Glory Tea – Sunsets in Goa

She’s back from India! Robynn is back and with it Fridays with Robynn. Communicating Across Boundaries is not the same without her voice so I welcome her with virtual open arms. Her piece is a delight of words and pictures, bringing solace and beauty into my mid-January funk. Welcome back Robynn!


Glory Tea – Sunsets in Goa by Robynn

Goa sunsets 2

In the heart of December, when life here in North America is typically grey and cold and long and dark, we luxuriously spent five nights and four whole long days on the beaches of Goa, India. Four days we basked in Sun and Nothing. It was a soul’s bubble bath: rejuvenating and restful. Those four days gave us a chance to process our time in that great nation, to reminisce and tell stories of other times in India and to look forward and imagine when we might be back. We laughed a lot, we layed around a lot, we walked on the beach, swam in the sea. It was pure bliss!

Each night we returned to the sand to watch the sun set.  Slowly the sun would turn bold and golden and would begin to dip across the sky. She would tiptoe backwards toward the horizon, gathering her skirts in her hands, ever so slowly she would go. And we watched with bated breath, curious, expectant, even though we knew how the story would end. She would eventually curtsy and take her leave. It’s happened the same every day since the beginning of suns and seas.

The sea, in anticipation of the great farewell, would change her clothes as well. She would quietly don radiant ambers and glorious golds; molten and melting; shimmering and alive—a roseate sari with an exquisitely embroidered border of embossed brocade. Every evening seeing her so transformed was exhilarating and breath-taking.

And we watched…

We came to experience the holiness of it all, but so did everyone else! It was a community event. People who had been at work all day, came. Vacationers, holiday makers, the lazy and the idle came. Whole families came with their grandmas and grandpas, the babies, the toddlers, the gangly teenagers. Newly married couples came shyly, hands held quietly. The lame, the lonely, the isolated, the misunderstood, they too came. Groups of friends, laughing, teasing, pushing stopped to see. Brown people. White people. Skinny people. Round people. The young and the old. The smooth spread of sand welcomed everyone.

It was glorious.

As the ocean rolled out the red carpet for the sun’s final curtain call, many of the bystanders stepped out into it. It was as if it called to us. Deep to deep. We were all invited to be steeped in the glory of it all. The community some with their toes wet, and ankles splashed, the waves sprinkling up across their faces; others immersed and fully drenched watched and waited.

And it was holiness and it was glory. For me it was also a sweet reassurance that God is and that he invites us out into the mystery of life and faith. We are steeped in His Glory Tea.  We are dipped in the sweetness of His presence. Everyone watches but few really see. When you catch a glimpse….you’re speechless and out of breath. The sun set is proof that the sun rises daily with glory and joy and radiance and great spectacle.


I’m trying to remember that, now, today. Winter has locked Kansas in. The slush is the closest thing I have to sand. The snow is my sea. And it pulls me in and under and I feel myself drowning in the grey and cold of it. It’s not as easy for me to remember the warmth of His presence, nor the glory, nor the holiness when I feel tired, and cold and sad. I pour myself a cup of ginger tea. I dip the tea bag up and down, reverentially into the wet…and if I squint my eyes just a little I can call to mind the sun’s golden setting and feel the mist of the sea. And I sip my tea and a slow tear slides down my cheek.

There is glory here too…in tea and warm places. I will savour it and sip in His holiness.

Goa sunsets 1 Goa sunsets 3 Goa sunsets 4 Goa sunsets 5 Goa sunsets 6 Goa sunsets 7 Goa sunsets 8

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Through Stefanie’s Eyes – Cairo, 2011

Today I am excited and proud to share the work of my youngest daughter, Stefanie, with my Communicating Across  Boundaries world. Stefanie is an amazing photographer. She captures the world with her lens and I view her works of art, amazed. Enjoy Cairo through Stefanie’s eyes and thanks for taking a look. Have a blessed weekend!

Put Down That Map and Get Wonderfully Lost!

I think that perhaps this is my favorite new travel quote. I have no idea where it came from, but I love both the words and the meaning behind the words.

The quote says stop planning everything. Be willing to risk. It says you don’t have to have all the answers, you don’t have to be in control. Take off your shoes and walk in the grass, sit down on the couch and put your feet up, put down the map for a time.

True for travel, true for life.

I have often thought of my life as this map, predetermined at every turn; if I don’t stay on course, all sorts of terrible things will follow me. And so when things don’t go according to this imaginary map I think I’m doing something wrong – I think “Where did I go off course? Where did I lose my way?” There are times when this is helpful and self-analysis shows me areas that I can change or routes that I can take to get on course. But other times, it’s not about the map. It’s about life. It’s about being willing to let go and give up control to the Map Maker. It’s those times when I need to put down that map and get wonderfully lost.

So today at the start of a holiday weekend, put down that map and get wonderfully lost!

Blogger’s note: I’m heading south so stay tuned for a post next week called “Boiled Peanuts and Bless Her Heart – Memorial Day Weekend in the South!” I won’t be able to respond to comments right away but be sure that I will read and respond when I get back. Have a great weekend and thank you for reading this blog – it is a gift to me!

Leaving for London

London collage.And I said, what a pity, To have just a week to spend,When London is a city,Whose beauties never end!

This line of a poem sent by my daughter Stefanie sums up some of our feelings as my 15-year-old son and I travel to London today. We arrive early morning in the United Kingdom and will be joined by Stefanie arriving from Milan and Cliff, my husband, arriving from Edinburgh in late evening.Stef and Jonathan will be introduced to London with all its history and charm as this is their first visit.

As we prepare I realize once again how vast the world is and the magic of travel. Along with the magic of moving between worlds and cultures will be a sweet reunion with Stefanie. Stefanie is 19 and has been on a gap year between graduating from high school and entering college. Her experiences have taken her from Milan to Istanbul and London will be our reconnection between coming back to life in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Reunions for the third culture kid are many and often. Hellos are frequent, goodbyes more so. Trying to work through the complexity of being willing to get to know someone only to let them go is a challenge in this context. The tendency at points is feeling it’s not worth while, that the goodbyes are too painful and bring about unresolved grief and loss. Dave Pollock who worked extensively with third culture kids until his death says this:

“one of the major areas in working with TCKs is that of…dealing with the issue of unresolved grief. They are always leaving or being left. Relationships are short-lived.At the end of each school year, a certain number of the student body leaves, not just for the summer, but for good.It has to be up to the parent to provide a framework of support and careful understanding as the child learns to deal with this repetitive grief. Most TCKs go through more grief experiences by the time they are 20 than monocultural individuals do in a lifetime.”

It’s also self-perpetuating – just as we said a lot of goodbyes and faced continuous loss as kids, we bring up our children with a love of travel and the world so we continue to face these partings, only now it’s with our most precious commodity – our kids.

But then we go through that glorious feeling of reunion where your hugs are so tight that you can hardly breathe and you can’t talk fast enough to get all the missing thoughts and words of the last months and years out of your heart and head and into the heart and head of the other person. And you know in that instant that no matter how much it hurts to say goodbye, it makes the reuniting all the sweeter. That as much as you think you want that other persons life – the one who has lived in the same house for 30 years and has all of their family within a 5 mile radius – it will never be so for you and your family and that’s quite alright!