Rachel Pieh Jones

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 […]

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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 […]

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How Living Abroad is Like Marriage

by Rachel Pieh Jones on March 20, 2017

Compatibility is an achievement of love. It shouldn’t be its precondition. Alain de Botton The same could be said for living abroad. I hear many people say they ‘fell in love with Africa’ as soon as their feet touched the ground off the plane. I’m not sure how Kenyan or Nigerian or Burundian tarmac has […]

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Some Lists for Expatriates

by Rachel Pieh Jones on February 15, 2017

These are not lists of useful tools, resources, or things to pack. These are lists of things that I personally love and which, in my humble opinion, speak deeply into the expatriate experience. The things listed have do two opposing functions in my life. The first is that they encourage me to thoughtfully and creatively […]

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Good Samaritan or Gullible Sucker?

by Rachel Pieh Jones on January 23, 2017

A true confession of my confusion and black heart… I came out of my office, got in my car, and there was a taptaptap on the window. I wound down the window and chatted with the man standing there. “My wife just had a miscarriage,” he said. “She is bleeding. Can you help me?” This […]

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The Twelve Days of Expat Christmas

by Rachel Pieh Jones on December 20, 2016

To be sung to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” (be sure to really drag out and dramatize day five). We did a Djibouti version of this for a family talent show a few years ago. To read those lyrics, click here: Twelve Days of Djibouti Christmas. On the first day of Christmas […]

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How Much Awesomeness Can We Really Handle?

by Rachel Pieh Jones on November 18, 2016

burning-bush

I have this theory that we get about one awesome story per decade. If you go to many conferences or read books and then hear the author speak or read their second book, things start to sound the same. The same stories are retold, the same lessons reexamined, the same wisdom gained. I’m guilty of […]

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Why Is It Always About Money?

by Rachel Pieh Jones on October 21, 2016

Nik Ripken wrote an excellent article a few weeks ago about how foreigners need to be better at being needy, how we need to grow in dependence on the people around us. The specific example he used of a man doing this well was about money. I appreciated the article but one thought lingered: Why […]

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Savvy Expat Traveler or Overconfident Traveling Idiot?

by Rachel Pieh Jones on September 19, 2016

We’re expats and we fly a lot. Right? We can fill out a lot of immigration forms with our eyes closed, have passports stuffed full of visas. We can use several different currencies, even in a single transaction. We know how to pack liquids, how to sail through airport security lines, what kinds of snacks […]

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