Rachel Pieh Jones

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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Don’t Ignore Your Passport Country

by Rachel Pieh Jones on August 17, 2016

I have a confession to make. I don’t pay much attention to news from the United States. I’m much more likely to click on the BBC or Al-Jazeera than on CNN or my more local, Minneapolis Star Tribune. I sort of follow election news, trying to keep my cynicism in check. And I follow the […]

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Is Something Bad Going to Happen?

by Rachel Pieh Jones on July 20, 2016

*I am on vacation and so this is a repost from a blog during the early stages of the Syrian refugee crisis. It is sadly still relevant. Is something bad going to happen tomorrow? I mean, is something really bad going to happen tomorrow? Yes. I guarantee it. Maybe not to you. Maybe not where […]

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White Savior Barbie Nails It

by Rachel Pieh Jones on June 15, 2016

Barbie has an Instagram account. In case you’ve missed it, White Savior Barbie goes to Africa where she poses in a variety of absurd scenarios with over-the-top hash tags that perfectly capture the White Savior mentality. Today I woke up to the most unbelievable sight….I have 100 followers! I never imagined when I started this […]

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