Christmas Eve Reflection from Thessaloniki

Every year I write a Christmas Eve Reflection. Usually it's in a fully decorated home with Christmas music playing in the background. It's written in the midst of the frenzied joy of Christmas in the West and I usually have presents to wrap and stockings to fill. This year I write it from the sunshine … Continue reading Christmas Eve Reflection from Thessaloniki

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

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….

That Magic Word – Home

My younger daughter was recently in Toronto at the wedding of a friend. On return she had some difficulty with her ticket and had to go early to the airport in order to clear it up. As she was talking to a woman in security, she said "I just want to get home." Responding with … Continue reading That Magic Word – Home

The View Becomes More Precious

Days are passing by quickly, and in every situation I am keenly aware that life as we know it is ending. The other day I sat on my porch in early morning. It has been hot and sticky, with little relief. The small air conditioner in our living room window combined with multiple fans on … Continue reading The View Becomes More Precious

Mountains of Transition

I'm on a balcony in South Carolina looking across at a lake and then mountains. There are mountains, and then more mountains, and beyond that, there are even more mountains. My view is stunning and soul-quieting; soul-quieting during a time where my soul deeply needs rest and my heart is beginning to feel the deep … Continue reading Mountains of Transition

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

I Hate Saying Goodbye

It’s a sunny day in Thessaloniki. The sky is indescribably blue and Mount Olympus is in full view, the snow capping its peak like marshmallow fluff. From far away snow is so pretty! I got up early, knowing that I didn’t want to be rushed, instead opting for a leisurely coffee and pastries. We came … Continue reading I Hate Saying Goodbye

Airports – Spaces Between Goodbye & Hello

I love airports. Whether they are small regional airports in the middle of Pakistan or large, metropolitan mega centers of the world - I love them. I find that airports are contemplative places. They provide a place of quiet watching in the middle of chaos; they allow me to stare out at nothing in particular … Continue reading Airports – Spaces Between Goodbye & Hello

Normalizing Departure

"...but we also knew what it was like to feel temporary, to keep your eye on the clock, to normalise the inevitability of departure so completely that you didn’t think about it, even though you always thought about it." It was six years ago when my mom told me that from age 6 through age … Continue reading Normalizing Departure

Masala Dhaba Memories

Sights, sounds, and smells can transport us to places we love in mere seconds.  I hear the Call to Prayer and suddenly I am in Pakistan, walking the dusty streets of Shikarpur. I smell curry and shut my eyes - I could swear I am at the Marhaba in Murree. But I'm not, I'm in … Continue reading Masala Dhaba Memories

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

A Brief Reflection on Airports and Life

I am bleary-eyed at the Orlando airport. There's a reason why the infamous "they" tell you to get to the airport early - long security lines extended far into the lounge area. We sighed as we inched our way through, a bright green electronic sign informing us that the process would take 35 to 45 … Continue reading A Brief Reflection on Airports and Life

Here’s to the Lonely Ones 

Here's to the lonely ones, sitting at airports on Sunday nights. Here's to the tired ones, weary of travel and goodbyes, idly eating granola bars and sipping coffee from styrofoam cups. Here's to the mom, traveling with kids, weary of meeting the needs of little ones who are out of their habitat. Here's to the … Continue reading Here’s to the Lonely Ones