A Life Overseas – ‘Tis the Season of Incongruity

Deck the halls with calls for charity! Fa-la-la-la-laaa, la-la-la-la! ‘Tis the season of incongruity! Fa-la-la-la-laaa, la-la-la-la! #CottageChristmas or starving children? Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la! My heart is caught and I cannot win this thing! Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-laa. I don’t know about you, but I can’t do this. The sense of incongruity is overwhelming me this Christmas. I go from essays … Continue reading A Life Overseas – ‘Tis the Season of Incongruity

Some Ramblings on Life, Loss of Ideals, and Culture Stripping

I arrive back to Rania in the rain. The mountains along the road from Erbil to Rania have changed from dusty brown to lush green. They are beautiful. Rivers are rushing with muddy water, an indication that it has rained for some days, and the sun is seemingly lost behind clouds. It's hard to believe … Continue reading Some Ramblings on Life, Loss of Ideals, and Culture Stripping

A Slice of Life – Kurdistan

"Write more about Kurdistan! I want to hear more about your life!" This text came from my younger daughter recently. I realize I haven't written much about my new normal. Perhaps it's because my new normal sometimes seems so far beyond what I ever imagined that I can't find words. Other times it feels so … Continue reading A Slice of Life – Kurdistan

“Why?” – On One ‘Why’ Question a Day

"Really?" I raised my eyebrows as I looked at my husband. “You’re going to waste your one ‘why’ question on this?” “Doesn’t count!” he said emphatically! “Does too!” I replied. “Does not!” We stood there like two children in the middle of the dusty road in back of our apartment, the afternoon shadows of the … Continue reading “Why?” – On One ‘Why’ Question a Day

Physical Well-being and Cross-Cultural Adjustment

I was sick yesterday. Not laid flat in bed with a high fever sick, but a low grade fever, aches, and general feelings of misery. I was scheduled to visit the maternal child hospital with the Maternal Child Health Professor- Mamusta Renas. I had been looking forward to this visit, and I was not going … Continue reading Physical Well-being and Cross-Cultural Adjustment

Speak Out Loud

Keep in mind to speak out loud the works of God! As you transition with your soul mate it will be good to hear your voices remembering what God has done...* One month ago we left the United States with 8 suitcases, two carry on bags, and two hearts that were open to whatever awaited … Continue reading Speak Out Loud

Beauty in the Ordinary

The light was just going over the mountains and shades of purple, blue, rose, and orange all melded together into an ordinary sunset. Miraculously ordinary. I wanted to capture it, even though I know that there will be another one tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after. Beautiful sunsets are a part of … Continue reading Beauty in the Ordinary

On Picnics in Kurdistan

Yesterday was Friday - the day of worship, rest, and picnics in Kurdistan. Yes - picnics. About a 10 minute drive from our apartment is beautiful Lake Dukan and an area called Darband. Come Friday and Saturday, Darband is full of people from all over the area enjoying the cool breezes and beauty of Lake … Continue reading On Picnics in Kurdistan

On Waiting…

We are sitting in a government office in Suleimaniyah (commonly called Suli) and we are waiting. We left Rania at seven in the morning. The sun had already welcomed the day and a beautiful breeze accompanied us on our walk to the university. The road between Rania and Suli begins as a one lane, heavily … Continue reading On Waiting…

Rania – Reflections on Place, Work, and Travel

I walk up the three flights of stairs to our apartment and unlock the door. I step inside and breathe a sigh of gratitude. No matter where you live, you need a home base. This is why the displacement and refugee crisis of our time is so important to care about. We are created for … Continue reading Rania – Reflections on Place, Work, and Travel

Peeling Pomegranates in Rania

I wake to a sun-filled room in Kurdistan. It is Friday and we have slept late, still catching up from hours of lost sleep in the last couple weeks of packing and moving. Friday begins our weekend in this part of the world, and the mosque behind our apartment reminds us that it is a … Continue reading Peeling Pomegranates in Rania

Enlarging our hearts in Ranya ڕانیه

It's difficult to believe that we have only been in Kurdistan for 48 hours. Our flight from Qatar was uneventful. We connected with another new faculty member just before boarding the plane. The fact that she spotted us so easily was a reminder that we are westerners and everything from the way we talk to … Continue reading Enlarging our hearts in Ranya ڕانیه

Next Stop Kurdistan

We head to the airport in Doha Qatar early in the morning. Already the air is heavy with heat. Humidity is high and my husband’s glasses fog up as soon as he steps outside. The majority of Qatar is not Qataris but those in Qatar for work or travel. It feels like a fascinating and … Continue reading Next Stop Kurdistan

About Iraq….

"Now, about Iraq...." We wish we had money for every time someone has asked about our future plans with that sentence! There are a number of questions we've been asked and a number that we have overheard, so to simplify things here is a list of frequently asked questions. You're moving where? We are moving … Continue reading About Iraq….

So, You Want to go Back ‘Home’?

There come's a time in the lives of most adult third culture kids, many expats, as well as immigrants and refugees when they want to go 'home.' Sometimes it's after a short time of living away; other times it's after years, but always it comes with a sense of great anticipation coupled with a strong … Continue reading So, You Want to go Back ‘Home’?

An East-West Conversation

"So - your parents chose your husband for you."  The women speaking to me was not posing a question; she was making a statement. I took a breath, not sure of how to respond. No, my parents did not choose my husband. Cliff and I met in Chicago and realized after a short time that … Continue reading An East-West Conversation

No Better Place Than This…

"Third culture kids, immigrants, refugees, foreigners." "We find each other in unlikely spaces. In the shared experience of other, we find belonging and rest, whether in a short ride to an airport or a long-distance phone conversation. These moments of connection seem to come at the right time, sustaining us until the next encounter, preventing us from … Continue reading No Better Place Than This…

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