Friday, April 1, 2011


She follows her children around the playground, and offers water to them. She inhales the spring air, and calls out sharply as her youngest climbs too high.

The other women listen to her.

They listen to her one-sided conversations. They note the way her words sound different.

The way her words rise, fall and shift. The slightly different syllable stress. Different vowels.

The different phrases. Intonation.

She is from somewhere else, far away.

The other women wonder where she is from, but they do not ask her.

They also have children to follow, and are busy. Engaging, suggesting, empathising with one another. Cooing. Laughing.

Perhaps they feel too shy to ask her, or embarrassed that they don't recognise her accent.

They stop wondering, and resume their chatting.


I used to be amongst those other women.

Not now.

I am the one they observe.


  1. They are pondering exactly who is that Scottish/Irish/Russian bombshell with the two stunningly perfect looking daughters.

    The levity of my response belies my admiration of your succinct explanation of what it means to feel like an outsider.

  2. I love this post Mad...beautifully written.

  3. Thanks, lovelies.

    I'm actually okay with it most of the time. I do my own company quite well.

    However, I had a brilliant mothers group in Sydney and made some wonderful friends. There are days where I really miss our catch ups, and watching the kids play together.

  4. Awesome. Seriously lovely piece of writing, MJ.

  5. This was me, when I lived in the UK. Often, this is still me, back in California, cause I'm not from here either. And, truthfully, the other mommy's/granny's in our neighborhood are not either, thought most of them seem to have a common background.

    I should learn Chinese, I'm not sure which one is being spoken.

  6. Truth be told, with where we live, it probably wouldn't hurt for me to learn Armenian... can't see that happening, though.