LONDON— When Russian Alla Jilobokov and her Costa Rican/American husband Javier Casasnovas moved back to Costa Rica from the United States in 2004, they initially enrolled their two daughters in a top international school in San José. Though tuition was expensive—about $2,000 a month— it was the expected thing to do in their family and social circles. Read more

KIKINDA, Serbia-It’s a familiar sight  to the residents of Kikinda, Serbia: people of all ages and descriptions standing under the trees that line the town’s large square, looking ridiculous as they cock their heads back, mouths agape, fingers counting in the air. I dubbed it the “Kikinda stance,” and my husband, Vladimir, and I perfected it recently on a visit to the town.

What is everyone counting? Birds. A picturesque town of about 40,000 people less than 10 miles from the Romanian border, Kikinda is home to the planet’s largest roosting population of long-eared owls. Every year from early November until the middle of March, hundreds of them roost each day in the trees of the square. Read more

LONDON–For his fifth birthday, Offir Dagan’s parents took the electronic innards out of an old black-and-white television set and turned the wooden case into a puppet theater for their son.

Shlomo and Dorit Dagan didn’t realize it at the time, but their gift would put him on his career path — he now is 36 and a choreographer, performer and artistic director for professional dance training at the Bikurey Ha’Itim Art Center in Tel Aviv.

“I come from a huge family,” Mr. Dagan said, “and all my cousins had brothers and sisters, so I was bored when I was home by myself.” Read more

LONDON: As a gift to herself for her most recent birthday, Caroline Nolan bought an oxblood mink cape from Saks Fifth Avenue in Washington. Ms. Nolan, a public relations executive and mother of five, said she first started collecting capes during her last pregnancy, in 2011. Read more

LA CHAUX-DE-FONDS, Switzerland — Standing in front of a wide window with views over a green valley dotted with buildings and houses, one of Cartier’s marquetry artists gently tapped his foot on the wooden power pedal of a custom-made crossbow saw. Read more