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

Dining out with Yangon Food Tours

I recently had the opportunity to tag along with Yangon Food Tours for a dinner tour. It was a great experience, and I wanted to share some of it here on the blog for those of you who are curious about Burmese cuisine, and for anyone who might be interested in taking a food tour while visiting Myanmar. It was a great experience, and, as someone who lives locally, the dinner tour is totally worthwhile in terms of getting a good sampling of Myanmar foods.… Continue Reading

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

Relating to Home: Perspectives from Abroad (pt. 1)

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I don’t know anyone working overseas who does not at times feel terribly caught between worlds. This tension is constant for most of us, and it is often heightened by our experiences in returning home, or our attempts to share our life with those in our passport countries. There is typically little or no opportunity for us to have conversations about some facets of this tension, but there is a need for such conversations to take place. We wanted to create an opportunity for others to share anonymously about their joys and challenges in engaging with people and life back in their passport country.… Continue Reading

Myanmar Cultural Tidbits: A Few Folkways

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I want to share a fun list of some cultural attributes of Myanmar. These things have become comfortable and enjoyable for us, but in returning for a visit to the U.S., I see again how these cultural folkways might seem surprising or amusing to some westerners. (What’s a folkway, you ask? Good question. Folkways are the customs and conventions of daily life. Folkways indicate the cultural ideas about what is rude and what is polite. Cultural norms, by contrast, tend to indicate the culture’s perspective on morality, and what is right and wrong.)

[Disclaimer: the inescapable part of our cultural experiences in Myanmar is that they are heavily defined by the fact that we are foreigners.… Continue Reading

A Beach where Zebras Roam

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In our Pacific Northwest home, nature was as close as one’s backyard, or as far as a 20-minute drive to a well-wooded park. It didn’t take too much effort to get away from the sight of buildings or even other people, and was not difficult to find places where nature dwarfs humanity. In Yangon, there is no such luxurious way to get a change of pace. In the past year, I can only think of one 30-minute period of time where I could neither see nor hear other human beings.… Continue Reading

Photo Journal – Autumn 2015

This fall has been a little more hectic than we anticipated! In between all the trips to medical clinics and hospitals for Breanna’s health, we still have had a great fall, and we were able to document it (thanks in part to Jim’s dad)!

Weighing out tea at the big market near our home.

This is where you go when you want to buy LOTS of tea.

Everyone in Yangon is pretty excited about the elections. One of the rules is that parties are only allowed to campaign for the 60 days prior to the election (if only the US would adopt this idea!)

Everyone in Yangon is pretty excited about the elections. One of the rules is that parties are only allowed to campaign for the 60 days prior to the election.… Continue Reading