Archives for January 2011

That helpless feeling…

A few weeks ago my friend, Candice, and I both put our 20-something daughters on airplanes and said "good-bye" for the next few months. Our girls were heading off to great adventures---mine  to study French Literature in Nantes, and ... Read More

Making “small talk” in the American workplace

How do you start a casual, social conversation with an American co-worker? What kinds of topics are OK/not OK to talk about? How should I answer when someone asks "how was your weekend?" I've been hearing these questions often lately, in ... Read More

A little taste of home

I smiled when I saw this photo of the bookshelf in our daughter's new room, in the home of her host family in France. A couple books, a hat and her Frisbee, but especially the plastic jar of roasted almonds from Fred Meyer. What a funny thing to ... Read More

“Never sit on the desk,” and other advice about teaching in France

Our daughter leaves for France tomorrow, to study for a semester at the University in Nantes. As she packs and repacks her bags, and shops for the final little things she needs to take with her, I find myself thinking back ten years to my first ... Read More

Simple things that feel like home

How do you create a sense of belonging, when you live in a place that doesn't feel like home?  Whether you're studying or working in a different country, or simply moving to a new city or job far away from familiar people and places, ... Read More

12 Grapes at Midnight on New Years Eve

There's a tradition in Spain of eating 12 grapes just before midnight on December 31st, for good luck in the New Year. We were invited to share in this tradition yesterday, with Spanish friends who recently moved with their family to Oregon for a ... Read More