Twenty Tiny Penpals!

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Little brother was eager to help

This week, I had the pleasure of visiting my little brother’s first grade class to talk to them about Romania and what it’s like to move to a different country. We also practiced introducing ourselves in different languages–I taught them French, Greek, and (questionable) Romanian, and they taught me Mandarin. They asked questions that revealed the deep curiosity of children: “What do houses look like in Romania? What do children do in schools in Romania? Do they have seasons in Romania?”

I answered their questions as best as I could, but in the end we realized that there are only so many things you can learn about a country before you travel there, so each of the children held on to their questions and will send them to me in letters.

It will be heartwarming for me to receive a box of letters from six-year-olds while I’m adjusting to life overseas. But I’m also looking forward to making connections between cultures clear for small children. It’s a skill I hope to hone as a public historian: making complexities of history and culture accessible to everyone.

There are fun things to convey about the history of Romania, such as the (much toned-down) story of the real Dracula that I hope will catch the imagination of six-year-olds. But mostly I want them to realize how alike we all are as humans, even all the way across the ocean and a continent.



In just over a month, I’ll be leaving my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio to spend a semester abroad in Athens, Greece. I’m incredibly excited to explore a corner of the world that is completely new to me and see what the city of Athens has to offer. I’ll be living in a Greek apartment building in the Pagkrati neighborhood, taking classes all over town (and field trips all over the country!), and attempting to learn and speak Modern Greek. I also probably won’t shut up about this trip from now until this time next year. I will make an effort to blog here weekly starting in September, although I will be traveling quite a bit. Feel free to follow along on my journey here!