Were California and Poland Separated at Birth?

The Golden State’s Long-Lost Twin Is Much Farther East Than Texas or New York

California, I’d like to introduce you to the sister you never knew you had.

Her name is Poland.

No joke.

I see by the look on your face, California, that you are a bit shocked at this news. I realize that, when you think about your place in the world, you compare yourself to other big states, like Texas (economically) or New York (culturally). And when you’re feeling proud, you trot out the gross domestic product figures that put you in the top 10 of all countries around the world, up there …

How Holland Is Mourning Flight MH17

The Dutch Are More Comfortable With Intimate Remembrances Than National Calls to Arms

A cultural conundrum that I struggled to comprehend during my six years of living in Amsterdam concerned the Dutch attitude toward celebrities. They are passionate about their own celebrities—far more …

Why I Love the Prague Coffee House Kafka Didn’t Frequent

I Go to the Grand Café Slavia to Lose Myself in a Landscape of Desire—and Over a Century’s Worth of Czech History

A middle-aged man sits in a café, his newspaper unopened on the table in front of him. He cannot keep his eyes off the slender young woman who has perched …

Why Marius the Giraffe Was Fed to the Lions

From Food to Sex, Europe’s Zoo Culture Is Nothing Like America’s

A few years ago, I attended a biannual convention of zoo nutritionists in Oklahoma for the book I was writing. Hanging out one night at the hotel bar with a …

You’ll Miss Europe If We Kill It

The EU Benefits the World More Than People Appreciate

Several years ago, after a lifetime in the heartland of America, I moved to the heart of the European Union. Having heard Brussels described as the Washington, D.C. of Europe, …

All the Old, Unfamiliar Places

America Is Home-But Why Doesn’t It Feel That Way?

America is a foreign place. This shouldn’t be so. I’m American. I was born here. I’ve lived most of my life here. But five years ago I left and moved …