Posted: 26th January 2014 by admin in Uncategorized

Thank you life and God for opening ones eyes and setting the heart free, free, free it is when we ask you for freedom and forgiveness. Thank you that we can ask for healing and that others can forgive us just the same.

Freedom of speech and music

A Horrid Day

Posted: 24th January 2014 by admin in Uncategorized

Manchmal kommen Tage die so Sinnlos sind ganz besonders die wo man sich von allem verschließt weil man nur genervt ist. Heute war so ein Tag. BWL Vorlesung und leider auf einer so einfachen niveau das es echt lächerlich war nur das Problem ist das ich meine Gefühl für mich hätte halten sollen und es nicht so weit aus erzähle. Ja das passiert wenn ich unausgeglichen bin oder einfach im Stress. Es tut mir Leid für die Menschen die wir dann mit unseren Emotionen negativ beeinflussen. Ja so was muss nicht sein.

A greatful day

Posted: 19th January 2014 by admin in Uncategorized

What makes a day fullfilled, I asked my self this today.We had a short input about this today and I wonder, is it different for each person and only a subjective view?

I asked my self what is a fullfilled day for me? Is it a day where I have done so much and was there and there? Is it when I fill my day with meeting people or finishing all my chores?

No I realized it is for one when my soul has deeply been touched maybe because I have a really good deep and needed conversation (either for myself or the other person).

And most of all when I spend time with people I love and some how have made a special connection. When there is laughter and a soul binding moment, that is something that makes a good day good.

Or very simple, when the sun shines and i am filled with joy and feel so unbelievably grateful to be able to enjoy this moment.

Yes when my heart is filled with gratitude, that makes me glad to be alive.

Reflecting on Parents Leaving Home

Posted: 27th December 2013 by Rachel Staab in Uncategorized

The first time I realized that something was wrong with me, that I was really having a hard time–somehow … with something–was during my sophomore year at university. One of the professors had an affair and left his family, divorced his wife. Another professor died suddenly. These two events happened fairly close together. And I was heartbroken for their families. They weren’t even my professors. I had never heard of them. I thought it was odd that I was so heartbroken for these two families, but I didn’t know why, didn’t know that it was because I was mourning for my own loss. I remember sitting on the nice warm dryer in my dorm in freezing Ohio telling my parents on the phone about these two families and how sad it was. But that I didn’t know why it so sad to me. I wanted them to tell me why but they of course didn’t know that I was grieving my own grief.

Backing up to my freshman year, whenever I met people, they of course would ask where I was from because that’s what you do in America. I didn’t want to be disloyal to Bangladesh so I would always say, “I’m an MK from Bangladesh.” And I said it with pride. But, invariably, they would then say, “Oh! So, are your parents still there?” And invariably their question would be like a knife through my heart.

The thing that confused me so much was that I always knew that I would leave Bangladesh. It was always the plan for me to come back to the States for college. But I had some nebulous, subconscious dreams of coming back to Bangladesh every year during Christmas or during the summer. I always thought my parents would be there. I will always remember May 13, 2001: the day my parents told my brother and I that they were thinking about leaving … maybe in a year. We left for good a month later. I had walked around in a daze for that month. It was like a death or a divorce. When that happened for the families of professors at my college, the families’ grief resonated with me.

Finally when I was a senior in college I think I started to realize that what the true source of my grief was. I remember telling my parents the summer after I graduated how sad I was and how much I grieved when we left and the succeeding four years. They had no idea. I thought that I had told them, but it’s hard to get something like that. It’s hard to understand myself. It took me four years to comprehend it.

I have a something up on my bathroom mirror that says, “You cannot genuinely forgive until you acknowledge the full scope and impact of the offense.” I think that is also true of grieving. You have to feel the full extent and impact of your loss, to grieve and recover. But what do you do when you have no idea where the grief came from? Any ideas?

Home for the Holidays

Posted: 17th December 2013 by admin in Uncategorized

I was listening to the song, “Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays.” My parents live about 10,000 miles away, my brother about 3,000 miles from me and I am somewhere in the middle.  Home for the Holidays is technology, skype & gchat.  Home is virtual and watsapp.  Its figuring out how to make a call and hear voices across continents for as cheep as possible so you can talk for as long a possible.  

I like to ask what traditions people have as a family, what nuances differentiate them from their neighbors.  “We always put the sprinkles before we bake the sugar cookies” or “we always always decorate on Thanksgiving after dinner.” “We have to wait till Christmas Eve to put up the lights.” Beautiful differences, & little nuances that feed into our sense of self & community.  

We made kalkals (an India sweet, however I think we may have made up the name or it may have gotten distorted over the years, since not many other Indians recognize the name) to distribute. I don’t know the recipe and it seems too lonely to make them without my mom, so I don’t.  I pick a recipe from pintrest.  I bake more than I have ever baked in my life, I give it all away, I do this alone.  To be fair, my dog is with me begging the whole time, so not entirely alone.  It was fun, I made candies and toffees and felt accomplished.  It makes me feel at home to use my mom’s kitchen even if its for a non-family tradition.  It made me feel less in loss.  

However Christmas gifts are more complex than they have ever been.  Either I need to save them till I see all of them or I need to get them ahead of time to send them over with someone else.  Gift Delivery is another ironic gift of loss and gain.  To give something with your own hands, to see their reactions to funny gifts, thoughtful gifts, gifts that make us silent with gratefulness.  Its a strange thing to save surprises and these days the delivery person takes pictures of the person with their gift.  That way we don’t miss “the look.” But don’t we? Still the consolation though small is one to be grateful for.  

For the holidays, I will leave home and travel home to my brother, where he and I will skype our parents who will be at home.  They say the world is getting smaller.  And so it is we will be in different time zones but someone there is this crack in the wall, a space time continuum that connects our lives and we can joke and laugh, ignore comments, and change topics.  We can talk over a meal (which will be different cuisines and meal times) together for the holidays.

And “no matter how far away you roam, If you want to be happy in a million ways
For the holidays you can’t beat home, sweet home.”  

New Eyes

Posted: 8th December 2013 by admin in Uncategorized

I woke up with new eyes for the world.  It was a long night, tear drenched pillows, cold winter wind biting at my soul but I woke up.  It was a long walk and a longer journey.  The cataracts developed with age, I moved around a lot but stayed in the same place.  It made me feel like my travel was real and it was, but I walked down the street not across the river or beyond the road where the trail begins.  I was a child.  Hands held down, feeling my way, I felt older than I was.  I felt like I knew the world.  I had seen it.  I remember it.  It fades so I color in the places where the tea spills and smears the lines all blur, so I retell it, I speak it and recreate.  It is real.  I felt it.  So I worked for years writing and rewriting this fading world.  I didn’t want to loose its smells or sounds its sweetness so I began to make space.  I thought I didn’t have enough room in my mind, it fades, so I closed it.  I turned off the lights and saw nothing. I created in darkness and dreams and it was home.  I loved it.  It grew more beautiful with silence and I had to have it, it was mine, I belong in it.  So I decided to leave a note to my parents and run, into the distance beyond where the sun rises to where my memories do not fade and I will find them.  All of them and retrace those smeared lines.  And I walked and walked and left it all behind.  I was going home.  Home.  It was supposed to be full and bright and living.  It was supposed to fill and remove this chill this stillness that became my desire.  What I reached was the sun.  It burned.  There were tears and there was anger.  I was alone.  It did not speak, it was silent like my room on that street where I walked.  It was beautiful but I was not.  I had cataracts and only those with clear vision could enjoy it.  It was bright and I could no longer build.  I faced its ravaging beauty and its indifference.  It was the same.  I was the same.  I missed home.  There was nothing left, there is no difference.  And I loved neither.  I saw neither.  So the long night began.  I walked without aim no destination or hope. I walked simply to move.  I leave myself behind I walked to love more than a vision.  I grew tired and fell and bruised.  I was trampled and I trampled.  I swore and tore and bore my burden and I grew tried.  I slept and forgot who I was.  Who I had been.  I am not the same.  I am less, younger than I what I was supposed to be.  I was alone.  Utterly alone.  And a voice broke the silence it was a whisper and sweet.  It was my name and he knew me.  From long ago, before the suns ever rose or set.  Before there was light or darkness.  Simply words, I know you, and I feared what he knew.  I developed cataracts, I ran away, I am never home, I am tired, I am not the same.  He recognized me.  It is true.  There was nothing left, ashes, and soot, but there he was.  Eyes wide and strong.  I remember him.  He lived on my street and walked beyond where the sun rose.  I saw him sometimes when I walked down the road just before the river and I saw him on those bright streets where the sun burned.  I remembered myself I was a dreamer, a lover, a builder, I was adventuresome and young and old.  I had heart and sought heart.  I was alive and traveled and saw the world.  I had memories and they burn like the sun there was room for all of them. There were beautiful quiet streets and bright bold streets.  There was sound and smell and sight.  And I woke up with new eyes for the world.


Posted: 29th November 2013 by admin in Uncategorized

This morning I woke to a strange sound. My ears prodded my faintly conscious mind awake to this rare phenomenon and it took a few groggy tries to pull myself out of sleep before I recognized what this sound actually was: rain!

It hardly ever rains in Los Angeles and this is the second treat I have gotten in 2 weeks. And though by other city standards this hardly even counts, having been so deprived from it while living here, the smallest sign of it is welcome…even if sometimes it is a 2-minute sky spit fest.

But this morning’s rain is doing pretty okay. My window panes are actually wet and it’s lasting us a few hours. Nothing compared to days of rain I used to enjoy but I’ll take what I can get.

The moment I recognized it was the sound of rain pattering against my window, I sunk deeper into my blankets and for a quick moment lapsed into a memory. I immersed myself so deep in this memory, I think I could have fooled myself into believing it was real. I wanted to tell myself it was real – that I was in fact back in another place, another time. The rain told me so. It took me back into moments I have carefully stored away in my treasured memories.

I could hear the sounds from my memory coming alive, joining the rain to sing again the songs they once sung for me. I explored the world within this dream, trying to remember every detail and sparking them into existence in my mind. The smells, sounds, feels, and emotions. Even the light and shade, the touch of the window against my hands. It was blissful. Painfully so. The joy that erupted in me also tore into me with the reminder that these moments will never return to me, that this place and this time no longer exists anywhere in the world.

I am homesick for a world that is not there. What do you do with a pain without an antidote? If I’m hungry, I eat. If I’m tired, I sleep. If I’m homesick, where do I go “home” to?

A TCK’s Point of View

Posted: 23rd November 2013 by admin in Uncategorized

Note: You can see this post with its pictures at Cross Cultural TCK


I speak English, Arabic, Spanish and French. In Dubai, nobody seemed to think it was at all special. With friends who were so culturally mixed where one spoke French, Dutch, English and Arabic, another who spoke Farsi and Italian, and another Czech and Arabic, my linguistic ability was not out of the ordinary. In fact if you know any Lebanese or Moroccans, you would know that even the combination of my particular set of languages isn’t anything special.

When I moved to England after Dubai, I got asked “Are you Canadian?” a lot! When I would tell them where I was from, they would immediately comment on how well I spoke English! People were surprised that a person from a non-English-speaking background would speak the language so fluently, even native-like. I have had this experience in Australia too. When I told my friends at the gym that I was going to Argentina to visit my family for Christmas, they were surprised “We thought you were Canadian!” And then this is usually followed by “You speak English so well!”
In Argentina, I was usually mistaken for a [insert South American country] when I spoke Spanish, but in Spain it was the opposite. “Are you Argentinian?” was a usual reaction to my accent.


In Canada, the Quebecois told me I sounded too snobby with my ‘posh French’, when that was the French I learned at school. In France, I was told I had a slight Quebecois accent – after 3 years there, I adopted it I suppose. My Belgian friends said I had a ‘news reporters’ French – no dialect, very neutral and clear pronunciation. Speaking of Canada, Montrealers always asked me if I was from Ottawa!


In Lebanon I was perceived to be Syrian when I spoke Arabic, and in Syria I was perceived to be Lebanese.


And on the subject of Arabic, in Australia I’ve come across yet another new and interesting experience.


On a couple of occasions when I’ve met Arabs in Perth, I was told their surprise at how good my Arabic was! Apparently, when you hear my very North American English you don’t expect a very native Arabic dialect to come out of my mouth!


I recently visited the Lebanese Bakery in Perth for the first time. At the check out counter, I struck up a conversation with the cashier, who also spoke some Arabic. She was so friendly and commented, “You speak Arabic so well!”


“I’m Lebanese!” I told her. She had already made that assumption but was still impressed with my Arabic skills. So then I said “No, I mean, I really am (as in, not just by heritage), I grew up in the Middle East, so of course I speak Arabic”. That somehow went over her head. We switched back and forth between English and Arabic. I told her a little bit about my family, where we had come from, how we’d just immigrated to Perth. “Your accent is so authentic” she kept saying, as if still in disbelief. I stopped trying to explain myself at that point


I feel that my experiences on the language front alone are such a great example of life as a TCK. You are from everywhere and nowhere at the same time. You’re not quite from country A or country B, but country A thinks you’re from country B and country B thinks you’re from country A, or potentially even country C!
It’s easy to say that it’s a great position to be in, because you do feel like you can get along with just about anyone. And you do feel like you can adapt everywhere, are more flexible perhaps and you feel so lucky that you have had that incredible international life. At the same time it’s sad, but not just for the obvious reasons (the moving, the changes, the instability). If the whole world was one big ball of TCKs, I wouldn’t feel so alone in my opinions or interactions. It’s just that the world isn’t there yet. In fact, it’s nowhere near there. We are still branded by the passport we carry, the way we look, the accents we have or the languages we speak.

In that sense, I feel very alone. My TCK friends are scattered all over the world, none of them in Australia. I’ve met a lot of Third Culture ‘Adults’ through my son’s international school, and they are some of the most awesome people whom I’ve been fortunate to come across, but you can’t escape those cultural references that are sometimes made by a group of people from a particular country; they understand each other and have a natural sense of kinship. That’s not to say they don’t like you!

As a TCK in Perth, Western Australia (which apparently is the world’s second most isolated city?) I feel very alone.  I don’t feel like I belong to any particular group and the fact is, I probably never will on this side of Australia (unless there’s a TCK group in Perth that I don’t know about, that is over the age of 30!)

However, I do thrive on learning about different cultures and there’s no end to that in this part of the world, and within the group of international friends that I’ve made here.

So, although there is the loneliness, I will choose to focus on the daily interactions, enriching myself with them and maybe one day, my Third Culture Adult friends and I will have that special bond from a time shared on this Australian continent. Because we all know that our time in WA is limited and soon they will move on to their next posting, as TCKs normally do.

Change is hard, but when change is consistent, then at least that’s a constant state in itself! Here’s to constant changes… and to new languages, new friends and new experiences always!

Signing out,
The Argentine, The Spaniard, The Lebanese, The Syrian, The Canadian, The Quebecois, The French…. [Happiness is being able to keep adding to this list]

Aussie Tradies

Posted: 19th November 2013 by admin in Uncategorized

There are a lot of things I’m learning about Perth, Western Australia and every day there is something new. I generally give something a chance and time to develop, to give me different experiences so that I don’t end up generalizing and stereotyping.

As a person from several “unliked” cultures, trust me, I know all about stereotyping and generalization… it’s not nice when you’re on the receiving end. So although I’m human and I do err (a lot!), I try my best not to fall into the stereotyping trap.

On the subject of Australian Tradesmen (‘tradies’ in Aussie lingo), I hate to say but you can actually generalize. It’s so sad that you can, but you can.


We will have been living in Perth for 6 months on December 13th this year, and I can safely say that in the past 5 months I have learned the following truth:

Aussie tradies are useless compared to their non-Australian counterparts!!

I’ve had many things go wrong in the house we are renting, and I always know from the tradie’s nationality how the problem is going to be fixed.

When our real estate agent books a British or Asian tradie, they are always on time and efficient. If they are delayed, they will call half an hour earlier to say they are delayed. They may call to say they are coming early. The Asian and British tradies I’ve come across are efficient, fast and reliable.

Aussie tradies on the other hand, I’ve had nothing but trouble from them.

They are always late… not just by a few minutes… by up to 5 hours sometimes! And they never call to tell you they’re running late.

When they finally do turn up, they take such a long time to do something that doesn’t need all that time.

At the moment, we have an issue with the garden reticulation system. It doesn’t seem to be coming on and the grass is dying. Unfortunately, there’s no working hose pipe either that would at least allow me to water the garden to buy us more time. An Aussie tradie called yesterday to book a time to come in and we agreed that 11am would be good. I rushed back from my morning appointment so I could be home by 10.30am just in case he turns up earlier (maybe I was still being hopeful and not so judgemental at that point!). By 11.30am, he still hadn’t turned up. So I gave him a call.

I was half expecting him to say “Oh I’m on my way I’m just stuck in a bit of traffic”. Instead, I heard “I’m at another job in Fremantle for another hour or so”… Fremantle is about 45 minutes away from our location. “I’ll try to make it there around 1pm.”

Really, at another job? Does he not factor in jobs possibly going on longer than anticipated? Did he not take into consideration traffic or any other last minute problems that might arise? Even that time of 1pm seems a bit farfetched. Even if the job did finish by 12.30pm, he would’ve needed time to pack up all his equipment, get in his car, get on the motorway and make it over to ours. That would certainly take more an half an hour. There is no way he could be here by 1pm unless the other job finishes sooner. And if by 11am, he was still in Fremantle, knowing that he still needed another 45 minutes to drive to me, couldn’t he have at least called to let me know?

“You’re home all day, aren’t you?” he said.

Uh, NO. When you make an appointment with someone, fucking stick to it. If you’re going to be late, call and say you’re running late. This way of doing things, for me, shows complete disrespect for my time. It’s like saying “I don’t care if you have other things to do. I expect you to wait around until I make time for you.”

This has happened so much to me with Aussie tradies, that I’m absolutely fed up and am now ranting! I recognize that.

It is possible he was held up. He just didn’t sound like it, or he would’ve said he got “stuck” on a job.

Maybe it was his choice of words, coupled by previous experiences, that rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe I’m being pedantic. Or maybe I’m just in a bad mood!

Whatever the reason, it is annoying, when you don’t actually have the luxury of time, to wait around all day for someone to turn up.

And they may, or may not, even do that! I guess I’ll find out at 1.30pm….