Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun...

Reflections on Crossing Cultures



A Day in the Life of an American Emigrant (January 30, 2012) Some of the articles and comments I've been reading about overseas Americans leave me shaking my head in disbelief. Americans in the homeland seem to think that I spend my days plotting to escape taxes as I sip my wine in a plush Parisian bistro. I thought it might be instructive to open the "volets" (shutters) and give a glimpse of how one American emigrant in France spends her day.

Foreigner's Rights When Traveling Abroad (January 6, 2012) Know before you go.  A focus on something that all of us who travel or reside abroad ought to understand: our rights if we are arrested and detained (or jailed) in a country outside of our home countries.

Fairy Tales (December 17, 2011) Why I hate most books about living in France. Moving to France or any other country does not mean that the normal rules of life cease to apply. Things happen and they are not always good...

Local Knowledge (September 25, 2011) When a migrant arrives in a new country the natives often make assumptions about what newcomers already know and what they will need need to learn based on stereotypes about their country of origin.

A Thought Experiment about Illegal Immigration (September 26, 2011)  How would you react if you were in a foreign country and discovered a fellow-citizen of your home country in an "irregular situation?"

The People Paradox of Globalization (June 13, 2011) Goods and capital are highly mobile, people are less so. Not all migrants, however, face the same challenges...

The Migration Equation (August 15, 2011) A few of the factors I thought of that go into evaluating the decision to migrate.

Casting Errors (July 19, 2011)  A few words about people I meet who I think are horribly out of sync with their culture of origin. These are not necessarily rebels - on the contrary many of them go to extraordinary lengths to try to fit, but they don't. The people around them are singing in the key of C but everything in their hearts wants to sing in C#.

Love Where You're From but Bloom Where You're Planted (April 16, 2011)  Why I love Seattle and also why I most likely will never return "home."

Cultural Scripts (July 29, 2011) How I have experienced the "shopping script" in France, Japan and the U.S.

Taxi Blues (July 10, 2011) An encounter with a French taxi driver in a very bad mood.

Countries of Immigration are also Countries of Emigration (April 19, 2011) Some figures on emigration from various countries:   France, U.S., U.K. and Canada.

French Feminism:  Seduction and the Cultural Exception (June 29, 2011)  A report on a fascinating exchange between the American historian Joan Scott and some French feminists.

The Turbulence of Migration (February 11, 2011) Nikos Papastergiadis' book, The Turbulence of Migration - rethinking  migration in the context of globalization.

Alien (January 31, 2011) This is the question I ask myself: if I had stayed in the US and not moved to France in my early 20’s, would I be today, at 45, fundamentally the same person with the same character and personality? Are the changes that come with integration/assimilation so deep that whatever it is that makes me an individual is someone radically different from the hypothetical person I would have been if I stayed home?

Immigrant Rage (January 13, 2011) The dark side of integration/assimilation. "Immigrant Rage" is a state of high sensitivity where any innocuous statement can set you off because you feel fragmented and lost when all you really want is to feel “normal”.

Where I Sit (September 9, 2008)  The very first post I wrote for the Flophouse.











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