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Tag: cross-culture life

Seasonal Disorientation

Seasonal Disorientation

In the northeastern United States where I grew up, the holidays of the church moved with the rhythm of the seasons. In November, the days grew shorter as our part of the earth tilted away from the sun, and Daylight Saving Time kicked in. Most of the trees shed their last remaining leaves, creating a stripped landscape. The temperatures dipped, bringing frost and snow. As darkness and death descended, in December the light of Advent slowly pushed against it, growing…

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Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Last week a neighbor popped over to give my children the toys she had earned through her grocery store purchases.  That gesture, entirely mundane and unremarkable in my home context, has filled me with pleasure every time I’ve thought about it since.  Our home in the U.S. was a small town, tight-knit and friendly. Many residents, including us, worked for or had graduated from the local college. Within a short time of moving in, I knew all my neighbors in…

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When it’s not my story

When it’s not my story

I have a prayer letter to write. It’s been on my to-do list for the past three weeks now — each Saturday, I write it again in my planner for the following week. Our family has been very busy lately, with more church activities than usual and visiting family members (cue cheers and tears of joy!). While sometimes I sit down to write a prayer letter and struggle to fill it, right now our lives feel full enough to provide…

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“I’m American”

“I’m American”

Less than 100 metres from our home lies the most diverse suburb in Australia, boasting representatives from 112 of the world’s 196 countries. While a dominant Australian culture structures public life, social etiquette and expectations, different cultures regularly interact in my neighborhood, at the shops, at work and at church. With each interaction, expectations can shift, even if slightly, and I need to regain my bearings as to what is normal.  For most of my life, my culture — American,…

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A More Complicated Story

A More Complicated Story

A few months ago, while we were back in the States for the holidays, a dear friend asked me how I thought I had changed since moving to Australia. We have been gone almost two years, time enough for change to take place. While I immediately felt gratitude for her thoughtful question, I didn’t have a good answer. How, indeed? Continue reading at Velvet Ashes. 

[Not] Changing the World

[Not] Changing the World

It’s not a classroom I’m used to. I’m seated at a long table, chairs gathered around. No orderly desks lined up facing a whiteboard. Instead, we’re set up in the middle of a community space. Toys litter the room, a kitchen opens onto our space, glass walls reveal the gymnasium next door. I’m usually strict about the noise level in my classrooms: it’s hard to concentrate when others are talking, when chatter and movement rise to a din. But here,…

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Stewards & Wanderers

Stewards & Wanderers

Modern-day prophet Wendell Berry is clear: we must stay and we must love the places where we stay. No sentimentality, no cynicism, only a fierce commitment to loving a place through and through to its flourishing. Berry’s vision is so beautiful, so passionate, that I am easily swept up in it. My heart pounds and my ears ring when I read of the devastation of so many places, of our carelessness and inattention that has destroyed them. I cannot let…

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