Third Culture Kid Funnies

pink zebra1Quick link: Funny Things Third Culture Kids Say

Today I’m at A Life Overseas with a lighthearted post about the fun things Third Culture Kids say. All kids say funny things, like the time a waiter in Kenya asked my daughter what her favorite safari animal was. She said she didn’t like the zebras.

“Why not?” he asked.

“They weren’t pink,” Lucy said.

The waiter laughed and thought that was so funny he went and searched the restaurant (Carnivore, where for all we knew, we were eating zebra along with the wildebeest and ostrich and crocodile kebabs) for something pink to give her and eventually returned with a red t-shirt from the gift shop.

Amazingly enough, the next day she opened birthday gifts that had been packed weeks earlier and from Grandma, she received a pink zebra shirt.

To read some more fun things or to leave some of your own in the comments, head on over to Funny Things Third Culture Kids Say

Hidden Immigrants at School, Babble

Quick link: Hidden Immigrants, Parents, and School

Today I’m writing at Babble about sending Third Culture Kids to school in their passport countries. Another way to describe them is as ‘hidden immigrants.’ They look like everyone else but they don’t think like everyone else. This causes their particular struggles to often fall between the cracks. They look like they should fit in, should know what to do, should understand the culture. But they don’t. What is a parent to do?

hidden immigrant

We sent our TCKs to school for one year in the US while my husband studied at the University of Minnesota and in this piece I offer some tips based on the things we learned. We had a great year but it wasn’t all smooth sailing.

Click here to read Hidden Immigrants, Parents, and School

*image via unsplash by S. Zolkin

The Mouth of My Grave, Brain Child

Quick link: The Mouth of My Grave is Open

Today I’m writing at Brain Child about life and death and faith and childbirth and Djiboutian traditions, many of the things I learned about when pregnant and after I gave birth to Lucy here. I’m so thankful for the way our friends shared their beliefs and traditions and allowed us to incorporate our own into the celebrations of her birth. To me it will always be a beautiful image of peace that crosses potential divisions. And since she was born on 9/11 (2005) to a Christian family in a Muslim country, delivered by a Somali midwife, we gave her a Somali middle name and we can turn our 9/11 mourning into dancing. In this essay each of the people holds to our own faith convictions but we are joined by mutual affection and it made these moments of feasting and learning together some of my most precious memories.

Here is a photo of the feast I write about in the essay.


“The mouth of my grave is open.” This is what Djiboutian women say during pregnancy and the forty days following childbirth. “Qabrigayga afka ayaa furan yahay.” They mean that they could die, or the baby could die, at any time and they’re right. The infant and maternal mortality rates in Djibouti are among the highest in the world and aren’t helped by rampant female genital mutilation and limited access to quality healthcare.

I learned the phrase when I was pregnant with our youngest, Lucy Deeqsan, who was born in Djibouti. My friend Awo taught it to me and explained it as a request for prayers for protection and health.

Djiboutians had other ways of procuring protection during these vulnerable days like observing a mandatory rest period of forty days following childbirth during which mother and infant remained indoors. This sounded like paradise. Forty days to rest, bond, and recover.

“If you need to go outside before the forty days are over,” Awo said, “put a nail behind your ear. Or a knife like the one people put under their pillows at night. That way you can fight off the jinn who might attack.” Jinn are mischievous devils, or genies who wreak havoc on humans.

Click here to read the rest of The Mouth of My Grave is Open

Closing the Confidence Gap, SheLoves

Quick link: Closing the Confidence Gap

Today I’m writing at SheLoves about leadership, confidence, girls…

closing the confidence gap

In June The Atlantic published an articled called The Confidence Gap, which cited evidence that women are less self-assured than men. They found that confidence affected success just as much as competence and that women, in general, suffer an acute lack of confidence compared with men.

Even female leaders, women at the top of their careers – investment bankers, pioneering engineers, WNBA stars – revealed that they are plagued by self-doubt, that they feel they came across their success by luck rather than skill, that they feel like imposters or frauds, undeserving. Women don’t consider themselves as worthy as men for promotions, predict they will do worse on tests, underestimate their abilities, are less likely to ask for raises and if they do ask, they ask for less. Unless they feel 100% confident, or borderline perfect, a woman is less likely to take a risk or initiate something new.

Included in the online article was a link to a test that would reveal your level of confidence. I took the test and, well, either you know me well or you’ll have to read the SheLoves piece to learn what my results were.

Click here to read the rest of Closing the Confidence Gap

*image via Flickr

Happy Nine

Today is Lucy’s ninth birthday. This little girl who almost didn’t get made because I was so terrified of having twins again, never ceases to amaze and delight us. Instead of writing about how great she is, I’ll just let a few of the writings I’ve published in the past speak for themselves.

Happy nine, Lucy Deeqsan.

lucy 9

A Child of Two Worlds, Modern Love column, New York Times

Turning Black, Huffington Post

The Happy Middle Years, Brain Child

A Baby at an American Military Camp, Brain Child

God, Giver of Harmonicas, SheLoves Magazine

p.s. It is also Ethiopian New Year and it is also the thirteenth year since the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Not forgotten.