Forever Camping (Or, Interdependence and the Belovedness of Community)

I have a distinct childhood memory of one summer spent camping somewhere in Oregon on our family vacation. My sister and I pedaled about on our little bikes, befriending new kids in adjacent campsites, hurtling throughout the campground in a pack of small bicycles with no regard to the one-way arrows posted by some septuagenarian campground manager. One of the pleasures of camping is the freedom to unabashedly observe the possessions and paraphernalia of the campers around you, you smell each other’s food (for better or for worse), and you hear each other’s late night music and conversations.… Continue Reading

Eden and My Girls

Elise is wide eyed at everything, from the start of each day. Her wide eyes search me out in the morning hours, and she is keen to touch my face as she greets me. In fact, she touches every face she can reach, no matter how unfamiliar the face. To her, every person is attractive, a potential friendship.

She zealously crawls about the house, hungry to see and touch everything within reach; when she finds an item of interest, she stops to taste it and forgets all else.… Continue Reading

Matters of Injustice

I want to share some thoughts on the matter of injustice, by way of a personal experience. But before I tell our story, I want to preface this by saying that it is a single story, and is by no means an indicator of the hospitality we usually receive as foreigners in this country. On the contrary, it is an exception in our case, and I want to make that clear.

Not long ago, a person we’d once thought of as an honest friend took advantage of us.… Continue Reading

Five Years’ Time

In February five years ago, I flew to Myanmar for the first time. I had never been to a developing country before. I had considered and sworn off the idea of cross cultural work back in college, my business studies leaving me certain that westerners overseas did more harm than good.

But I came to Myanmar, planning to see Yangon and Rakhine state, and experience the place my fiancé had called his home for the past seven years. It was to be a three-week visit, and for two of those three weeks, I wanted to be anywhere but Myanmar.… Continue Reading

Christmas is for the Oppressed and the Oppressor

The Christmas story is not really a very nice story. We have made it that way through years of re-telling, whimsical stories and songs, and whitewashed nativity scenes. But the nativity story is really dominated by themes of power, patriarchy, vulnerable people, injustice, genocide and poverty. If you were reading the Christmas story for the first time, the stage that is set is not one upon which you would expect to find God.

Before I moved overseas, my love for Christmas was love for the folksy story many westerners know and celebrate; my understanding of Christmas was incomplete.… Continue Reading

Elisabeth’s Arrival

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Elisabeth’s Birth Story

I only had time for one pre-natal appointment with my Chiang Mai OB before giving birth to Elise. At the appointment my doctor echoed the words of my Myanmar OB and mentioned that I was measuring small and that the baby seemed small. I wasn’t overly concerned, as they said the same thing about Lena, and she was 6.5 pounds at birth (She was born at 38.5 weeks). I was nearly 37 weeks at this appointment, so I expected that I had some time for the baby to pack on some more weight before birth.… Continue Reading

Lingering in Happiness

It has been rainy season here since late May/early June. The appearance of the rains is always a source of refreshment, as there has been no precipitation since November, and March-May tend to be difficult months, relentlessly sunny, in the 100s most days, and hardly any cooler in the evening. We sweat through several changes of clothes each day. The dust and the pollution increase and it gets really tough to go out with kids on public transportation. Toward the end of April I start haunting the long-term forecast websites for any sign of rain, and I tend to get a bit too hopeful if I catch a breath of a breeze or see a darker-than-usual cloud.… 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

Perspectives from Abroad (Part 3): On Sharing our Lives and Connecting with the Church

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Thanks for following along with this blog series! (Click here to read Part One and Part Two) Today’s post is the final installment of testimonies from people who serve cross-culturally, sharing their experiences relating to friends, family, and the church back in their passport countries.

One of the things that compelled me to start this series was hearing other missionaries share some of the expectations people/churches had for them in returning to the US, and hearing in their voices how those expectations can take a big personal toll.… Continue Reading

Perspectives from Abroad (Part 2): Perceptions, the West, and Global Identity

Welcome to part two of a three-part series on what it is like to relate with one’s passport country after living abroad. (Click here to read Part One) This series shares a dozen different perspectives from all over the world on some of the issues overseas workers face as they transition between their passport country and another culture. Part two focuses on the realities of life overseas, the global identity one gains while living abroad, and on how the West is perceived by the rest of the world.… Continue Reading