"My night smile is different. When a figure approaches me on my late walk home down Chapel, I give a weak grimace — no teeth — staring a little too long and walking briskly."

Dark Matters

October 12, 2012
“Hey, I like that smile!” I had already hurried past the two young guys in front of the New Haven Public Library when I heard these words behind me. I had smiled at one of the men, the taller one, as I walked by, and I knew it was him talking. “Can I see it »
Listen to Kalli: Panera Bread is not your best bet!

Excuse me while I rant about breakfast

October 5, 2012
On Tuesday, the News reported the closing of News Haven and the future opening of a Panera Bread in its place. Skimming the article as I avoided puddles on Elm Street, I wilted a little. In truth, I had been to the international periodical outlet just once during my freshman year, and even then only »

The Unapology Comedy Tour

September 21, 2012
So a Facebook addict, the husband of a Jew, a divorced mom, a Puerto Rican Yale grad, a fat guy and a beat-boxing Jamaican American from Bridgeport walked into a bar on a Monday to tell some jokes. The bar is called Cafe Nine and the occasion was the Fistful of Jokes Comedy Showcase, which »
The New Haven Green is fully restored following damage caused by the Occupy New Haven encampment.

Howe to Park in New Haven

September 7, 2012
The night noises this fall haven’t changed much from previous years. Falling asleep with the window open, I still drift off to Dopplered police sirens, snippets of late-night drunk talk, motorcycles drag-racing down empty streets and nineties pop ballads murmuring from a party nearby. But this year I wake up to garbage trucks rather than »

Finding Home

August 24, 2012
This summer I watched the fireworks standing in a gravel parking lot, a black check presenter shoved against the small of my back to keep track of my signed receipts. Scattered around the blocked-off street were the silhouettes of couples I’d waited on earlier in the evening. I was still on the clock, but my »
The Spanish Riding School, Vienna.

Ich, auf Wiedersehen

April 5, 2012
From the moment I stepped off the tram and into Vienna’s Innere Stadt, I felt like I was on a movie set in Hollywood. Parliament rose like a Greek temple across the wide ring road, and as I wandered toward the seventh Bezirk, the Hofburg gardens emerged through the fence on my left, pruned and »
Red carpet at the Berlinale, Berlin's annual film festival, which took place from February 9 to February 19 this year.

In my biopic, Natalie Portman will play me

February 21, 2012
“I don’t understand American films,” one of my German teachers, Claudia, remarked last week. “They’re all action and pretty pictures, but I can’t einfühlen [empathize] with the characters.” “They’re formulaic,” I agreed. This was an opinion I had long held and had never apologized for, but this time as I nodded, it felt like a »

How to do it alone

February 15, 2012
Last Saturday night, sitting on a scarred wooden barstool, watching the dimly-lit room fill slowly, I tried to strike a pose that said, “I’m alone on purpose.” At first, I hunched over my Berliner Pilsner and studied the foreign vodka bottles behind the bar, but that felt too lonely. Then I shifted toward the still-empty »
Technikmuseum, Berlin

A roadmap for homesickness

February 9, 2012
In Berlin, your German Lehrerin will introduce the concept of mobility. When she asks, “What does it make you think of?”, don’t think about how you can’t go home. When another student wonders how to say that the world is shrinking, don’t scowl about how it’s not as small as it looks. Not even in »
The Mauerpark in winter, taken while wandering a nearby flea market.

Language combinatorics: what matters more

January 31, 2012
Last Friday night, Mélodie, my roommate, asked if she could invite some friends over from our language school. Emphatically, I assured her she should. It was only my second day in Berlin and I was eager to meet a few friendly faces. Her guests began arriving around nine, and as each new guy or girl »
What to pack for a semester of the unknown? A Berlin City Guide and a pair of Birkenstocks, for sure.


January 24, 2012
Tomorrow I will board a flight to Berlin, and I’m terrified. It isn’t the flight itself that scares me. I’ve always been a calm flyer: I’m not afraid of turbulence and since I’m not smuggling any contraband, customs should be a breeze. It’s not the German that scares me. I’ve coped alone before in foreign »

Faith and Fault Lines

January 13, 2012
Almost every summer when I was growing up, my family piled into our Chevrolet Suburban and made a pilgrimage to the Rocky Mountains. We spent half our summer in the Rockies, so we took everything: giant bottles of shampoo, 20 pairs of underwear, novels, board games, my sister’s entire CD collection in its zipped-up binder, »