Christmas Songs

Hazy and muddled, specific and definite.  My memories patch together like an heirloom quilt in reverse.  They remain clear and crisp in the places that are held the most frequently.  They fade in the places that are not often touched. Perhaps the vagueness of this one memory comes from its being annually repeated, in some … Continue reading Christmas Songs

In the Middle of the Art

This was unexpected.  I had arrived in Zurich the day before, with plans to spend two days roaming this city.  En route to a company leadership training in Germany, it was the first time in months that I had left my sandy home town.  I was greedy for some new scenery. A dragon guarded the … Continue reading In the Middle of the Art

Breathing in the Basement

Flowers on the table.  And two envelopes.  The first was a list of memories, from my dad, and the second was a story, from my mom.  Neither she nor I had been very comfortable on the day in question, but she remembers it— vividly— and I do not. My birthday. Friends in the Middle East … Continue reading Breathing in the Basement

The Kiss of Release

She approached me in the middle of the bus.  “One of the girls is crying,” she said.  “She got a call on Miss Mae’s phone, and now she’s really upset…” I looked forward, where Mae– one of our local teachers with Young Leaders– was leaning over a slump-shouldered fifteen-year-old girl.  Teena.  Her family was the one … Continue reading The Kiss of Release

Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand

Their voices traveled through the air and across the sand.  The cliff where these teenaged Young Leaders stood was facing another, larger mountain, which threw back the sound.  The students were surprised; it was the first time, for some of them, that their voices had echoed. For many of them, it was also their first trip to this famous … Continue reading Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand

Drunken Drivers, Engagements, & Other Misunderstandings

He honked the horn of the bus.  I ignored him, and opened the trunk of my car. He smirked, gestured, and beeped a second time. I hoped he wasn’t trying to get my attention.  For women in this part of the world, it’s not unusual to receive some level of rudeness from random guys; but this bus … Continue reading Drunken Drivers, Engagements, & Other Misunderstandings

He Sees

Soundlessly, she sat beside us, crying as her sister Sammi told her tale.  “A European couple offered me a job nannying their children,” she said.  “But then they decided that they want someone else, someone who does not wear a headscarf.” Sammi spoke in a matter-of-fact voice, like the entire affair was of no consequence.  However, we all … Continue reading He Sees

The Blind Date

Let me tell you about my accidental blind date.   With Mohammad. I had been in the country for about six weeks.  A friend from our community center, Khudrah, invited me and my housemate to visit the ladies in her home.  My housemate warned me that Khudrah had been inquiring about my marital status that day, mentioning a cousin … Continue reading The Blind Date

Losing My Voice

“I lost my voice,” she said.  “But I can still listen.” Neither of us knew how to keep the conversation one-sided.  So despite intentions to give her voice a break, our Skype chat soon reverted to the usual back-and-forth.  My dear friend Jenn updated me about a few of the people we both love in New York, and new opportunities … Continue reading Losing My Voice

In the Silence

Just awkward— the silence.  I searched for more words, looked at the ceiling and floor. The assignment: find a partner whom you do not know well, from among fellow students in Ingrid Davis’ Leadership Coaching course.  Ask one good question.  Then listen— without making any statement, or asking a follow up question— for five minutes. … Continue reading In the Silence