Home is where the city is

I journeyed to New York City this summer to attend the national events for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, in which I won a gold medal for poetry. The following videos depict the ceremony and celebration…


…as well as our exploration of the city.


I now hate taxis

If you’ve read “The glimmer effect,” you know I hate planes. When my family landed in Kyiv, I was ecstatic, filled with “we survived” happiness. My father’s friend arrived to pick us up at the airport, though it was 2 am when we landed, but his car did not fit all of us. My dad and I ended up in the cab, and my life was tossed up in the air and juggled just when I had thought my travel worries had ceased. Continue reading

The glimmer effect

I’m skeptical of people who say they love traveling. I think they must associate travel with sightseeing: the white sand beaches in the Caribbean; the leaning tower of Pisa and the bulging fistfuls of pizza; the Eiffel Tower selfie complete with a freshly bought beret. These people have become victims of the glimmer effect: they remember only the highlights of their time abroad, not travel–their journey from one place to another.

Travel is brutal. Continue reading

Nutcracker at the Bolshoi


After assembling a video of pictures from my trip to Russia, I realized I had forgotten one of the highlights. On my second to last day in Moscow, my family went to see The Nutcracker at the Bolshoi Theater. It was the first time I had ever been to the ballet, and I had the opportunity to attend one of the finest theaters in the world. The dancing was incredible; I favored the first half in which the dancers built the story line and even injected humor through a brother antagonizing a sister (something all too familiar in my house). Continue reading

The subtle differences

(Between the U.S. and Russia)

The Moscow skyline

1. The metro. While U.S. cities may rely on the subway, suburbanites tend to have little experience with them. In Moscow, it is a primary form of transportation.

2. Red entrance; green exits. My dad says this must be a mistake, that I’m not interpreting the signs correctly, but often, there is an English translation listed under the Russian, and in some Metros, I caught red entrances and green exits.

3. Russia doesn’t recycle. Separate your plastics, papers, and aluminum if you must, but there is no collection agency to collect it.

4. Weather. It’s cold in Russia, but the main difference in this regard is how the locals react to it. If it’s below freezing in Mason, Ohio, the doors stay shut, and the TVs stay on. If it’s below freezing in Russia, it’s Saturday, and it sounds like a great day to take your five-year-old half-brother for an hour long walk in the snow to explore the Christmas market. (There are never “snow days” there.)

Continue reading