Green Mangoes and Grace {Book Club}

Hello friends, we interrupt Book Club to remind you that Connection Group Registration will open tomorrow, Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.. Check out the groups here and find several that interest you in case your first choice is closed.  (Not “now” as Amy was totally jet lagging and got confused on days. She is VERY sorry for the confusion :)).

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Entering a new culture requires a learning and humble heart, eagerness, and the utmost care to leave judgment aside and allow curiosity to grow. In some ways, I feel like I need the same attitude coming in to this section of Monique and the Mango Rains as we continue our discussion this week. It is not easy to be confronted with inequality, illness, and death that could be prevented, and cultural customs in need of transformation, whether in our new homes across oceans or as we read our book club pick this month.

In chapters five and six we are introduced to Pascal, a close friend of Monique. Their marriages to other people were arranged years before they would have been able to make the choice to marry each other, but that choice was not an option. This cultural practice rubs my independent streak the wrong way, although as I’ve entered my thirties I’ve wondered if having a little help in the marrying department might not hurt. As I read about Monique and Pascal’s experience, I paused to think about how many things we do because it’s the way things have always been done. I don’t question my ability to choose a spouse or go on a date if I want to because that’s the way it has been done for generations. We value independence and free thinking in America.

Value clashes can be one of the painful and stretching experiences of cross-cultural living, wrestling with which of those values are personal and which ones are part of what we bring from our home and family cultures. I thought about the author Kris Holloway’s visit to the dùgùtigi, the village chief, to advocate for Monique to be able to receive her wages rather than seeing the money all go to her father-in-law while she only was given a small amount or none at all. The village chief could not help her, could not make those changes himself and talking to the village accountant who released the funds “would do nothing”.

In instances like this, what is our role as the foreigner? Do we rush in for justice, go along with the way things have always been done, slow down to learn more? How have you wrestled through issues like this in your setting?

On a lighter note, do you like green mangoes, or do you prefer the sweeter yellow mangoes? In Cambodia, a popular snack is crunchy green mangoes dipped in spicy chilies. I’m usually issued a warning not to eat too many because they won’t settle well with my “foreign stomach”, but I do enjoy a few. There’s nothing quite like the sweet mangoes with juice running down your chin though. I’m sure mangoes are different around the world, and maybe the methods for removal are as well! Have you used Monique’s trick for getting mangoes down from the high spots?

I would love to have you chime in to the discussion with your thoughts on Monique and the Mango Rains! See you in the comments!

Here’s the plan for the rest of the month:

September 18: Chapters 6-8

September 25th: Chapters 9-11 and Postscript

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Did you miss out on a chance to win our giveaway book last week? No worries! You get ANOTHER chance this week! Abbie Smith has written Stretchmarks I Wasn’t Expecting: A Memoir on Early Marriage and Motherhood. Last week she shared a wonderful summary of the book, which you can go back and check out here.

Abbie is popping back in this week to share a little bit more of her story with us.

Sarah: Abbie, you share honestly in your book about some of your struggles with depression and eating disorders. What hope would you like to offer to others who might be on a similar journey? 

Abbie: What a meaningful question. In my darkest hours of depression and food/body disorders, sensing that I was not alone, and that, in fact, someone had walked similarly windy trenches before me, and found a way out, was a huge dose of hope. It would be of utmost privilege to offer such empathy to another. The pages won’t fix you, but I do pray they lend many invitations to a life more free.

Connect with Abbie on Instagram, Facebook or her website!

Here’s how you win: add your comment to this post with your thoughts on Monique and the Mango Rains, a question for Abbie or the community, or your own birth story by Sunday, September 16th. We’ll choose one winner this week to receive either an electronic copy or physical copy of Abbie’s book (your choice)!

*When you purchase Stretchmarks, 50% of proceeds go to “We Welcome Refugees”. 

Photo by Ian Macharia on Unsplash

33 Comments

  1. Heather September 10, 2018

    We work on tribal reservations. The traditions are sometimes violent, and against the law. This would be an entirely different category from just cultural norms. This is a great reminder, however… Slow down. Learn more…. My foolish justice driven heart wants to charge in and save the day…..

    1. Sarah Hilkemann September 11, 2018

      Heather, you are definitely not alone in wanting to charge ahead and change things! I can’t imagine the things that you have seen and had to deal with, and you are right, the terrible things are different from cultural norms. There are so many issues that need the Father’s transformation. What is our role in that transformation? I think we need to ask and keep asking. There are so many that God raises up and equips to stand up for injustice. Praying that you are able to process what you have seen and that the Father’s transformation does come to the tribal reservations where you are working.

      1. Lindsey September 12, 2018

        Heather and Sarah, I am the same way, a fighter. I like to charge in sword drawn when I see injustice. Especially with issues of woman and vulernable children. A month or so ago, a baby girl, a month old came into the clinic with a botched female circumcision. i was furious. Also, I see many men here shirking their responsibilities to care for their families and the women doing the majority of the work. Since I have been here, my househelper’s husband has left her with 4 children. I thought, what should be my response to these things!? I am learning that it is okay to mourn injustice, and really, to expect it because sin is rampant and Satan is allowed still to prowl around on this earth wreaking havoc. Another thing I am learning is to see and know on the deepest level I can the mercy and grace Christ has extended to me, I am sure given the right circumstances and a feeling a desperateness (is that a word?) I am capable of all kinds of injustice. The final thing I have to hold tight to is God is in the business of redeeming broken things, so I want to constantly be asking, how might He use us to be ambassadors of reconciliation, to shine light into the darkness? But what i really don’t want is for bitterness to grow up in me when I see these things, that sometimes, I really can’t do anything about… I want to really love the people here in my country, even when I see the complete messes they are…

    2. Abbie Smith September 11, 2018

      What a fascinating role God has called you into, Heather! Thanks for sharing, and for posting that oh-so-cute pic :).

  2. Suzanne September 11, 2018

    What is our role as foreigners in such apparent injustice etc? Good question. Sometimes it’s not just ‘apparent’ injustice – it really is plain wrong – but there is precious little we can do about it and trying to ‘fix it’ only makes things worse.

    Far and away the biggest thing for me, on two occasions in China, was watching friends terminate unplanned pregnancies because they already had a child and the law forbade them to have a second. One lady wasn’t a Christian. She commented that it was worse for me than for her because of my belief that the foetus was a life. The second lady WAS a Christian … but she saw her action as preventing life rather than taking life. I wanted the church to take a stand against it, but they couldn’t … or wouldn’t … because as a foreigner I only attended registered churches which respected the law.

    I never did make peace with this but was helpless to do anything about it. Thankfully, the one-child policy is no more (though there is a limit of two still).

    I’m really enjoying the book.

    1. Sarah Hilkemann September 11, 2018

      Suzanne, I’m glad you are reading along in this book! My heart aches as you share these stories- because what do we do? Try and share as we can, encourage the local people who might have more say in the decisions and laws? Walk with the people and keep showing love? Obviously I don’t have the answers and I don’t think we can solve it all today, but I do want to allow this to be a place to share these things, and sit with each other in understanding.

    2. Abbie Smith September 11, 2018

      Oh Suzanne, so heart-wrenching. I only lived in Cheng-du for a four-month stint, but remember running into threads of these painful realities. Thankful for your tender and persevering heart and pausing to pray for you this afternoon – may the Lord lend a keen sense of his discernment and trust to you this day.

  3. Lindsey September 11, 2018

    Hi beautiful women. This book stirs up so much inside of me… I live in Africa and I am a nurse and my husband is a nurse practitioner, and my background is in maternal child health, particularly in education. It stirs up old memories and passion, of what life could be like one day for us. Right now we are trying to learn the language and keep our three littles alive, 6,4, and 1.5 years old. We live in the city right now, but I am wondering in a year or so, if God might be calling us out to a more real setting… in this situation, it seems like most of my time will be spent homeschooling and cooking, and cleaning. The realities of having ‘a family here on the field hit me afresh almost daily, and I am amazed at women like Monique that somehow manage to “do it all”. In many ways, she seems so strong, almost a fictitious character that is made up. Like, when does she ever sleep. When I have been afforded all the comforts of growing up in the west, could I ever be such a hard working woman? And a millennial at that. I know the Lord will give us the strength to do what He has called us to… and Kris lives the life that I imagined myself living, single and fancy free, not worrying about kids or husbands at that time—in that stage of life, you sometimes don’t realize the freedom you have to do so many things, I feel like, for me, the daily living is quite a challenge… She has only mentioned in passing about her faith, a quote about Ms that I am forgetting… but although she grew up protestant, it sounds like she never really pursued what a relationship with God might look like… it is my faith in Christ that drives me forward and sustains me every day. Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    1. Suzanne September 11, 2018

      I think Kris said something about Protestant Ms being more focused on making things better for eternity but not so much on making things better here and now, while Catholic Ms did lots of good practical work in the communities. It was an interesting comment. She also said that she grew up in the Presbyterian church, but from comments made later (I’m a bit ahead with the reading), I figure that she doesn’t have a personal walk with God. May that yet change.

      I’ve never had children, but recognise how time-consuming being a mother to small children when living cross-culturally can be. (I’m privileged to be Aunty to a few MKs though.) Hang in there. Monique had tremendous family support despite the pathetic husband. Her parents basically cared full time for her oldest and her son was carried around everywhere in a culture where that was expected and where he was welcomed. And yet she still seems like a superwoman – even as a healthy young single, Kris found it hard to keep up with her!

    2. Sarah Hilkemann September 11, 2018

      Lindsay, I’m glad you are reading along with us! I would echo Suzanne and say you are doing so well. Sometimes surviving is all you can do, and focusing on your kiddos might be what God has for you now- not better than or less than another person’s ministry or story. I lived in a village for just a short time (1 year) and honestly I failed. It has the hardest stretch of my life and I hated it. Sure, there were gifts and good things yet I dealt with extreme depression and had to make the decision to move to a bigger city for my health. Reading about Kris in this book, she feels like a super expat as she is so immersed in the culture and building deep relationships. I have had to remind myself to be who the Father created me to be, and live out the story He has given me. I don’t need to worry about someone else’s story.

    3. Abbie Smith September 11, 2018

      Lindsey, what a gift to hear your thoughts! As a mom of three youngins, too, I can relate to feeling like attempting any vocations ‘beyond’ motherhood are simply out of reach this season (if I’m to remain half sane, and/or half as present to my children as I’d like). I remember reading work by Amy Carmichael and wondering when she sleeps, as well. Alas, praying for your discernment today, and deep knowledge that you are loved beyond measure, not based on what you do or do not do today, but on the work of Christ and the cross. When I remember these basic Gospel truths, I feel more free and rightly motivated in being able to say yes or no to a given direction. Grace upon grace, beloved sister.

    4. Ellen September 16, 2018

      Lindsay, thanks for sharing. I so recognize what you write. I moved overseas with a 4 and 2 year old and we had another one in our second year overseas. Most of my time was spent with the kids, since my husband was starting up a company and we were both trying to learn the language. I struggled, especially since I had imagined things so different. But I have come to realize that part of the struggle was just learning to be a wife and mother (which would have been the same wherever I lived) and that’s our first and very special calling. And I also realized that having young kids and taking them outside gave me a lot of opportunities to talk with local moms. They were always interested in us, being the foreigners, they made endless comments on everything we did, our clothes etc. Not always fun, I had to learn it was not criticizing, but a different way of communicating things. It helped me push the language learning (which I had little little time for, so most was learned outside!) and I learned so much about family life here etc. And over the years, when I slowly got a little more time, I have been involved in prenatal and parenting meetings, that have given me a large network of young parents. Now our kids are almost 18, 16 and 12 years old, homeschooling still takes most of my time, but there is space now to reach out to families and what I learned in the early years is still helping me. So I hope this is an encouragement for you. Although it may not be so visible now, what you do now is very valuable.

  4. Alice September 11, 2018

    I’m intrigued by Abbie’s book, as someone in both the early stages of marriage (2 years) and a new mom as of 3 months ago! My question for her is, really, how do you navigate the mommy wars biblically? I’ve always been one to want to do things the “right way”, and now I’m starting to realize there are at least two (usually polar opposite) theories on how to do just about anything related to raising kids. And it’s so tempting to get into judging others to try and make up for my own insecurity. Then you throw in the challenges of cross-cultural ministry, navigating how much to be involved at home vs work, and the stakes feel even higher.

    1. Sarah Hilkemann September 11, 2018

      Alice, awesome question! I’m glad you are chiming in and I think Abbie’s book would be a great encouragement to you. I’m not a mom, but I look forward to hearing from others and seeing what they think! I will just say, I have no doubt you are doing a great job (even if some days it doesn’t feel like it). 🙂

    2. Abbie Smith September 11, 2018

      Alice, congrats on your newest little darling! I’m delighted to chime-in here, and please feel free to email me and we can dialog back in forth as much as you’d like. There are no easy answers to your questions, and they sound like sweet invitations from Jesus to further ground on his solid rock (/truth/promises/opinions) this season, realizing afresh that ‘all other grounds are sinking sand.’ You are right, indeed, that there are endless views on motherhood in any circle of women, let alone a circle from around the globe! Interestingly, God’s Scriptures don’t address the Mommy wars we tend to get most fired-up about either, like “the best way to swaddle,” or sleep schedules, or whether or not to use a pacifier, or how early to start solids, or what that weird expression must’ve meant…blah, blah, blah. Some of the best advice I’ve ever received was that if you have two boobs and a heart, you’ll be good to go. (And I recently had a friend who only had one boob, and she’s even been fine – ha…or plenty of friends who couldn’t nurse at all, and they’ve done fine with formula.) Also, to listen with humility to folks, but at the end of the day, to know you can return to your husband and home and discern with your loving Father what makes most sense in your narrative. There is no rule of law written especially for motherhood, although we have been given one for our personhood, that is to walk in the fruits of his spirit, his love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness & self-control, of which there is no law! There is freedom in this, I think, because it means that our success as a mom today, not unlike our success as a wife, or daughter of the King, is based not on our righteousness, or good works, but on the thoughtful work of the Cross, ‘already finished,’ already claiming us as his own, beloved children. He has chosen you to be this sweet darling’s Mama, Alice, not to save him/her, but to guide his/her life toward the savory love of Jesus. When I find myself getting wrapped-up in Mommy wars, or Mommy guilt, so often it’s because I’ve lost sight of my own grounding as God’s beloved daughter. Not unlike marriage, or walking this journey Home as Christ-followers, in general, motherhood seems less about a right answer and more about a surrendered heart. You will never be able to love your child as the LORD does, and there is freedom in that! You were not meant to, but instead, to point this darling to the greatest Love the world has ever known. That’s my two cents tonight, at least :). Grace upon grace, Abbie

      1. Laura September 16, 2018

        Oh, this resonates with me. We’ve been married two years and are expecting our first baby in a few months. At times I’m already a bit overwhelmed at the advice of others, and it’s not even totally parenting advice as much as advice on what “stuff” we need. A dear friend reminded me that I am the momma and I get to decide, and that what works best for one family doesn’t necessarily work in another, so I should be gracious to myself and do what seems best for us. Thank you for this reminder that God knows best and loves my baby even more than I do.

        1. Abbie Smith September 17, 2018

          Amen, Laura! You have been uniquely chosen to mother your baby. (Congrats! You’re so close.) No one else will be able to translate the expressions and movements and “language” of your child like you will. You have everything (and more) that you need in Christ, and can rest in that thoughtful provision today, Mama.

  5. Megan Smith September 11, 2018

    I have been loving this book so far. It is always eye opening to live among people and learn what some cultural things are that I never would even think of. I am amazed at Moniques strength and also the ability that she has to stand up for herself in so many ways (even though the money and the marriage are not her choice).

    1. Sarah Hilkemann September 11, 2018

      Megan, yay, I’m glad you are enjoying the book! 🙂 I know, I’ve been impressed too with the ways that Monique does manage to stand up for herself even when her options might be limited. She is just a cool lady.

    2. Abbie Smith September 11, 2018

      So glad to hear its been an encouragement to you, Megan. Amazing how God can encourage us through books, eh! Thanks for sharing how its been hitting you thus far.

  6. Michelle Kiprop September 12, 2018

    These were some dense chapters. As a nurse practitioner in Africa, who does quite a lot of women’s health, I resonate with so many things Kris writes about. How common death is here in rural Africa. How rare and differently it is handled in America. Kris observed “Death here was not quarantined, something that only took place in slaughterhouses and hospitals, that only occasionally escaped in the form of car accidents. It was in every home, all the time.” The discussion about religion and Christianity interested me. “‘Not to worry Fatumata,’ she said. ‘It is all the same if you pray to one God or another, because it is the same God. All religions are the same..;” I see such a disconnect between the culture of Christianity/religion and the actual living out of faith. But I suppose that is the same everywhere in the world. It just wears different faces in different places.

    I struggle with knowing that Kris is helping Monique carry-on a secret affair. And I wonder how that storyline will play out. It also seems evident that John stays with Kris at her house in the village. It makes me think of how often just being from the West, and being Christian, are assumed to be one and the same. And how many places in the world do assume that all Americans are sexually promiscuous Christians.

    The woman who died of a postpartum hemorrhage felt so personal to me. I gave birth to my son in a government hospital in East Africa. And wow, that was quite an experience. I had a pretty serious hemorrhage myself. Then a week later, at home in the village, I had a second surprise hemorrhage. I actually called my best friend in America and told her goodbye. I suspected that I would bleed out before we could get to the highway, let alone a real hospital. Thankfully I did live next door to the small clinic I worked at. The nurse on call was able to come to my house and provide some emergency care. Clearly it wasn’t my time yet. But as a medical provider, the personal experience does make me that much more passionate about the level of care that we provide in maternity settings.

    I also am interested to see where the contraception topics might go. In my neck of the woods, the family planning injection (given once every three months) is extremely popular. No one has to know about it, and there are no pills to try to hide or keep track of. When I did my first rotation in a family planning clinic here (14 years ago) I was shocked by a male nurse who demanded signed permission slips from husbands before he would provide women with contraception. I’m happy to say that that is no longer the case in my area.

    Someone mentioned last week about how different things might be in Kris and Monique’s village now. I’ve wondered the same. There have been so many developmental changes with globalization over the last few decades. And yet we still deal with many of the same struggles and social justice issues.

    Looking forward to what these next few chapters have in store!

  7. Abbie Smith September 12, 2018

    Such thoughtful observations, Michelle. I’m inspired by your shared experiences and empathy as you read along. Having only been on the receiving side of Ugandan and South African medical care at two points, I can’t imagine actually working in those fields year after year. Prayers for your discernment and courage to show-up again to the phenomenal calling God has chosen for you to be a voice in today.

  8. Hannah September 12, 2018

    Wow, it’s so fun to read you all’s comments and get a feel for who you are and where you’re coming from!
    My question would be, what mindsets or practical tips have you found to be helpful for connecting with your hubby and not losing your oneness and physical, emotional and spiritual closeness when – praise God, but wow, there’s a little tot in the home who demands a lot from both of you!?? I love the new mommy advice, “all you need is two boobs and a heart”. 😘 I’ll have to pass that along to someone I know. 😉

    1. Abbie Smith September 13, 2018

      Such a thoughtful question, Hannah. Going on 8 years into marriage and three babies later, I can surely relate to the challenges you posed! Others may have their thoughts to add here, but for me, it sounds too simple, but “continuing to date” is what keeps me most alive. Continuing to date Christ, and continuing to date my husband, Micah. For both relationships, sometimes this has to happen now during hours of the day I’d never seen before (or cared to see – ha). And for me, sleep is a HIGH priority, so choosing wellness with God and Micah usually comes at the cost of not choosing something else (shutting off my phone and computer from 7pm-7am…not being as involved with this or that as I used to be (and taking time often to reassess the “that”, etc.). More so than ever, I’m aware of the ‘seasons’ of life, and how they change, and I/dating changes throughout them. I try to get time alone with the Lord every day, which is sometimes only 5 minutes in the shower…letting him shower his grace over me in that time is crucial though. And a crucial reminder to my weary, so often works-based soul that his love for me doesn’t hinge on my love for him. Likewise, Micah and I try to get an intentional date in every week, which sometimes looks like a legit dinner downtown, but other times looks like putting the kids down early and watching a movie on the couch. Again, I think our temptation is to find a rule book for this, and I often chuckle when exploring it with him that for whatever reasons, Jesus was single. I know he’s still unimaginably invested in our marriages though, and aliveness for you and your husband. Feel free to email me and we can chat more, and/or the pages of “Stretch Marks I Wasn’t Expecting” surely lean into these conversations, so maybe you’ll be the winner this week :).

      1. Hannah September 13, 2018

        Thanks so much Abbie! Good thoughts and ideas. And yes – on the book, I hope so! 😃

  9. Amy Young September 12, 2018

    After quite a few hours of computer work for Connection Groups, it was a delight to read through your comments and discussion! I read this book several years ago and am waiting for my copy from the library to reread :). Thanks Sarah and Abbie!

  10. Paulette Leila September 13, 2018

    Hi Abbie! I’ve really enjoyed reading your comments here and bits of your story the last couple weeks. What advice do you have for supporting and walking with a dear friend who has struggled with food/body disorders since she was a pre-teen, and then a time of depression the last couple years?

    She considers me her best friend and doesn’t confide in anyone else, but sometimes withdraws even from me. My desire is to “be there” for her as much as possible, although with living overseas, that can’t happen often in a literal sense. I experienced major depression several years ago, so have been able to relate to her about that and share how Jesus brought me through that dark season, but I don’t have any personal experience (or much knowledge even) about eating disorders. Suggestions and insight would be greatly appreciated, from you as well as any other ladies out there who might have something to say about this.

    Also, your book looks wonderful and I hope to read it sometime,, but I am wondering if it is geared more towards wives and moms, or would singles relate to it too? And do you write quite a bit about food/body disorders and depression, or is that just a small part of the book? Asking because my friend is single, so maybe if I win your book, I could get it sent to her instead, for her to read first and then I can read it next trip back to the States. 🙂 Or I could always buy it as a gift for her.

    1. Abbie Smith September 14, 2018

      Oh Paulette, feeling a bit like a broken record here, but please feel free to email me and we can chat more. I’m sure there are newer resources that have come about since, but one that was crucial to my journey of healing and that I’ve walked through various times with various girls is, “Don’t Diet, Live It.” (It would assume that your friend recognizes her disordered eating though, and wants healing.) Your observations about her behaviors of withdrawing are very common. Essentially, food is her most intimate relationship, so at the end of the day, that is where her trust and confiding is going. As with everything, learning to invite Jesus into these areas is the road to healing.

      You could ask Amy’s thoughts here (she actually has an endorsement in the book :)), but oddly enough, the most feedback I’ve received about Stretch Marks has been from singles. I didn’t realize how much of the book was actually about my 20’s and singleness and food/body journeys. Obviously many of the pages are about marriage and motherhood, as well, but I would definitely think your friend could relate to the stories. There’s a discussion guide in the back, as well, so maybe you could read through it together and find some common ground that way. (Even if you don’t win the book this week, but would like to do that, please reach out to me and we’ll find a way :)). Pausing to pray for you as you steward this dear friendship, Paulette.

  11. Kristi Rice September 16, 2018

    I’m also really enjoying this book, and also reading everyone’s comments. I admire (and sometimes evny) Kris for plunging in and trying to assimilate into the culture as much as possible (like helping to cook, wearing pagnes, even carrying water on her head and planting a field). That is not easy, but I think it is so valuable for building understanding, trust, and relationships. After many years of living in Africa, my husband and I are learning a new language and trying again to build relationships in a new place. I always struggle to discern the fine line between embracing the culture (like spontaneously welcoming someone into your home) and recognizing where it is OK to embrace my own culture (like getting some time for solitude) so that I don’t burn out. How do I depend on God’s strength and let God love through me and also recognize when I need a break?

    I’ve also had my share of painful “value clashes” while living in Africa. One specific memory is where our priority of justice clashed with our partner’s priority of loyalty. It was so hard to know what the right thing to do was, and to appreciate our very different perspectives. Sometimes when we are passionate about something or see injustice, it is hard to be patient and try to understand. That is still a growing edge for me. But I try to be slower to judge, knowing that there is more going on than I might perceive at the moment.

    1. Abbie Smith September 16, 2018

      Such thoughtful, vulnerable thoughts here, Kristi. There seem to be so many areas of gray in grace, eh.Thank you for taking the time to chime-in.

  12. Laura September 16, 2018

    This story has become so interesting to me. So many pieces of this story resonate with my experiences, and yet so many are new. I lived in a rural village in Africa for 4 years before moving to the city. However I had the benefit of a real house with running water. Yet I can relate to so many things she experiences. (Don’t forget to close the windows before you leave for the day or your mattress may become a water bed!) But I love that Monique helps Kris truly experience the culture. She doesn’t stop Kris from trying new things, but helps her embrace it. One of my biggest frustrations was people not letting me do things because as the foreigner I was too “privileged” to be able to do mundane tasks.

    1. Abbie Smith September 17, 2018

      A gift to hear some of your reflections here, Laura. Pondering that dance you alluded to of trying new things today, while also embracing what already is. Cheers to Monday.

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