Hi! I’m Marilyn…

I’m a public health nurse and writer who lives between worlds, but mostly in Boston.

I was raised in the country of Pakistan and went on to raise my children in Pakistan and in Egypt.

Moving to the United States proved to be the most difficult move I have ever made. For a long time, my cross-cultural and international roots remained silent as I struggled to connect and fit into my passport country.

I began writing in 2011 after participating in a humanitarian aid trip to Pakistan. Revisiting my childhood home and working in this relief effort awakened a long dormant desire to communicate what it was to live between worlds. My writing and speaking come from a place of knowing what it means to live between.

I have participated in humanitarian relief trips to Pakistan, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon. In 2018, my husband and I moved to Northern Iraq where we lived in a small city and taught at a public university. This experience gifted me with a love for the people and place of Kurdistan.

Communicating Across Boundaries

is a blog about communicating across faith and cultural boundaries. Topics include everything from thoughts on culture, third culture kids, faith, and communicating cross culturally.

62 thoughts on “About

  1. I love to read content from fellow TCKs. So glad I found this site. Your posts are always thoughtful and well-articulated. Thank you!
    PS. I visited Iraqi Kurdistan in 2013 and was welcomed with such warmth and hospitality by the people I met there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Marilyn, you are living a fascinating and diverse life. It’s wonderful that you are sharing it on this blog. I just read your post about how to help someone who has just had a loss and is grieving. It’s so needed, because people say the most outrageous things. Thank you for that thoughtful post.


    1. Munazza – I’m so happy to hear from you and so sorry it took so long to connect! Thankyou so much for coming by. Where do you live in Pakistan? It is my adopted home and I’ve spent more time there than I have in the United States! Would love to hear more but just know I’m so glad you came by and so glad you liked the post my husband wrote on Iran!


  3. Hi, I really love reading your blog. You have a singularly unique outlook and perspective on the world that is so refreshing to encounter. Your posts never fail to make me think and deliberate deeply, which I think is the mark of a brilliant blog.

    So, I’ve nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award, to find out more, check out http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/ or http://laurasdimension.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/versatile-blogger-award/.

    Thanks, and I look forward to reading more of your fantastic posts.



    1. Laura – yesterday was a crazy day of work for me and I woke up this morning to read this message! Thank.you.SO.much! Your words are full of affirmation. I’m heading over to your blog and please know you made my day!


  4. Hi Marilyn, so glad to have discovered your wonderful blog. I think your photo at the top is fabulous and says it all. Can’t wait to read more and more. All the Best, Terri Vance


  5. Delighted to find your blog through Melissa at Outbound Mom. It’s a fascinating life, that of an expat! I enjoyed a few years as a child and now am going on my 26th as an adult. Looking forward to reading my way through your blog.

    Thanks for sharing!



  6. Marilyn-

    It looks like I’m a little late to the party, but I’m glad I found you (not sure how I got here). I work for a non-profit that raises money for international humanitarian and environmental projects around the world. I appreciate the voice you bring to the discussion that reminds us all that the world is a much bigger place than we can even comprehend.



    1. Laura – you so are NOT late for the party :) So glad you came by and your site looks like something to blog about! I would love to have you do a guest post or I could write something and link up. Right now I’m trying to raise awareness and money for fistula operations. I think I do this mostly because when I forget how big the world is I get petty over some pretty stupid stuff….so thank you for your affirmation on the voice. Would love to hear more about your work. Thanks again for coming by!


  7. Massively impressed – what an eventful life you’ve led! I came over through a third party link to ‘saudade’- which made my day, week and month by the way!- and will certainly be back to read more. Great read.


  8. Dear (Aunt-in-Law) Marilyn,
    I’m not sure you know that I’m one of the many subscribers to your blog, but I am certain you don’t know that you’ve become a part of my every morning. Your blogs make me smile, make me think, make me learn and make me share. I couldn’t be more “California Girl” if I tried, but your writing not only takes me places I’ve never been but it shows me those places through different eyes. I love it. Thanks!


    1. Maggie – I read this comment….then I read it again..and again..and…! I loved it. I had no idea you read it, and that you find it interesting and worth reading is unbelievably wonderful and affirming. Thank you seems inadequate. This is indeed a gift. Hugs to you, Mark, and the cutest little girl on ever earth. I am jealous that my brother had this amazing granddaughter!


  9. Congratulations on your recent nomination for the Hope Unites Globally HUG Award. To accept the award, please visit and follow the HUG Award Guidelines at http://ahopefortoday.com/2012/01/14/hope-unites-globally-hug-award-guidelines/. Please continue to let me know the names of persons and/or sites you nominate for this award by posting a comment on the HUG Award Guidelines page at http://ahopefortoday.com. May you be blessed as you continue the positive work you do for the good of all humanity. I am really looking forward to becoming more familiar with you and your site.
    Blessings, Connie


  10. It’s so cool to see people who are so open minded, and who lack the restrictions of past generations. You’ve had a fascinating life. I hope you continue being able to be so open minded to all cultures!


    1. SarahAlice – thank you so much for stopping by and for this comment. It’s funny how when it’s your own life you think “not fascinating at all” because it’s taken place in your own shoes and skin. I have been incredibly blessed I will say. Mark Twain has this great quote about travel being fatal to bigotry, narrow mindedness and prejudice, and while I know as a human being I still struggle with all those – I would agree with him that it makes you think twice and see through a different lens. Thanks again.


  11. Marilyn, what a fascinating life you’ve had. So great to see your heart for people and your faith. I’m following your blog now.

    I’m very new to blogging. I love to read blogs where the writer has a clear voice, like yours.


    1. So delighted to have you read! Welcome. I’m actually only 11 months into blogging and it has been a good learning journey so delighted to have you comment. It’s interesting that I use the word fascinating about other peoples lives but never think of it for my own! It was a dentist who said to me once “You have had a fascinating life – use it!” Still don’t use the word but definitely want to continue developing a voice. I look forward to getting to your blog as well.


  12. Hello Marilyn,

    I just replied to your comment on my blog but felt compelled to say something here as well. First, I really like the image on top of this page. Second, I ended up reading a couple of your posts because I liked the way you wrote, with openness & ease. Third, your most recent post (I have put up a link to it on my blog) sort of helped me figure out something I am going through currently.

    I look forward to more visits from you. And I hope to come back to read more insightful posts here. Thank you for visiting me!

    P.S. – By the way, I have an immaculate coffee table (am obssessed with de-cluttering). I guess you know what that means :) If you would still like to risk coming over to my blog, I would welcome you!


    1. Hahaha!! I loved the PS part best of all! Are you kidding – I LOVE people with immaculate coffee tables…it was just such a good title that I risked offense :)
      Thanks for coming over and I am so glad that the latest post helped. I am sure you can relate that there are times when I think why do I do this? And then I read a comment like this and am encouraged to move forward. So thank you!


  13. Dear Marilyn,
    I am thrilled to read your history in Pakistan as I was there at BCH at the same time. I may have been at your graduation from MCS! I will keep enjoying your stories. Maylenes father was our field chairman. She painted a picture for me to earn money in HS. I treasure it. Bless you. Barb(Evans) Knoll


    1. Barb – thank you so much for finding my blog and reading! I also have what I call my “early Maylene” (If there can be early Picasso’s there can certainly be early Maylene’s!”) So glad you read and commented and you probably were at my graduation. Did you know Ralph & Polly Brown perchance?


    2. Hi Marily,
      Yes, I did know your parents. Not sure they would remember me as we worked in different areas, but I knew them and recognized your Dad’s picture. If I am right they were with CBFMS. I worked in Shikarpur twice so they could go to AFC. I know Nate and Marty and many others of that era. Have been in contact with Arlene since Bill passed away, plus Mark and Donna, and Jon Mitchell and his parents and bro and sis. Love re-connecting. my favorite is Mosoor ki Dal and I drink Chai every morning and use Basmati rice and use curry spices a lot. I also love Pakistan with many good memories. Barb


  14. Dear Marilyn,
    please forgive my mistakes, I’m not used to write in english. Your blog is very nice, and I thank internet I can read about a so interesting experiences! I’m sure I can learn a lot from it.
    Regards from Italy,


    1. Thank you so much for this comment. My daughter just returned from 6months in Italy and loved it so much. Your English is beautiful….I wish I could say the same for my Italian!


  15. Just discovered your blog, Marilyn, through a link posted by a mutual friend. Happy to have found it and look forward to checking back in from time to time.


  16. Dear Marilyn,
    it is truly wonderful to see your blog. You look truly happy and lovely as ever. How long will you stay in Pakistan? Hoping that you can touch the lives of many people in a positive way.
    Have an enchanting and magical 2011,
    Petra and Jacqueline (Phoenix)


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