Home/Tag: published

Bring a Big Knife to School

*re-posting this on September 8, 2014, in celebration of the essay being named a Notable Essay by Best American Travel Writing, the story was originally published in July, 2013.

Today I am sending you to The Smart Set by Drexel University to read Bring a Big Knife to School Thursdays about when Maggie asked for a knife for Christmas, when I teased my way out of purchasing an ashtray made of a naked couple copulating, and one of the times when I felt like though I will always be foreign maybe I belong in Djibouti, maybe I’ve learned some things.


This is the street in the market on which the story takes place, a little further up. In fact, this is the very day. That’s me in the black dress.

Read the full essay here Bring a Big Knife to School Thursdays.

p.s. My apologies for using, in the views of some, rather crude language in the last few essays. You will find yet another penis in this essay. I guess I say it like I see it.

Fear of Flying, SheLoves

Last week this post was up at SheLoves and I forgot to tell you about it. You may have already seen it, but if not, I’ll give you a preview: I’m afraid of flying. I fly a lot. I’m learning to cope.

What do I do when I think the plane is going down? I look around to make sure none of the flight attendants are panicking and then I grab the armrests and whisper, “Jesus” until the terror passes.

Fear of Flying

“In the rattling chaos of exertion, I can’t hear Jesus.”

Fear of flying

Sometimes in my faith journey these moments arrive when all the working and the accelerating vanishes and the bottom drops out and I’m sure this whole thing is going down. But it is in precisely those moments, when I enter silence and begin to rest, that I become aware of nudges I wouldn’t have noticed with my foot on the accelerator…read more Fear of Flying at SheLoves.

Anyone else afraid to fly? What do you do?

Home Is in the Spaces, SheLoves

Today I am over at SheLoves writing about home and how my third culture kids experience home, finding it in the spaces between cultures.


Here’s an excerpt…

My twins have lived in Minnesota for two years, Somaliland for almost a year, Kenya and France for a few months each, Djibouti for eight years, Minnesota again for one year, and Kenya again for almost a year. That makes roughly twelve years and five countries.

I asked my daughter, Where was home? This is the dreaded, complicated, richly beautiful question Third Culture Kids wrestle with because, for a TCK, the answer might take five minutes. Or it might dredge up buried memories of lost places and people. Or they might draw a blank, not know how to answer.

Is home for my TCK where she was born or where she was potty trained or the place from which she fled with her family and a single suitcase? Is home where she found peace and safety for a few months, where she cared for a baby hamster, or where she had best friends and a bedroom and memories of skinned knees and Friday waffle-and-Star Wars traditions? Or was it where she licked snow for the first time and ate grandma’s cookies and spoke the same language at school as she spoke at home? Or is it where she lives now, at boarding school? Or where her parents and sister live, counting down the days until the school break?

Read more here…

Ice Cream and Poverty, A Life Overseas

I think poverty must have been on my mind lately. This is the third post in the last two weeks addressing issues of wealth and justice, and the third post that asks a question because I am so far from having all the answers. Today’s is at A Life Overseas. I had a hard time coming up with a photo for you on this post. You’ll have to click over to see what I finally settled on. Unless you want to see those Magnum Bars.


Here’s a taste, to wet your appetite…

My 7-year old went to Somali/Arab/Afar dance class Saturday afternoon. The guard outside informed us that there was no longer dance on Saturday afternoon, no matter that we had signed up, no matter that we had paid just last week.

Discouraged, we ran errands instead and ended up at a store which sells Magnum Bars. Be thankful drool doesn’t come through the internet. Mmmm….Magnum Bars….mmmm…My husband was a country away, my twins were at boarding school two countries away, dance class was canceled…We decided to buy two ice cream bars and eat them while taking a stroll through the neighborhood together.

I left the store with three little white plastic bags of items like canned corn and tomato paste and toilet paper. As I reached the car I heard my Somali name.

“Luula! Luula!”

I knew immediately which woman it was, or rather, which type of woman it was, as awful as that sounds. And my heart sank.

Read more here.

In the Image of a Beautiful God

“Beauty is not something attained or painted on or comparable to others. Beauty is not the presence of muscle tone or the absence of stretch marks. Beauty is not something bestowed on girls in youth group by older women who approve of their swimsuit choices. Beauty is not stolen by those women if they disapprove. Beauty is not even in the eye of the beholder.”


Read more of my essay “In the Image of a Beautiful God” today at SheLoves.

By |January 11th, 2013|Categories: Writing|Tags: , , |2 Comments
Go to Top