Rachel Pieh Jones

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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Upside Down Dependency

by Rachel Pieh Jones on March 15, 2019

Humanitarians often talk about the issue of dependency and how to avoid creating it. The whole: teach a person to fish scenario. What if the conversation is backward? What if the person at risk of developing the dependency is the humanitarian? Humanitarians need the local person to be needy. We need a job, we need […]

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Moral Injury

by Rachel Pieh Jones on February 15, 2019

I first learned the term “moral injury” in a Plough magazine article by Michael Yandell, Hope in the Void. He quoted authors Rita Nakashima Brock and Gabriella Lettini who say moral injury, “comes from having transgressed one’s basic moral identity and violated core moral beliefs…Moral injury destroys meaning and forsakes noble causes. It sinks warriors […]

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A Blessing on Your Life Overseas

by Rachel Pieh Jones on December 17, 2018

I’ve walked through darkness this year. In the lowest moments, a friend sent me blessings every day. I started reading John O’Donohue’s To Bless the Space Between Us. I am now sending blessings to someone I love dearly, to walk with her through her own dark days. My brother is getting married to a woman […]

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