For the past five weeks I wrote about what I have learned from Islam, only scratching the surface. Learning from things outside our idea of ‘normal’ is healthy, challenging, and world-view changing. Trillia Newbell wrote about it at Relevant in 5 Reasons to make friends who are different than you, an article that was all over my Facebook and Twitter feeds recently.

If I were to write about all the things I’ve learned by living in Djibouti, by being the white face in a sea of black, by speaking three different languages, learning new recipes, being physically closer to more Muslim friends than Christian friends, relating with people in vastly different economic levels than myself (both up and down), I would have to write a book, or at least a blog, trying to understand and capture it all. Oh wait…

This is perhaps one of the hardest and best things about being an expatriate in a country that is so absolutely, fundamentally, radically different from my own. I struggle sometimes and wish I could disappear into a sea of sameness. Other times I delight in the diversity and the ways I am being transformed.


In Being Wrong, Katherine Schulz writes,

“We must query and speak and investigate and open our eyes. Specifically, and crucially, we must learn to actively combat our inductive biases; to deliberately seek out evidence that challenges our beliefs, and to take seriously such evidence when we come across it.”

How about you? Have you spent a significant amount of time seeking out evidence that challenges your beliefs? Hang out much with people not like yourself? How did this change you? What did you find yourself thinking, feeling, doing in the early stages, middle stages, later stages?

Are you immersed in a community where everyone is pretty darn near similar? Do you love it? Hate it? Want to break out? Find yourself relaxed and able to breathe?

What kind of diversity do you find yourself immersed in or longing for or feeling uncomfortable about? It could be religion or gender or color or economic level or political or nationality or location or education level or ability level…we are endlessly diverse as a species.

I would love to read and share your stories of what you have learned, how you have struggled, how you have progressed, failed or succeeded, are smack in the middle. Or maybe you disagree, maybe you think there isn’t much to learned from people who aren’t like us.

In the coming weeks, I plan on hosting a series for one day or for a few months, for as long as you would like to contribute essays, about diversity.

The series will be called: What I Learned but don’t feel limited by this phrase, let it be a simple guide.

To contribute, leave a comment or email me:

You can let me know you are interested or simply send an essay directly. Include a short bio and links to your blog/twitter/facebook/whatever, and a photo if you have a specific one to accompany your essay.

*image via pixabay