People Have Friends; Governments Have Interests

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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, […]

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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 […]

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

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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#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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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State of the Blog

Every year I look back on blogging and write about it. I look to see what your favorite pieces were, I remember what my favorite pieces were, and I think about whether Communicating Across Boundaries should continue. Is it just white noise in an ever growing amount of word clutter across this thing we call the […]

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Who Made You the Spoon to Stir the Sugar in my Tea?

Idioms are a mystery and a delight! And until you know at least a couple of them, some of the nuances of a language and culture elude you. Recently I learned an idiom from a Yezidi teenager, a Kurdish idiom that I love. The girl was standing outside, casually chewing gum. A teenage boy looked […]

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Cross-cultural Connection

Recently I went to an outreach center in a different part of the city, a few blocks from the subway and behind the mosque in Roxbury. This area is perhaps the most diverse area in Boston. Here people from all over the world find their homes in apartments and houses. Residents are from Somalia, The Sudan, Ethiopia, Iraq, […]

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The Value in a Good Vent

The Value in a Good Vent by Robynn There are times when I feel I might explode! I’m furious. I’m so mad I might just this once really lose it. I had one of those times a month or so ago. I was so angry I was spitting nails. Just as quickly as the storm […]

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