Rachel Pieh Jones

To Donate or Not to Donate?

by Rachel Pieh Jones on March 18, 2018

*This was originally published as Don’t Send Your Used Shoes to Africa on Djibouti Jones in 2014. I bring it up again because on a recent flight to Kenya, my husband sat beside a Kenyan small business owner. Her clothing shop sells locally made dresses using Kenyan materials and Kenyan employees. She said these used […]


Don’t Forget the Things You Know Are True

by Rachel Pieh Jones on February 21, 2018

(This is going out to all the new expatriates in my life, you know who you are, and all who are newly arrived in your host countries.) All the training, preparing, packing, and planning has left you utterly exhausted, unprepared for reality, insufficiently packed, and carrying plans that will be chucked out the window upon […]


The Expatriate Balance Sheet

by Rachel Pieh Jones on January 21, 2018

A friend visited me once, coming from a country further east. She brought boxed blueberry muffin mix, Cheerios, and other American brand name goodies. I thought, ‘oh, her life must be wonderful and easy.’ When she left, she packed a few cans of Dr. Pepper and bags of Doritos and thought, with such luxuries at […]


9 Ways to Make the Most of Christmas Abroad

by Rachel Pieh Jones on December 18, 2017

Christmas abroad can be lonely. It can also be delightful. Here are some things my family has learned over the years that help to make our holiday season special. Stuff shmuff. The cheaply made but expensive toys break. The box sent from the US arrives late, like next October late (which, in truth, can be […]


Third Culture Kids and Social Media

by Rachel Pieh Jones on November 17, 2017

This summer, The Atlantic published a fascinating article called Has the Smartphone Destroyed a Generation? I encourage every parent, especially of tweens and teens, to read it and discuss it with your children. I read the article with a particular mindset, that of a parent raising teenagers who also are Third Culture Kids. I wondered, […]


6.5 Myths About Expat Life

by Rachel Pieh Jones on October 18, 2017

(this is a repost from Djibouti Jones) Myth 1: Adventure I’m an expatriate! Cue the Indiana Jones soundtrack, give me a whip and a cool hat, and let’s have an adventure! Okay my husband does have an Indiana Jones hat and I have used an Ethiopian whip, but life as an expatriate is not all […]


To My Expat Friends

by Rachel Pieh Jones on September 18, 2017

Dear expat friends who have my back and hold my heart, When I say my husband and I are arguing about packing suitcases and that my back hurts, you know what I mean. You’ve also slammed doors and said things you regret because peanut butter weighs a lot and tennis rackets don’t quite fit. Thanks […]


Home in the Spaces

by Rachel Pieh Jones on August 19, 2017

(revised from an essay published originally by She Loves Magazine) My kids have lived abroad since 2003 and now we’ve started college tours in the US. I knew every tour guide would ask: Where are you from? So I preemptively asked one of my daughters, “Where is home?” Ah, the dreaded, complicated, richly beautiful question […]


Fight For Your Family

by Rachel Pieh Jones on July 19, 2017

Humanitarian, governmental, and religious organizations sending people abroad don’t always have the best interest of their internationally-located staff in mind. They think they do. They hope they do. Even (I think) many of them try to. But they are organizations, based back in the United States. They are staffed by people who have no idea […]

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Come to the Margins

by Rachel Pieh Jones on June 19, 2017

This is a repost, originally published at She Loves Magazine. It is a poem, of sorts and during these days in which so many, many people seem to be and feel marginalized, I wanted to revisit it. Come to the margins, to the railroad track where houses were burned down and women are rebuilding with […]

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I remember when people dressed up to take airplane flights. Now, we just want sweatpants and ponytails (but be careful not to get bumped off for being inappropriately under dressed). I remember when flying felt exotic and fancy but lately it feels more like headaches and cramped quarters and clogged toilets. I keep asking my […]

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You Are Not a Failure

by Rachel Pieh Jones on April 19, 2017

I’ve read lots of blog posts and essays about failure lately, about people who grew up wanting to change the world and end up discouraged. Jonathan Trotter wrote about this a year and a half ago. Sarita Hartz wrote about it just last week. Abby Alleman wrote about it in February. I guess its my […]