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

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

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

3 AM in the First Class Lounge

I have never been in a first class lounge before. This hits me as I sit in a chair at three o'clock in the morning at a first class lounge in the Qatar Airport, my head resting on on of those brilliant, semi-circled plane pillows. We are here because of an extra long layover after … Continue reading 3 AM in the First Class Lounge

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…

On East and West (and In Between!)

A few months ago I was invited to do an interview with Orthodox Christian Network. The interview was with Father Chris Metropulos, President of Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, Massachusetts. I was invited to respond to several questions about growing up in Pakistan, about living in both Pakistan and Egypt as an adult, but … Continue reading On East and West (and In Between!)

”I’m not from here…wherever ‘here’ is.”

I’m from the edges of the map the edges of the Pacific I’m from the edges of the room the outside looking in I’m from Southeast Asia unless you mean my nationality I’m from the U.S. unless you mean where my heart is I’m not from here wherever “here” is by Cindy Montgomery Wyneken A … Continue reading ”I’m not from here…wherever ‘here’ is.”

A Life Overseas – When You’re Sure God Loves Ann Voskamp More Than He Loves You…

”I’m pretty sure God loves Ann Voskamp more than he loves me.”  I wrote this to a friend recently. I don’t even know Ann Voskamp, but I was still convinced that when it came to actual love, I was in the dog house and Ann was in the castle on the hill. I mean, what’s … Continue reading A Life Overseas – When You’re Sure God Loves Ann Voskamp More Than He Loves You…

Culture Shock: When Your Soul Takes Longer to Arrive

First you arrive physically and you are very tired. But only after a while, your soul gets here, too. Because the plane is very fast, but the soul takes longer to arrive.* On Friday, my youngest son arrived home after two months of travel. He experienced hospitality, adventure, and food across Albania, Greece, Bulgaria, and … Continue reading Culture Shock: When Your Soul Takes Longer to Arrive

Living Effectively in the Here and Now (AKA I’m not in South Asia anymore so….)

June is the month of transition for overseas workers and their families. It’s the month where many make the decision to stay – or to leave.  Decisions to leave are not made lightly – I know this. They are made with butterfly filled stomachs, hurting hearts, and a lot of soul-searching tears. The decision to … Continue reading Living Effectively in the Here and Now (AKA I’m not in South Asia anymore so….)