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
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
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
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
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 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
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
…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?”… Continue Reading
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
I love to communicate. (Perhaps you’ve noted that, as I write here more frequently than Jim.) One of my weaknesses is that I am sometimes impatient to communicate. I like to be understood, and if I’ve been misunderstood, I yearn to make myself clear, as soon as possible. Part of that is just an old fashioned affinity for the facts, but the uglier side of it is my own impatience; wanting to make myself known and understood, regardless of whether the other person is ready.… Continue Reading