No Place Like Home for the Holidays

The popular song, “No Place Like Home For the Holidays” was published in 1954 and was made famous by singer Perry Como in 1959.  The lyrics talk about our desire to be home for the holidays, especially at Christmas time:

I met a man who lives in Tennessee, and he was headin’ for
Pennsylvania and some homemade pumpkin pie.
From Pennsylvania folks are travelin’ down to Dixie’s sunny shore…
From Atlantic to Pacific…Gee, the traffic is terrific!
Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays,
‘Cause no matter how far away you roam,
If you want to be happy in a million ways,
For the holidays – you can’t beat home, sweet home…

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Read on!

No Place Like Home for the Holidays – Preview

Hello Everyone and Merry Christmas!

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I have been very remiss about writing over the past month. First there was Thanksgiving, then a solid two weeks of grading papers and exams and then I hopped into my trusty car and drove from San Francisco to Texas to Charleston, S.C. to Virginia Beach and am now in Massachusetts hoping that an approaching storm changes track and brings us snow instead of rain. If it happens, my friends and relatives may kill me, but I will die happy if we have a White Christmas.

I intended to chronicle my trip east on my blog, but problems with internet connections, some 12 hour days behind the wheel, and the chaos of the holidays has gotten the best of me. So I decided to send out this Christmas message to assure you I am still here and next week I will start to post the whole story of the trip. For now, a few glimpses of Christmas from across the USA on the route that I took.

See you all in the New Year… if not before!

Matt

 

The Empire State… a Night in Gotham and a Day on the Farm

Before my annual pilgrimage… pun intended… to New England for the Thanksgiving holiday, I made a stop in frenetic Manhattan and on a peaceful farm in upstate New York near the town of Coxsackie.  Take a brief trip with me, first eating my way through Manhattan like a culinary King Kong, then down of the farm hanging out with some gorgeous animals.

Two and a half hours north of the Big Apple (or is it the Big Doughnut?)…and just south of Albany lies Lime Kiln Farm… check it out if you are anywhere in the area!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

I’ve always loved fall in those places where there’s a definite change in the seasons, and there’s probably no better place to be than New England at that time of year. The cool, but sunny days and chilly nights, the explosion of a palette of colors that have always been my favorite hues, the reflections of what’s happening above that can be found in any still body of water, and the heady smell of wood fires, damp leaves, and hot cider donuts… These are the things that make me return to New England every October with the determination of a salmon swimming upstream to return home!

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Before Winter sets in, let’s take a last, fond look at the Autumn. All of the photos below were taken in New England, mostly Massachusetts and Hew Hampshire.

Go to the photo gallery…

Northern Ireland: Land of the Giants

One of my dearest friends in the world is Maggi, an 86-year old woman I met back in 1976 in my Freshman English class at college. A housewife and mother of two, Maggi was born in Belfast. Northern Island and moved to Massachusetts when she married an American in the 1950s. Maggi is a rather famous storyteller who shares traditional folk tales, sentimental and thought-provoking reminiscences of her childhood in Belfast, and traditional folk songs and rhymes. She has performed all across the U.S. and in Britain, has won many prestigious awards in the folk world and recently published a book of her stories, Belfast Girl.

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The Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland

Don’t be a

Scotland: It’s Worth the Effort

My first visit to Scotland had been a brief trip with my dear friend Carol in 1986 during which we drove up from London to see Yorkshire and the Lake District of northern England, and then crossed Hadrian’s Wall to see a bit of southern Scotland. Though brief, that trip held memories of rolling green hills, rainbows, more sheep than you could shake a stick at, afternoon teas and a hospitable people with a wonderful sense of humor and irony.

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Eilean Donan Castle, Lochalsh, Scotland

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When in Rome… A Look at Cultural Norms in Italy

In my Social Psychology course I discuss the concept of social norms. Norms are rules for behavior, some of which are formal and may be integrated into our system of laws (stop at red lights, don’t steal, file your taxes); others are more subtle and are learned by watching the behavior of others around us as we grow and develop (shaking hands when we meet someone, maintaining certain physical distances from other people, holding a door for someone behind us).  Adhering to these norms tends to keep us out of trouble and wins the approval of others; deviating from these norms can lead to being punished or socially ridiculed. And while many social norms are universally shared, others tend to be culturally specific. One of the aspects of travel that I find particularly fascinating is being exposed to different sets of social norms depending upon the culture I’m visiting.

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