The Comfort of Home Food: Bagels in Leiden, The Netherlands

A German Brötchen is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. A chewy bagel is just about the opposite. So, of course, Germans crave Brötchen when they live in the United States and Americans crave bagels when they live in Germany. (Can you tell we’ve had both of these conversations in our international […]

6 ways rhythm helps us feel at home in a new world

On the weekend, I practiced a new skill and had a sudden aha! moment about learning to adapt to a new culture by finding the beat. (1) Every culture has its own heartbeat. When I lived in West Africa for a year, the people next door talked all day every day. There are many languages […]

Spring is coming. Let’s not give up on hospitality yet.

Lately, I’ve been wondering if migration is our natural lot and living peacefully in one place all our lives a rarity. Cranes are migrating and their calls remind me of spring. The current news shows destroyed cities in Syria, failed cease-fire talks, and a refugee bus being shouted down by people in the former Democratic […]

Hope for February: ESPERANZA RISING and Esperanza Spalding

Hope keeps cropping up. This weekend, hope took the form of an audio book, a YouTube video, a walk under gray skies, a skit, and a newspaper article. Last night I listened to the first part of Pam Muñoz Ryan’s ESPERANZA RISING with Trini Alvarado as narrator. I’m looking forward to the rest! ESPERANZA RISING […]

Collateral damage: What if there’s no one to vouch for you?

Someone approached me on the street the other day, needing to talk. The situation was unbelievably bad: immigration and medical problems, grief and financial hardship, difficulties around work, worries about children. After a little while, I was asked if I would buy some things for the kids. I felt uneasy because I didn’t know who […]

Past Adventures: Stories of Immigration

Last week, my family and I visited the German Emigration Museum in northern Germany. The museum is in Bremerhaven, literally “Bremen’s harbor”, so there are ships, a complicated harbor lock, and lighthouses. From the outside, the museum is big and square, but the inside is much more like a Disney experience. At the ticket counter, […]