• Italy
  • August in Milan

    I am writing this sitting on the floor of my apartment, where my clammy legs are sticking to the mercifully cool stone tiles. It’s nine in the morning. What’s that parable about the poor mouse (or maybe a frog?) swimming in the pot of cold water and it doesn’t even notice when it starts to […]

  • Costa Rica
  • Fresh Cup Magazine: Costa Rica

    Costa Rica’s Café Culture Evolution The quality of coffee consumed in Costa Rica is catching up to the diverse, flavorful coffees it exports as brewing methods and café culture evolve. DECEMBER 26, 2016 KETTI WILHELM Costa Rica is famous for its eight distinct coffee-growing regions—each yielding beans with unique characteristics, brewed in kitchens and coffee […]

  • Italy
  • “Apocalypto”

    It’s been a week since I woke up in Bulgaria (for no real reason) to the news of a new president-elect back home. During this week, I’ve had lots of dinners with Italians – not because of the election but because in Italy, there are almost always lots of dinners to be had – so […]

  • New Zealand
  • The Awl: “Spring Fever”

    Spring Fever Is “craft water” any dumber than all the other artisanal nonsense people spend money on? by Ketti Wilhelm May 13, 2016   On a recent Sunday afternoon, on the waterfront in Wellington, New Zealand, an unusually large crowd gathered before a repurposed shipping container with a neat, black-and-white sign that read, “The Water […]

  • New Zealand
  • We Live in a Van Down By the River

    After two months wandering around New Zealand, I think I’ve probably forgotten how to work on a schedule, how to be in a hurry, and how to deal with normal travel that refuses to go according to plan. New Zealand as a travel destination is smooth sailing, perfectly organized, “easy as,” as the Kiwis say. […]

  • China
  • Paste Magazine: A Tattoo Feature

    International Ink: Searching for Rebellion in China China is a country of deep-rooted tradition and superstition that has survived a near century of Civil War, occupation and communism—a combination that doesn’t leave much room for a well-established Western symbol of rebellion: body art. So, when I took a road trip through industrial, inland China with […]

  • China
  • Paste Magazine: China Survival Guide

    The People’s Republic of China is a perplexing place for outsiders—a communist country where you’ll often feel like you’re trapped inside a shopping mall, where English is constantly a form of decoration and only occasionally a means of communication. The international mega-cities of Beijing and Shanghai have taken Westernization to heart, but outside the cosmopolitan […]

  • China
  • Teaching “Under The Dome”

    This was a bad week for people in China who like journalism. This was the week a cruise ship sank on the Yangtze River and killed 440 people with no explanation, but Chinese media were forced to change the headlines to “18 People Rescued From Cruise Ship.” Of course, this week was also the anniversary […]

  • Cambodia
  • Ship’s Log

    1:20 p.m. My tuk-tuk driver leaves me where he thinks I probably want to go: in front of a quiet guest house occupying a few yards of land between the pot-holed road and the Bay of Thailand. As I had been told to do, I walk a few doors down to the unremarkable Restaurant #41 […]

  • China
  • Hot Brother

    A couple of weeks ago, I taught my freshmen about western families, and one insistently outgoing student asked if I have any siblings. I said yes, I have one. Siblings aren’t as rare here as you might expect, despite 34 years of China’s (recently slightly relaxed) one-child policy – there are many legal exceptions, and many […]

  • China
  • Schoolin’

    My first three months of teaching have been quite a learning experience. I teach 272 students in eight classes. All are freshmen and sophomores majoring in English. Most are 18 or 19 years old, just like most underclassmen in the U.S., but that is essentially where the similarities end. When I walked into each classroom […]

  • China
  • Honeymooners and Burnouts

    My first month in China was not a honeymoon. It was a month of confusion, nerves, and stress – the good kind and the bad – peppered with lots of fun. (Like the mouth-numbing peppercorns in nearly every dish here – surprising, not entirely comfortable, but intriguing.) The amount of work that went into that […]