Category Archives: Emigration / Immigration

The Thanksgiving Gremlins

Halloween wreathIn her book Daring Greatly, self-help guru Brené Brown talks about gremlins as being the voices in our heads that tell us we must do this, we must behave so, we should have done that, etc. The gremlins are the critics–our parents, society, or our own (unrealistic) expectations for ourselves. The idea is to identify those gremlins and then basically tell them to shut up. There’s a little more to it than that, but that’ll do for the purpose of this post. Continue reading

The Zwarte Piet Debacle From the Outside, Again

zwarte clownOkay, it’s the end of November and that means that Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) is arriving in the Netherlands, with his helpers, who have traditionally been all called Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). The Zwarte Pieten are traditionally white people with blackface. People of color in the Netherlands have gradually become vocal about not liking that and the Dutch reaction is incredibly embarrassing to me. Continue reading

From Nationalism to Patriotism: A Girl Can Dream

charlottesville nazisI’ve always felt that America was primed for a fascist takeover. In fact, to some outsiders America already lives with “a very quiet kind of fascism“. I’m sure most readers will still think, even after Charlottesville, that I’m overreacting, that it was only Charlottesville, not all of the USA, and yes, if it stops here, if Trump is dethroned, if this is the watershed moment when everything changes, great. But I don’t think so. I hope so, but I’m not optimistic. Continue reading

Collective Stockholm Syndrome: The Reason Facts Don’t Convince?

Trump fansI come across this kind of thing all the time. People practically pull their hair out in frustration because they can’t convince others with facts. I do, too. I just can’t fathom why so many people in this country never fail to vote completely against their own interests. Continue reading

Famine, War and Love: a Novel

famine, war and love

Image: amazon.com

A reader of my blog recently published a novel and he has been kind enough to send me a signed copy!

The story makes the connection between the famines of Ireland in the nineteenth century, the Netherlands during the Hunger Winter of 1944-1945 under German occupation, and Ethiopia in the early 1980s,  thus bringing into view the universality of the effects of hunger, war and displacement. Continue reading

A Visit to the Gandhi Bazar

janakisToday I rediscovered the Gandhi Bazar, an Indian grocery store I frequented ten years ago, when we lived in an appartment nearby. (For Austinites, it’s on the corner of Brodie and William Cannon, catty-corner to HEB.) I love going to Asian grocery stores–they smell wonderful and everything is strange, except for the occasional item we used to have in Australia, like the proper Ovaltine or rusk. Such is the Commonwealth. Continue reading

Dinner and books in an Austin Strip Mall

pamuk-xlarge

Image: telegraph.co.uk

R and I looked on Yelp for a place to eat in north Austin this evening, and we ended up in Troy, a Turkish/Mediterranean place in a little strip mall where we had been once before, a couple of years ago. Continue reading