The Power of Projection

The allure and danger of projecting onto our leaders.

Of Fruit, Farmers, and a Free Press

A few years ago, I came across this gem of a headline in the Arab News: So...it turns out that not all fertilizers are equal. Human waste makes your lettuce smell and taste like doo-doo. Noted. And when it comes to irrigation, best just stick to water. As much as I appreciated the gardening tips … Continue reading Of Fruit, Farmers, and a Free Press

A World of Stories

A few months after I arrived in Saudi Arabia, I found myself at dinner with a group of teachers. You know, school teachers. Ladies that taught English at Saudi girls’ schools. Old maid school teachers. You got that picture squarely in mind? Good. Now flush it. Whatever scars you still carry from that time you … Continue reading A World of Stories

The Faith and The Hope

This is my favorite keepsake from Saudi Arabia. Okay, I'm pretty pumped with this, too: The gift that keeps on giving. But the necklace is still number one. To my eye, Arabic is an exquisite written language, and it's been used decoratively for centuries. When I told the jeweler what I wanted, he suggested a … Continue reading The Faith and The Hope

Dear Saudi Arabia, Please Help Me Understand

Why won't you let any refugees in? Please, help me. I want to understand. I want to think better of you than what I see. I sit in front of the television, crying. "This is Europe's defining moment," I hear a television announcer say. I shake my head. "Why?" I say. "Why is it just … Continue reading Dear Saudi Arabia, Please Help Me Understand

Me, a Joke, and the Secret Police

Theory: A sense of humor is to every human quality as salt is to every food. It doesn't take much, but the lack of it will pretty much kill whatever you're serving. Love? Good, but when it's dead serious it'll suffocate a person. Dignity? Admirable, but without a sense of humor you're just stiff and … Continue reading Me, a Joke, and the Secret Police

There’s No Place Like Home

As you may have noticed, summer is winding down. In Celsius, that's 44, 44, 44, 44, 45, 44.., and that little nip in the air means it's expat migration season. Time to pack the bags full of all the loot/necessities/contraband you've picked up in the home country, squeeze in a last dinner at your favorite … Continue reading There’s No Place Like Home

Note to Self: Top Ten Repat Reminders

A woman I knew a few years ago returned from a year of living abroad. Awesome. Great experience. Good for you. But I'm not doing myself any favors if I paper over the fact that she had instantly become INSUFFERABLE.  She could say nothing without prefacing it with "Well, in China..." Nothing, I promise. To … Continue reading Note to Self: Top Ten Repat Reminders

5+5 = 10 Things to Do at Historical Diriyah

The clock's ticking here, folks. The window of opportunity to fix the mess that has us leaving the country has closed. We've made our plans for the return trip, the dates are set, the flights booked, the house is packed up. On the plus side, the people moving into our villa are buying all the … Continue reading 5+5 = 10 Things to Do at Historical Diriyah

Leaving Oz

At face value, you have to wonder why Dorothy wanted to leave Oz. Kansas was gray and windy and ugly; Oz was technicolor and gorgeous and magical. To top it off, by the time she got to the capitol the witch was dead and she was being treated like royalty. Why on earth did she … Continue reading Leaving Oz