“Ya hachoo Pasha”

Embarrassing moments. How they make us laugh — eventually. Such was the following scene that happened during my first few months in Kazakhstan, long before the language took root. This story — written for my memoir, At Home On the … Read More


“Wherever we go,” I’d declared to Woody at the start of our Peace Corps application process, “I want a nice beach, friendly bugs, and a good mattress.” I figured I could make friends for America without having to suffer.   … Read More

My Gutsy Story Guest Post

  Just a quick note to let you know I’ve got a guest blog out on Sonia Marsh’s Gutsy Living website   http://soniamarsh.com/home/blog   Called, Leaving A Life I Loved: When the Peace Corps Beckoned, it gives a bit more … Read More

Kazakh Proverb: “If a man insults you, serve him a meal”

  Like any culture, the Kazakh people have many sayings. One I heard often was If a man insults you, serve him a meal. I thought I knew what this meant when I first heard it, but as the years … Read More

More Deleted Scenes

 And So It Goes   I’m particularly interested in those cultural differences that make me shudder, make me yell out , “Oh, no.”  The multi-colored costumes and exotic dances, music, and food of foreign lands is entertaining, of course. But … Read More

Conquering Homophobia Through Vegetarianism

    This deleted scene is one of my favorites. It highlights the lighthearted relationship I had with my four closest colleagues and friends: Gulzhahan, Assem, Gulzhan, and Tolganay. Here we are at Tolganay’s apartment for dinner in early June. … Read More


  Another from my Deleted Scenes collection. This one of my friend Togzhan.   With two weeks before classes began, I could fulfill a promise I’d made to Togzhan nearly a year earlier.   Togzhan with her daughter Assema.   … Read More

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