Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging
In the hall of an old inn by the ocean is a sign that reads ‘Home is Where Our Story Begins.’ But if home is where our story begins, what happens when we can’t go back?
Marilyn Gardner was raised in Pakistan and went on to raise her own five children in Pakistan and Egypt before moving to small town New England. 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.
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Rachel Pieh Jones, Co-founder of Girls Run 2 Africa. wrote:
To read this remarkable collection of essays is to journey with Marilyn Gardner between the worlds of East and West, home and not-feeling-like-home, touching with her the boundaries of culture, the inspirations of faith, and the comforts of loved ones. Her stories are compelling and unforgettable. And while her essays will instantly resonate with those, like Marilyn, who have lived between worlds, they speak volumes to those like me who have not. 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.
Laura Merzig Fabrycky, The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation & Culture wrote:
Between Worlds is a kaleidoscope of memory and family, grief and celebration. Marilyn explores the experience of both being and raising a Third Culture Kid and raises topics that will serve as valuable conversation starters among expatriate families and organizations. Especially for TCKs, this book will read like a homecoming and offers the gift of multiple ‘me too’ moments. For anyone living ‘between worlds,’ this is a treasure trove of wisdom and perspective from a talented writer.
Tayo Rockson, Founder of Tayorockson.com wrote:
Drawn from her honest, penetrating blog writings, Marilyn Gardner's Between Worlds invites us into her memories with loving hospitality, connecting the various and vivid threads of her fascinating life without over-sentimentalization. She is a wise raconteur, knowing that memories are living, formative things. Her richly evocative descriptions of the places that have formed her engage every sense (and will likely leave one a bit thirsty for chai), and the book is delightfully adorned with her daughter's pen drawings. Throughout her essays, Marilyn presses in on the questions with which every human soul wrestles, particularly our God-given desire to belong, and to live securely and coherently with oneself and others. In a world that has grown ever more globally connected, her recollections engage us all to think through how 'God uses place' – and, at times, acute feelings of displacement – to make us into the people we are. Adult third culture kids will find in Marilyn a compassionate, empathetic friend, and anyone who has lived 'between worlds' will appreciate her gentle approach to the more disorienting facets of a globally nomadic lifestyle.
This is a great coming of age story that any TCK will be able to connect to. Marilyn takes her readers on a constant journey between the Middle East and the United States and paints vivid pictures of the adventures and trials of her nomadic life. At the end of the book, you are left with a sense of hope and comfort in the realization that home is a fluid concept and that that is completely fine. She captures the heart and essence of what being a TCK is. A person of many homes and one home at the same time.