone / camera with me while running, it’s because I had already done my “out and back.” As […]

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Shane comes to Slovak dinner

We grabbed our passports yesterday afternoon and headed fifty minutes over to Linden, NJ. After clearing customs at my grandfather’s back door (back door for family, front door for company), we sat down to a Slovak dinner prepared by my godmother Merka. She outdid herself as usual and enjoyed giving us the blow-by-blow of how […]

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Slovak Christmas 2011

If you ever want to go to Slovakia, and you happen to know me, let me tell you that you don’t need to go all the way over there. Just come with me to my grandfather’s house in New Jersey. He’ll be 92 next week. Not only is the decor at his house a time […]

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Slovakia, New Jersey, in summertime

During the 18-hour flight back from Cape Town, pretty much the only thing I could think about was how anticlimactic going home to Jersey would be. I braced myself for this phenomenon known as “boredom,” but I couldn’t really wrap my brain around it, because I’m pretty sure I’ve never been bored before, even in […]

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New Jersey is better than northern Virginia

My winter-oriented gripes have morphed into the gripe I always have year-round. As a travel lover, that is, a lover of exploring new cultures, new foods, and diverse lifestyles, I carry with me an arsenal of complaints as a resident of northern Virginia for the past two years. My grievances usually run along the lines […]

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