Of Flags and Feet: Patriotism and Respect around the World

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Earlier this month, Amazon and the nation of India had a small debacle. The first offense on Amazon’s part was to sell doormats emblazoned with the Indian flag. This product was met with much consternation and anger in India. Shortly after, Amazon found themselves in hot water again, this time with a third party vendor selling Gandhi flip-flops on their site.

One thing frustrated me about these news stories: none of the western outlets reporting this story gave any reason for the outrage of the Indian people.… Continue Reading

Books We Read in 2016

Okay, here goes! Not an exhaustive list of our reading for 2016, but a summary of our favorites. Hope you get a chance to pick up a couple of these!

We’ll start light, with three different graphic novel recommendations…

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The Complete Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi)

Persepolis is a coming of age story written by a woman who grew up in Tehran during the time of the Islamic Revolution. A fascinating window into young adult life in what was an incredibly tenuous time for the people of Iran.… Continue Reading

Language Learning: Practical ideas, and some reflections

…In which I use a great deal of English to elaborate on learning a little bit of Burmese (Or Myanmar language, if you will. Since the language I am learning is the native tongue of the Burma people group, I will refer to it as Burmese for the remainder of this post. For more on the distinction between Myanmar and Burma, check out this link.)

Language learning is a great way to become childlike.

“Am I ever going to be able to communicate with anyone?” That is probably the question Jim heard most from me last year (followed by, “How is it that you say ‘yesterday’, again?”).… Continue Reading

This Winter in Southeast Asia: Our Sweet December

A journal of our wintertime

This has been my first tropical winter overseas. While our North American counterparts were donning scarves and hats and trotting out to the Christmas tree farms with hatchets or sledding snowy hills, we have been absorbing an entirely different sort of winter season. Sweet December—this is what the Karen and Burmese Christians call this time of year. And they are right. December and January have been pleasant months filled with cool breezes, 85-degree days and a (slightly more distant) winter sun.… Continue Reading

2015 | A Few Favorite Reads & Podcasts

What a year it has been! The first half of the year offered lots of opportunities for reading, the second half, not so much. I am a slow reader—embarrassingly so. I discovered in moving here that having so few opportunities to speak English has helped me increase my reading speed, interestingly enough. Without further ado, here is a short list of some thoughtful books and podcasts Jim and I enjoyed this year.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.17.24 PMMisreading Scripture Through Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible

Richards/O’Brien

If you have never traveled outside of North America or been a part of a multicultural church community, I recommend this read.… Continue Reading

The Advent of Magdalena Lily

_B3A6959 photo credit: John Shaw

Last August, Jim and I went hiking in eastern Washington, on a route through a stunning area called the Enchantment Lakes. (It is breathtaking—just take a look here.) Due to the popularity of this particular hiking route, you had to either obtain an overnight pass to hike the Enchantments over a three-day period (which means applying for the pass over 12 months in advance), or go for the gusto and hike the entire route in one day.… Continue Reading

Six Months In: Reflections

Today marks six months of living in southeast Asia. It seems like time is passing at warp speed—how has it already been six months? I decided to sit down and write some of the things I’ve learned since moving here. Here, in no particular order of importance, are a few of them. (I generally dislike numbered lists, but it seemed the best way to organize my thoughts in this case.)

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1. Living abroad has increased my awareness of my own weakness.… Continue Reading

Some Things Weren’t Meant to Be Flat

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Dear little one,

Here in Yangon, they call you ka-lei-lei (“kalei” means child, and the extra “lei” means small, or baby). I ate so much watermelon when I first got here that the locals said you must be a boy. Someone saw me eating a whole avocado and asserted that you were going to be a white baby. (Shocking, considering your parentage, eh?) I’ve been told to stay inside night and day, to wear a thick shirt, to stay off my bike (much to the chagrin of the neighbors, I haven’t taken that advice), to avoid anything hot, cold, spicy, or salty.… Continue Reading

He Gives Rest

 

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This city is an exhausting place. I say this with no ill will. I am fond of Yangon and would miss it if we had to relocate. I enjoy the diversity of faces, the confounding (yet amusing) tetris grid that is the traffic system, the sounds and smells of food hawkers, the old buses, and the children reciting their lessons in nearby classrooms. Living here may well have ruined me for the excessive, almost funereal quiet of suburban North America.… Continue Reading

Be Interruptible

Life in Myanmar is bursting with all sorts of disruptions. There is no such thing as a “quick run” to the grocery store. Some stoplights will keep you waiting for 20-30 minutes. Long distance buses post signs that say, “Please do not ask when this bus will arrive.” The men you hired to install an appliance don’t show up till it’s 6 p.m.—right in the middle of a dinner event you’d planned. The water stops running on a 100-degree evening, with eight thirsty and sweaty bodies in the house.… Continue Reading