Kitchen Innovations For the Lackluster Apartment

The very first host family I lived with since being in Timor was located in a subsistence farming community in the mountains. Being that the electricity regularly goes out (hello, candlelit dinner, reading, going to the outhouse…) cooking here is done in a very traditional manner, with a few modern twists. That said, my first … More Kitchen Innovations For the Lackluster Apartment

Identity Crisis

In a previous post, I talked briefly about how Timor’s history of colonialism had drastically affected the meaning of beauty in this country. For about 500 years, Timor-Leste has been controlled by others, and this has influenced their language, customs, and perspectives of other peoples. Almost 20 years since independence, you could call the current … More Identity Crisis

My Dear Host-Mother

We have a saying here in Timor-Leste and it goes like this: “Feto forte, nasaun forte.” It translates to “Strong women, strong nation,” and is a popular phrase blurted out in meetings concerning women and the future of this young country. Many of my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers have heard me talk about my host-mom … More My Dear Host-Mother

The Girls of Ermera

By Marta Gravier Back in the States, I grew up fitting into the standards of beauty mass media of the West has propagated since essentially forever. I was a little ballerina, tall and thin since childhood, with long brown hair, pale skin, and blue eyes. On top of that, I grew up in great neighborhoods … More The Girls of Ermera

The People You Meet

Disclaimer: The content of this blog post does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government, the Peace Corps, or the Timor-Leste Government. Six months ago, in what I thought was the hottest time of year, my newlywed husband and I boarded a series of planes across the world. We had joined the Peace … More The People You Meet