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10 thoughts on “Between Worlds

  1. Lauren Lauren says:

    In this book author Marilyn R Gardner presents a compelling collection of essays Conversational in tone and rich in descriptive insights Marilyn’s short works unfold an intimate look at moments in her life Each memory is lovingly crafted onto the page and contextualized within the global perspective she has now as an adultMarilyn’s story is special though perhaps not entirely uniue in the community of expats and Third Culture Kids She was born in Massachusetts while her parents were visiting their hometown Within 3 months her family embarked on their journey back across the sea to Karachi Pakistan where she would grow up Later she raised her own family in Pakistan and Egypt Now she has come full circle; she and her husband are based in Cambridge MassachusettsIn her writing Marilyn creates vivid pictures of her years living in Pakistan and Egypt conveying nostalgia for a time and place that can never be repeated Yet she has also found community and a sense of home in the bustling cities along the East Coast of America Her heart is torn between two very different lives but grounded in her love of her family and friends “Every good story has a conflict Never being fully part of any world is ours That is what makes our stories and memories rich and worth hearing We live between worlds sometimes comfortable in one sometimes in the other but only truly comfortable in the space between This is our conflict and the heart of our story” Marilyn writesI recommend this book wholeheartedly to anyone who loves memoir as this is a truly beautiful example I also recommend this book to readers interested in gaining a global perspective on life in the Middle East cultural competency or expat life You can learn about Marilyn and her writing by visiting her blog at wwwcommunicatingacrossboundariesblog

  2. Alyssa Yoder Alyssa Yoder says:

    I cried a lot reading this book It helped me heal and helped answer some of my uestions about calling and identity and belonging I felt so seen so connected in ways I don't often feel in the expat world even though Marilyn and I are uite different I wish I would have read it years earlier I highly recommend this to any expat or to anyone who is heading overseas

  3. Mitch Mitch says:

    fabulous very much want to read passages through pakistan

  4. Angelyn Vaughan Angelyn Vaughan says:

    35 starsI didn't realize that this book was about being an adult Third Culture Kid so I was expecting to read about living overseas in general I still enjoyed the stories and filed away some wisdom for raising kids abroad I would imagine this book resonates clearly with its target audienceThe book wasn't edited well which didn't bother me It did bother me that it occasionally reads as if no one else experiences grief awkwardness or instability except TCKs While they definitely experience of these things than most people I wonder how many read her words and think that others can't be empathetic or that they don't need to be empathetic themselves I wish she had recommended that TCKs seek support from ualified professionals when they struggle rather than bearing those struggles as a badge of honor that sometimes cripples themRegardless it's an enjoyable read with interesting perspectives on faith and travel and will probably be helpful for me in parenting a TCK in the future

  5. Wes F Wes F says:

    Great stuff from a TCK perspective Engaging reflective realistic poignant insightful and especially helpful encouraging for one who has grown up between worlds I want all my kids to read this book Great job Marilyn

  6. Kristin Kristin says:

    An excellent read for all but especially for those who have lived cross culturally or call than one location on earth home

  7. Tim Hoiland Tim Hoiland says:

    One of my favorite uotes from Eugene H Peterson a writer whose work I devour comes from the foreword to a book he didn’t write called Sidewalks in the Kingdom “I find that cultivating a sense of place as the exclusive and irreplaceable setting for following Jesus is even difficult than persuading men and women of the truth of the message of Jesus” Peterson a longtime pastor writes “God’s great love and purposes for us are worked out in the messes in our kitchens and backyards in storms and sins blue skies daily work working with us as we are and not as we should be and where we are and not where we would like to be”I’ve resonated with those words ever since reading them a decade ago At the time I was living and working in downtown Lancaster Pennsylvania a city I had come to love I was that guy who walked everywhere he could including work – noticing cracks in the sidewalks graffiti on the backs of street signs potted plants on stoops I was the guy who hung out in locally owned coffee shops and stopped by the farmer’s market on Tuesdays Fridays and Saturdays I was that guy with the “I Heart City Life” bumper sticker on the back of his car I belongedBut I was simultaneously also an outsider similar in certain ways with the refugees I served in my job as a caseworker While one of my friends from Lancaster can trace his family’s roots in the area back 13 generations my family had only settled there in 1998 We were transplants newbies And although we could speak the language and look the part we hadn’t come from a neighboring county or somewhere like New Jersey We had come from Guatemala a land so utterly mysterious that stories from our life there tended to draw blank staresWhen I eventually got married and moved across the country to Arizona I sensed in some of my Pennsylvania friends an attitude of inevitability the idea that Lancaster was or less just a layover for me albeit a 13 year one between Guatemala and wherever I was off to next Perhaps in some ways they were right – so than this nomad realized at the timeNeedless to say the idea of place is a complicated one for people like me And by people like me I mean third culture kids – those of us who have spent formative years in a culture other than that of their parents It’s for that reason that I feel an immediate connection to others who have grown up between cultures even if I know virtually nothing about the specific context of their upbringing and they know little of mine That’s also why I so appreciate reading the stories of other TCKs like the ones Marilyn Gardner shares in her book Between Worlds Essays on Culture and Belonging“Third culture kids have stories Their stories are detailed and vibrant Stories of travel between worlds of cross cultural relationships and connections of grief and of loss of goodbyes and hellos and goodbyes” Gardner writes “Every good story has a conflict Never being fully part of any world is ours This is what makes our stories and memories rich and worth hearing We live between worlds sometimes comfortable in one sometimes in the other but only truly comfortable in the space between This is our conflict and the heart of our story”Gardner herself grew up in Pakistan spending formative years living far from her parents at a boarding school As an adult she finds herself feeling nostalgic about the taste and smell of chai tea shopping for a shalwar kameez at the bazaar and waking up before dawn to the sound of the call to prayer – just as I experience nostalgia for the taste of tortillas and tamalitos made over an open fire the intoxicatingnauseating smell of dust and diesel looking at you Bruce Cockburn and family visits to Lago de Atitlán the most beautiful lake in the worldGardner captures the importance of sharing these memories with anyone who will listenThe I hear from immigrants refugees and third culture kids the I am convinced that communicating our stories is a critical part of adjusting to life in our passport countries We have a lifetime of experiences that when boxed up for fear of misunderstanding will result in depression and deep pain As we tell our stories we realize that these transitions and moves are all a part of a bigger narrative a narrative that is strong and solid and gives meaning to our lives As we learn to tell our stories we understand not only the complexity of our experience but the complexity of the human experience the human heart So we learn to tell our stories – because your story my story and our stories matterBetween Worlds may not be a book for everyone It will certainly resonate most deeply with my fellow TCKs Then again we all live in an increasingly mobile uprooted age Few of us will spend our entire lives in one place Whether it’s for school or a job or a relationship most of us will move and moving from one place to another means learning to live between worldsNone of this it should be said diminishes the importance and value of place The places we live matter – all of them even if we carry many places with us in our hearts With Peterson I can wholeheartedly affirm that the place where we are right now is the “exclusive and irreplaceable setting” for becoming the kind of people we were made to beBeing able to trace your family line 13 generations back in the place you were born and raised is a beautiful thing and it’s natural to envy a story like that But that’s not my story; it’s probably not your story either That’s why rather than seeing my life as a story marked by deprivation – deprived of one place and one people to which I unambiguously belong – I’ve chosen to see my life as one enriched by a kaleidoscope of people and places each one beautiful each one irreplaceable in its uniueness

  8. Jen Chile Jen Chile says:

    So relatableAs someone who lived outside of her passport country underwent reentry and left again this time bringing children this deeply resonated I derived meaning not just for myself but also my children who insist they are from Egypt They’ve been here since 14 months old so I guess there’s some truth there This looks at the expatTCK experience through the lens of a TCKmissionary kid who also took her children abroad I really enjoyed

  9. Nicole Nicole says:

    I can't say enough good things about this book To anyone who moved a lot lived overseas has a loved one who's lived overseas has returned from living someplace very different or just an American kid of divorce bouncing between worlds THIS IS YOUR BOOKIt covers everything from preparing to leave to reentry struggles The author's story telling style is ready to read WARNING You may end up highlighting so many things that you decide to tag it again

  10. Saleh Saleh says:

    For the one whose heart is set on pilgrimage goodbyes add up So when she comes to you don’t ask her where she’s from or what’s troubling her Ask her where she’s lived Ask her what she’s left behind Open doors And just listen

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Between Worlds Between Worlds will resonate with those who have lived outside of their passport country as well as those who have not These essays explore the rootlessness and grief as well as the unexpected moments of humor and joy that are a part of living between two worlds Between Worlds charts a journey between the cultures of East and West the comfort of being surrounded by loved ones and familiar places and the loneliness of not belonging Every one of us has been at some point between two worlds be they faith and loss of faith joy and sorrow birth and death Between Worlds is a luminous guide for connecting and healing worlds Cathy Romeo co author Ended Beginnings Healing Childbearing Losses