Category Archives: Milestones

Women Make the World Go Round

Traveling the world, one gets the sense that the treatment of women may be the most dramatic cultural difference from country to country.  It would be easy for one to generalize that women are treated with more respect and dignity in more developed, economically advanced societies, but unfortunately, that is not always the case.  I have found that there is usually something positive to be learned from nearly every society’s approach to women, even if it is not so obvious, as was the case in the countries of the Persian Gulf where I lived and worked.  I have also found that nearly every society, no matter how developed, is lacking in some way or another in its appreciation of women, their place in society, the dignity they should be afforded, etc.  This may be partly due to my bias on the subject and partly due to the fact that there is no monolithic, “correct” approach to gender issues that spans the globe and humanity.  But I can certainly speak to the women of my family and the importance they hold in my life and the life of my other male relatives.

It’s easy in a family like mine to under-appreciate the value of the women in our lives.  It is not because of any shortage of women, they are the dominant sex by numbers in every living generation.  But possibly, for that very reason, it has become easier to cloister ourselves, as men, in our own little world of male ignorance and ineptitude.  I do not want to give the wrong impression of my family, because we are not a family that disrespects women and we certainly do not view their place in the family or society differently than the average American family, but that just might be the problem.  Where does the average American family place a woman’s value and importance in the family and society?  These thoughts are more acute now as I watch as my wife manages pregnancy with brilliance and poise.

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Rather than answer the fluid question above, I would rather focus for a moment on what I know.  I have been married for nearly two years now, and my wife has given my life the missing sauce.  Yes, that’s right, I am like tasteless pasta.  I have come to appreciate the women in my life in a different, more complex way now that I am married and expecting a child.  They challenge us to think differently, colorfully is probably the best way to describe it, and without the cold ordered insensitivity that rules our thoughts.  I guess I should not use the pronoun “us” too loosely, as my feelings and thoughts on this subject are likely not those of “us” men as a whole.  But what has brought me to this gender-based topic is the flurry of life events my family has experienced in recent years.  From pregnancies, as mentioned before, to surgeries, career changes to engagements, and unfortunately, even death, our family has had its share of, “Oh wow! Seriously?” moments.  Each of these moments has been punctuated by the magnificence of the women in my family.

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Self-portraits in the Third-Life

Cloud Gate (aka the bean)

Cloud Gate (aka the bean)

It’s been more than a while since I have drafted anything on my blog, and I like to think that there is good reason for that.  My wife and I have bought a house, are expecting a baby, and have just completed a strenuous 6-month intensive Spanish-language course. What did I do to celebrate having survived some of the most wonderfully consuming months of my life? I decided to ditch town (thank you sweetheart) for a weekend and head to Chicago to meet up with some of my closest friends before we have a baby and move to Honduras.

Life has a way of pushing and pulling you in directions that lead you further and further from your closest friends of yesteryear.  First you graduate college, the place where many these friendships form.  Being that it is somewhat rare for “young professionals” to stay in the city where they graduate — at least for very long — inevitably, you find yourself on opposite sides of a country nearly the size of Europe.  Soon you realize that the real world has prevented you from maintaining these friendships in a meaningful way, since doing so means trekking across France, Germany, all of Eastern Europe to Moscow to reach them, and with the notable exceptions of bachelor parties, weddings, and chance encounters, the 15 days or so most young people get off a year is just not enough to provide time to meet up with these close friends with any regularity.  Or is it? Continue reading

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That, my friends, is the number of miles I have driven on an island a little more than three times the size of Washington DC. In a year and a half I have traversed a distance equal to driving across the state of Texas more than 11 times! It’s no small feat, especially considering that nearly all of the island’s population is concentrated in the northern third of its territory and due to security concerns more than half of that area is not recommended for exploration.  Thankfully, the gasoline is so wonderfully subsidized that it’s practically free.  There is some solace to be found in this seemingly crazy number of miles traveled over the course of a year-and-a-half by motor vehicle: it is actually a very small amount of miles to be traveled over the course of a year-and-a-half by motor vehicle.

The Tree of Life: the jewel of Bahrain’s deep south.

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