This weekend a couple local friends and I drove out to Burana Tower, a former minaret in a town called Tokmok, about an hour by car outside the capital Bishkek. The minaret, along with mausoleums, grave markers, and castle remnants, is all that remains of a 9th century town in Kyrgyzstan’s Chui Valley. As usual in such a diverse country, Burana Tower makes for a fascinating and beautiful scene. The brick minaret and its winding staircase tower over the area, while grave markers resembling Easter Island statues are scattered throughout the valley.
While on a командировка in Jalalabad, Kyrgyzstan this month, I had some free time to visit Arslanbob, the largest walnut grove on earth. In Russian, the term for walnut is грецкий орех, which literally translates to “Greek nut.”
A week ago I spent the morning meeting with an Israeli cultural anthropologist and education scholar well-known for his work on Peace education, Prof. Zvi Beckerman. As soon as I entered his office, I immediately felt at home, as the books from some of my favorite rhetoricians-- Kenneth Burke, Chaim Perelman, and others-- were sitting right there on his shelf, piled up and in plain view.
After settling into our new digs, we walked over to Shlomi’s for a simple but satisfying meal of vegetable bean soup, borekas (delicious filled pastries, pictured below, photo credit: Jim Ridolfo), and pita on, oddly enough, Abraham Lincoln Street.
Jim and I arrived in Israel last Thursday afternoon around 2pm, and we had the good fortune to be picked up at the airport by our dear friend Shlomi (who will get a separate blog post dedicated only to him in a few days—keep an eye out!). Of course, since many Israelis drive cars that are smaller than American ones, Jim had a concern that our luggage might not fit in Shlomi’s car.
How does one pack for six months of living in one of the most famous and fought about regions of the world? This is the question that I’ve been thinking about for the past few days, as I waded through jeans, shoes, books, dresses, and other sundry items trying to figure out what was important enough to warrant space in my one suitcase.
My name is Katie Baskett, and I am an Ambassador for the College of Arts & Sciences. I am spending this spring in Caen, France taking classes at the Univesity's Carré International (language & culture center for international students). I've spent the last few days exploring my surroundings, and have come to find that the public transportation system is completely awesome and easy to navigate - I don't know why anyone owns a car. It definitely facilitates my wandering around this medieval town.