Lewiston, Maine – It’s a Good Story

“The way they play together, the way they get along, that’s the future of our cultures together..." - Coach Mike McGgraw The story of Lewiston, Maine is a good story. It's a story of integration and resilience and how a group of refugees and immigrants can revitalize a dying community. It all began in the … Continue reading Lewiston, Maine – It’s a Good Story

From Privilege to Responsibility

In the United States, Charlottesville, VA has occupied the top news for over 48 hours. This is not a cause for celebration, but a tragic reality where a rally largely controlled by alt right racists turned violent and ugly. The city is now mourning the death of a young woman who died needlessly as the … Continue reading From Privilege to Responsibility

“This is My Fate” – A Lesson in Cultural Humility

As soon as the angry words came out of my mouth, I regretted them. I was speaking to Rehmet, the woman who helped me care for my kids and my home. She was a Punjabi woman, uneducated, illiterate, with a smile that stretched across a beautiful, weathered face and a personality as big as her … Continue reading “This is My Fate” – A Lesson in Cultural Humility

On Perspective Taking

One of the best things about the Families in Global Transition Conference this past week was the diversity of perspectives from around the world. While all of us had an deep interest in living between worlds, we all come to it with different perspectives. Perspective taking - it's something I think about a lot. Below … Continue reading On Perspective Taking

People Have Friends; Governments Have Interests

When I first began dating my husband, I would joke that I dated him and 30 Iranians. Cliff had hundreds of friends and most of them were international students at the university he was attending. During those initial dates we would go to underground Marxist events, Nowruz parties, or sumptuous Wednesday night dinners of kebabs, … Continue reading People Have Friends; Governments Have Interests

Caution and Compassion: A False Choice

On Saturday night, my husband and I sat in the small kitchen of an apartment in a nearby city. This apartment is now 'home' to seven refugees - all young men. The apartment is heated solely by electricity, an expensive option in our cold northeast winters. All of the appliances are also electric. The electricity … Continue reading Caution and Compassion: A False Choice

When the Elephant in the Room is Bigger than the Turkey on the Table!

We here at Communicating Across Boundaries know that this might very well be an awkward holiday season for all of us. Families divided must now come back together around the Thanksgiving table. What on earth are we going to talk about? Here are a few suggestions to promote pre-Christmas “Peace on Earth” and “Goodwill toward … Continue reading When the Elephant in the Room is Bigger than the Turkey on the Table!

Friendship, Facebook, and an Impossibly Soft Couch 

"I miss you and your impossibly soft couch," my friend writes to me. I smile as I think of her and the hot mugs of tea we would drink as we would sit talking together. There was no clock in sight - time was unimportant. What was important was the friendship, kindred spirits meeting together … Continue reading Friendship, Facebook, and an Impossibly Soft Couch 

After the Election:How to Build a Bridge

At 2am I received a message from a Turkish friend living in Istanbul. She wished me luck with the election. "I hope it will go well for you" she said. I was deeply touched. Global friendships are a gift that God has given me and I am grateful. Right after I heard from Elif I … Continue reading After the Election:How to Build a Bridge

#Hashtags and Relationships

It's difficult to write today, but it would be worse to keep silent. "I don't want to become a #hashtag. Becoming a #hashtag is a very real fear in my community."  Yesterday at the end of a long and good meeting, a few of of us began talking. The conversation was around race and privilege, … Continue reading #Hashtags and Relationships

Exploring Third Culture Kid Bigotry – A Repost

"It's one thing to criticize a culture. It’s another to see that the culture being criticized is formed partly in response to other cultures, and that those cultures are, in turn, worth criticizing. This is why explaining human behavior is so difficult: the buck never stops. The explanations don’t come to an obvious, final resting … Continue reading Exploring Third Culture Kid Bigotry – A Repost

Good Stories Behind Bad Headlines

The headlines chase us down, taunting us with their urgency, telling us to how to respond. They never stop. We may sleep, but the headlines don't.  And they don't want us to - not really. The person who is first to share or tweet a story gets the prize. Behind the bad headlines are some … Continue reading Good Stories Behind Bad Headlines

A Little Humour–A Big Diffuser*

*Reader be warned: This post includes inadvertently inappropriate language.  Reader’s Digest marketed the old expression, “Laughter is the best medicine”. We used to have a stack of old Reader’s Digests in our house in Pakistan. I remember flipping first to the Laughter is the Best Medicine page. We’d read them out loud to each other … Continue reading A Little Humour–A Big Diffuser*

How to Build a Bridge

In an old book titled Observations on the Re-building of London Bridge by John Seaward, he says this: It is generally acknowledged that the construction of a commodious bridge over a wide, impetuous river is one of the noblest efforts of human genius. In no country that has made any advances in civilization has the … Continue reading How to Build a Bridge

The Power of Words

I am grateful to my friend, Parry, for these beautiful and wise words of poetry. Parry is a Muslim woman who lives in Kuwait.  Of all weapons, the most lethal a potent poison, extremely fatal more dangerous than guns or swords Such is the power held by words. Words can blind and they can deceive, entangle … Continue reading The Power of Words

The Heart Demands Conversation

"The heart does not want coffee or cafe, The heart demands conversation with friends, Coffee is the excuse in this case"* I smiled as I read this quote. It comes from a sign in a coffee shop in Antalya, Turkey and I intend to track it down at some point. The heart may not want … Continue reading The Heart Demands Conversation

Cultural Competency – Tools for the Trade

If you have not read the previous posts on Cultural Competency, you are welcome to take a look! Today is the last in my 3-part series on Cultural Competency. Forget Diversity! It's Cultural Competency that we Need Cultural Competency - How does it Help ************ "It's easy! All it takes is caring!"  "All you have to do … Continue reading Cultural Competency – Tools for the Trade

Cultural Competency – How Does it Help?

Four years ago, the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) conducted a raid on a mosque in Miami, Florida. What could have been a disastrous, public relations nightmare for both the Muslim community and the FBI was carried out so well and so carefully that most of us had no idea the raid took place. I wrote … Continue reading Cultural Competency – How Does it Help?