Sunday, October 25, 2020
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Pia de Jong

Pia de Jong is a Dutch writer who lives in Princeton. Her memoir, “Saving Charlotte,” was published by W.W. Norton in 2017. She can be contacted at pdejong@ias.edu.

A Change of Habits

I am no longer the same as I was before the pandemic. I can’t just pick up my old life, pretend there’s not a half-year gap. Social contact, I read, is one of the most complicated things for our brain.

When the Zoombies Appear

This new world is a bonanza for born voyeurs like me. I can’t get enough of studying all the interiors, the bookshelves, the dogs, the idiosyncratic behaviors.

A Lesson to Remember

Do a chemistry test on your mobile while you pay for toilet paper with your little brother in the supermarket. That happened to a student of Kimberly Dempsey, a chemistry teacher at East Side Community High School in New York City.

Forever Flowers

The virus traveling among us has revived an almost bygone tradition: sending postcards.

The History of a Moment

"We didn’t come this far, to only come this far.” Those are the words on the banner an older black woman is carrying through the streets of Princeton.

When the Foxes Play

Now that almost all people are gone, the foxes have taken over the university. In broad daylight they roam the grounds, up the monumental stairs and through the ornate iron gates.

Guardian of Our Past

My mother is the chief curator of our family’s museum. She carefully monitors our past. Fortunately.

The Love Song of T. S. Eliot and Emily Hale

On a rainy morning in early January, the two of us descend into the catacombs beneath Princeton’s Firestone Library to read the most famous sealed library archive in the world.

The Eye of the Hurricane

In Times Square, in the middle of Manhattan, I make my way into the huge Marriott Marquis hotel. I step into a glass elevator, which hangs on the outside of a column in the huge atrium. While we ascend, I get views of different worlds.

The Fall of Icarus

You don’t expect to find insights into our troubled times from the Flemish Old Masters. But on a recent trip to Brussels I found myself wandering into the Royal Museum of Fine Arts.