World Humanitarian Day

We are at a time of change and fear for the human race and all life on our planet. Climate change, globalization and its reversal, losses of biodiversity and the depletion of fossil fuels is making this world a very different place than it was even thirty years ago. We don’t know what our future… Read More »

Baku, a Snapshot

Some of you may have noticed I started using all my own pictures in this blog a while ago. I pull them from my Instagram, which is reasonably active. I have found taking pictures helps me think in new ways about the places I live. I always worried that photography would turn me into an… Read More »

All the cool kids have already written about this, but there’s a fun new book out on being an expat. It’s called Expat Etiquette: How to Look Good in Bad Places, and it was written by Michael Bear and Liz Good. They sent me a preview copy, and it’s a short, clever book that’s both… Read More »

The Questions I Ask

Americans are weirdly private people. Nearly every other culture I’ve experienced involved sharing more personal information with strangers than your average American wants to provide. It used to feel really uncomfortable. (Okay, it stills tends to feel uncomfortable.) But I have a technique now – I lean in. I counter intrusive-feeling personal questions with nosy… Read More »

Blog Posts I Will Apparently Never Write

1. Jargon is generally accused of being 1) a sign of fuzzy thinking and 2) a tool for oppression and exclusion. Sometimes even by me. It has struck me lately, though, that jargon is also a sign of people who care so much about a particular topic that they want to get their vocabulary exactly… Read More »

Five fast facts about Bishkek

  I moved to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan a little more than two months ago. It’s always hard to start a new posting in the winter, but I have been coming here on and off since 2001. I am very pleased to have a good long stay. Some notes: 1) It’s been snowing since December. It blows… Read More »

China’s labor migration

Last week, the Washington Post ran a great article about economic growth in China, and its impact on one young couple who migrated from their rural village. It starts out telling us that: More than 61 million children — about one-fifth of the kids in China — live in villages without their parents. Most are the offspring of… Read More »