Managing an Exchange Program in Laos

Katherine has just started a master’s degree program in Peace and Conflict Studies in Uppsala, Sweden. We spoke online. My thanks for the photos.

Katherine’s story

Why don’t you tell me how you happened to go to Laos, what happened, what worked out and what didn’t.

It wasn’t my goal to work and live in Asia. I did Peace and Conflict Studies as an undergraduate at American University in Washington, D.C. with courses focused on the Arabic language and Middle Eastern issues. I was preparing for work on peace-building, particularly with the relationships between the US and Israel/Palestine, Iraq/Afghanistan.

I … Read More

Expat Cats–Part 2, Philippines

The first part of the story of my two Russian Blues. At the end we were moving to the Philippines to retire with two long-time friends.

In the evening of June 7, 2007, I arrived at the airport in Manila, a nervous wreck from three months worrying about how my cats would take the trip. At the baggage claim I retrieved my suitcase, loaded it on a cart and waited for the cats to come through in their carriers. One look told me they were fine. I couldn’t believe it.

Then I ran around looking for change to pay a … Read More

Expat Cats –Part 1, Korea

When I moved to South Korea in 1988, the country was recovering from the dictatorships of Park Chung-hee and Chun Doo-hwan. In a week it would host its great coming-out party, the Seoul Olympics, which despite being well organized would be temporarily mired in controversy, with the national inferiority complex exposed.

My first impression of Seoul was that it was as militaristic, as nationalistic,  as drab and as prudish as post-revolutionary China could be. and far more misogynistic.  Pro-democracy student demonstrators battled with riot police, although it was clear from their own organizations that they didn’t know what democracy meant. … Read More

List of Opposites, East and West

List of Opposites, East and West

 

Guanxi

When I arrived in Asia in 1984, everything was so new that my mind simply would not take in what it saw. I wandered around bug-eyed, marveling at everything but feeling content. I thought, “Isn’t it wonderful that I’m not experiencing any culture shock.” Two things I was ignoring were the fact that the actual shock was not due until later—when it did come—and the fact that my nightly retreats into British murder mysteries certainly qualified as trying to escape from my environment.

Few seasoned

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The Best of Three Worlds, Part 2

I’ve often heard Filipinos don’t get irony, although people usually seem to get mine. Here Marianne gives some examples of this and more serious cultural differences. Thanks to Marianne for the family photos.

Marianne’s story

Other than being married to the man I loved, I didn’t think about our marriage until we heard Paul Harvey on the car radio. Harold said. “That’s got to be hard, right? Interracial marriage? I can’t imagine.” Then we realized we were in one. Sure, he adjusted to my culture, and I adjusted to his, but it was nothing I felt I should prepare for.… Read More