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i’ll keep you warm

My best friend, in Europe for the first time, wanted to buy a pair of sunglasses at Chanel.  We’d have four short days in Paris, a city she had always dreamed of visiting and, arguably, the very Mecca of fashion. Forget the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame: we had a mission. The very first morning, Google informed us that…

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you still have to go under

In October 2012, six months before we would decide to place our daughter in a therapeutic boarding school, my husband and I took both kids to Oman. Make sure you go diving, my sister had urged; the dive sites in Oman are world-class. My fear of the ocean, I’d told her, is world-class. It wasn’t our first conversation about it.  My…

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freckled bananas

Excited to plan our first real family getaway after the move to Saudi, we decided to rent a lake cottage in Sri Lanka, a half-mile inland along the island’s southwestern coast. I found the place online, and made the reservations. Minutes after I booked, the owner called me herself. I was new to this expat thing; I didn’t expect the barrage of questions.…

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making peace with chaos

“You can’t still be going, what with all that stuff on the news lately.”  Cue uncomfortable pause on the line. “And isn’t Egypt kind of… ‘third world’?  I mean, why do you keep picking places like that?” Fast forward to the last afternoon of three November days in Cairo, with a quick morning trip to Alexandria squeezed in.  We’ve zipped through…

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the truman show: life on an oil compound

The clocks won’t keep time here.  Six little words that sum up life on the compound, actually. After a while, it starts to feel like an ongoing debate your house is having with… itself.   The cordless phone claims 3:20, but the stove clock counters with 3:26.  The microwave, diplomatically, suggests splitting the difference at 3:23, while the alarm clock maintains they’re all…

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rearranging (head)space

So far, willful engagement with the writing life feels much like rearranging furniture.  Every day, I shuffle my headspace around, trying to see what works.  What gets the words down in a first draft, and at a rate I’m satisfied with? What budges my inertia around revision, that awkward time when I’ve now learned what my story is truly about, but seem…

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the other men in my life

Cap and I have taken to referring to life here on the compound as ‘our little alternate reality’. This is short for our shared awareness of getting on a plane a fortnight ago, expecting our wheels to set down in a new country… and somehow landing in a whole new universe. It looks, smells, and sounds like small-town Americana, it’s…

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