Defying the Definition of Beauty

I see her when I go to get coffee on a rainy afternoon. In a busy, city coffee shop, you see a lot of things. Black suited business people, musicians, law students, homeless, and tourists are just a few of those who walk in during the day. She is right in front of me with someone who […]

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She Lived a Large Life

The best thing I did all week was attend the funeral of Chong Wright. Chong and her husband, Wilbur, attended our church. Wilbur, a once tall soldier in the US army is now slightly stooped, his shoulders humbly sloping toward the earth. His Korean bride of fifty-one years, Chong, was tiny. Her legs were slightly […]

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On Prayer and a Pakistani Childhood

   Before my family moved to Pakistan, prayer was relegated to the Sunday morning church service, the evening service and Wednesday night prayer meeting at McLauren Baptist Church. Our family had “family devotions–a daily time for short Bible readings and prayers–and we prayed before each meal. However my perspective on prayer was largely first formed […]

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Forget Diversity! It’s Cultural Competency that We Need.

I live in a diverse neighborhood in a diverse area. Every day I ride the subway with people of many different backgrounds and ethnicities. I go to work and sit next to a man from Malawi and have friendships and work with women from Haiti, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Senegal, Portugal, Cameroon, and Roxbury – and that’s […]

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On Culture and Crayons

I have just returned from the Families in Global Transition conference held in Washington DC this past weekend. It will take some time to process all of the talks, quotes, and challenges that were given formally at the conference, and even longer to process the individual conversations. They were rich and meaningful at every level. […]

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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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What’s Wrong With Halloween?

Maybe it’s that I’m sick of the sexy nurse costumes, completely demeaning my profession.  Maybe it’s that I think making a “sexy Olaf” costume, sexualizing a little snowman from the movie Frozen is despicable. Or perhaps it’s that Halloween is a six billion dollar, yes – six billion dollar – industry.  But what really pushed […]

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In Defense of Married Love

We wondered if we should post this piece today after yesterday’s excellent essay from the perspective of a single woman. But this piece is a tribute to commitment in an age where it is often mocked. So yesterday was to celebrate being single and today we will defend marriage. In Defense of Married Love by […]

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Culture – Weekly Photo Challenge

Google the word ‘culture’ and over 8 million results will pop up. As Communicating Across Boundaries readers you know well the concept and the meaning of ‘culture’. As Edward Hall says “Culture is man’s medium”. It’s the way we make decisions, do government, create infrastructure, educational systems, court and marry, raise children. It encompasses all […]

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Designer Babies

The waiting room has just two couples in it. They are slightly nervous, self-conscious, avoiding eye contact with each other. The room is dimly lit and resembles a sterile, designer living room. Magazines are in carved racks on one wall as well as stacked perfectly, fan style in threes, on a glass-topped side table. A […]

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Fifty Shades of Barbie

Warning – Reader should note that this is not erotica fiction. I’m joining the throngs of those who are capitalizing on the year’s fifty shades theme. At a recent visit to Target my daughters and I happened on the Barbie aisle. Oh.My.Word. When did Barbie become an untamed monster? While some may think she was […]

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For the Love of Libraries

 ************************* It was my sister-in-law who taught me to love libraries. I can see her to this day, curled on the cushions in the children’s section of the Cairo American College Library. She had a toddler on her lap and a pre-schooler beside her and she was reading Miss Rumphius. I was glued to the […]

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Re-post – Earnestly Looking For Something I Don’t Need – Black Friday Comes Again

It comes around like turkey and pumpkin pie. It’s as consistent as Thanksgiving itself. It begins promoting itself weeks before it actually happens. “It” is Black Friday. And while this is a re-post from last year I mean every word of it. For those of you who are not American– materialism is multicultural, we’ve just perfected and […]

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The Many Uses of Olive Oil

There were 6 of us in a small examining room designed for two people — the doctor and the patient. In this case there were two women from the Sudan, two nurses, one patient navigator, one interpreter, and one baby. It was crowded. To say I was invited  to come to this community health center […]

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“Cultural Hope”

The painting was two feet wide and at least three and a half feet long. It hung on a wall in an art gallery, dominant despite sharing the space with several other paintings. While there were others that had caught my eye, this one in particular was striking. It was a picture of an art […]

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On Translation and Translators

Readers of Communicating Across Boundaries know about communicating across cultural boundaries. They know what it’s like when it goes well….and they know what it’s like when it goes not so well. So today is Saturday and time for a light-hearted look at cross cultural communication gone wrong. Very.Wrong. Enjoy this clip from a show in […]

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Bowing to a False Image

It took me only a short time between moving from Massachusetts to Phoenix to become hostile to my body. The admittedly matronly look that I had worn well in Massachusetts came as a badge of honor.  With full-time work, five kids and definitely no gym membership, I was satisfied. I was still sort of cute, had […]

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When Kids Kill Kids

When our daughter Annie was two years old she saw television for the first time. We were in Islamabad, Pakistan and she was invited to a birthday party of some older children. My husband took her while I stayed home with our brand new baby boy. When they came home he relayed to me her […]

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