Rachel Pieh Jones

COVID-19 and the Expatriate

by Rachel Pieh Jones on March 16, 2020

Twelve years ago, I started writing a novel. I’m terrible at fiction and the novel didn’t get very far. But now, I wish I written the darn thing anyway. The world faced a massive and unstoppable disease. Borders closed. Flights stopped. The economy crashed.  Seemingly overnight, Americans like myself found themselves as refugees in the […]

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The International Traveler in the Domestic Terminal

by Rachel Pieh Jones on February 12, 2020

*a version of this was first published at Babble, in 2014. When you are the international traveler in the domestic terminal, you look and smell really bad. Everyone else has just come from home or one other connection. You left home twenty-five hours ago and have already endured three or four airports. Your kids are […]

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Serving As the Broken

by Rachel Pieh Jones on January 15, 2020

Have you ever noticed that the people the Western church tends to send abroad for service appear to be overwhelmingly healthy? Where I live, I have never met someone living and serving internationally for an NGO, humanitarian organization, or faith-based group who used a wheelchair. I have never met a deaf or blind Christian pastor. […]

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How to Help Our Kids Say Healthy Goodbyes

by Rachel Pieh Jones on December 13, 2019

My kids have to say a lot of goodbyes. We live in Djibouti but my husband and I are both from Minnesota. Our family spends some summers in Minnesota and when we leave Africa, we have to say goodbye to friends and coaches and teachers. Then, come August, when we return to Africa, we have […]

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One Thing I Want to Tell Third Culture Kids

by Rachel Pieh Jones on November 15, 2019

This week a university student and I connected over Skype to talk about Third Culture Kids. She is one, working on a really cool project about TCKs, and I’m the mom of three.  We talked about how valuable things like courage, vulnerability, and curiosity are. We talked about the gift that I believe TCKs are […]

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The Role of the Family Abroad

by Rachel Pieh Jones on October 15, 2019

I’m on a whirlwind trip in the USA and am not going to waste your precious reading time with blathering nonsense that I summon through the mist of jet lag and book stuff, combined with medical stuff because When in the USA Thou Shall See the Doctor is one of the commandments for people living in the developing […]

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To Joyfully Be Manure

by Rachel Pieh Jones on September 16, 2019

Annalena Tonelli was an Italian catholic who spent 34 years working among Somali nomads with tuberculosis in Kenya, Somalia, and Somaliland. Stronger than Death: How Annalena Defied Terror and Tuberculosis in the Horn of Africa is her biography, a story of courage, radical love, and crossing religious and cultural boundaries. The very first piece I […]

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15 Strange Habits I Picked Up Overseas

by Rachel Pieh Jones on August 16, 2019

Living abroad changes a person. Here are some examples. No shoes in the house. People in Minnesota tell me to make myself at home and leave my shoes on. I struggle. I want to take them off. In Djibouti there could be goat/camel/sheep/human poop on those shoes, or road kill juice, or simply a lot of […]

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Dear American Church

by Rachel Pieh Jones on July 18, 2019

Dear American Church, Sometimes I feel cynical about you. This should not sound surprising, especially coming from an expatriate. I haven’t engaged deeply with you in almost sixteen years. My ‘church’ has been a motley crew of people from all nations and all denominations and all manner of theological bent in terms of eschatology, gender […]

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Expatriate, Immigrant, Racist?

by Rachel Pieh Jones on June 18, 2019

I’ve always assumed I’m an expatriate (this is not an ex-patriot or an ex-pat or an ex-patriate). A few years ago an article called this into question, and the conversation is ongoing. The Guardian published Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants? I regularly hear from people concerned that I call […]

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15 Things I Want to Tell Graduating Third Culture Kids

by Rachel Pieh Jones on May 15, 2019

Originally published on Djibouti Jones You can always come home. Home might not be this house but home is always this family. Come rejoicing, come weeping, come whole, come broken, come lonely, come with packs of friends, come in silence, come and spill it all. This table, meaning the table I’ve set in my heart […]

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A Letter to the Grandparents of My Third Culture Kids

by Rachel Pieh Jones on April 15, 2019

*originally published at Djibouti Jones. I remember telling you we were pregnant. We had spaghetti because that’s what you served your parents when you announced each pregnancy. I requested it, but you cooked it because I already felt sick. And so, almost before I told you, you knew. I remember telling you we were pregnant […]

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