Tuesday, December 4, 2012

20 Questions: Naoma Lee

Naoma Lee

The writer, educator, mother of three adores life abroad, especially the parts that emphasize what is most important to her: family, friends, and community.

Maandazi or Dunkin' Donuts? 
Dunkin' Donuts (how on earth do you know about Maandazi?)  I have my sources ;)

What do friends and family back home say about your choice of lifestyle?
They are all very proud of us, although they miss us quite a bit.

What's the loveliest thing you've experienced at post?  

Attending weddings and funerals of local friends (being invited in to their celebrations and mournings)

The scariest?
Having our car broken into multiple times in a short period of time.

What is one thing you have learned from each of the different cultures among which you have lived?
Uganda: Mi bambino es su bambino.  Don't be surprised to have your kids taken from you by well meaning strangers (they won't go far . . .).

Macedonia: There's always time for coffee.  (Meaning, people matter and time spent lingering builds good relationships).

Kenya: Harambee works.  (Harambee=together we can. It's social banking at it's core and it keeps the country afloat).

You have the best chefs from all of the places you've lived in your kitchen right now.  What are you having for dinner?
Butter chicken and garlic naan.  (But for lunch I had 5 Guys and a big bag of fries.  It's hypothetical which is calorie free).

How many degrees of separation are there between you and Steven Spielberg?

What is some advice you would give to someone just starting out or considering this lifestyle?
You need to maintain an open mind, open heart and open hand mentality in order to fully enjoy all that this lifestyle can offer.

How do you socialize at post?
I have a small but close knit core group of girlfriends and our families spend a lot of time together socializing at one another's homes (with kids) or dining out, etc. with grown ups only on occasion. 

If you had to evacuate in 12 hours, what are three things you would take with you (besides clothes, toiletries, and your family)?
(assuming this is hypothetical and that my hypothetical suitcase can accommodate sizable and cumbersome objects...)
Kenya: Carved wooden chest and framed paintings we have. 

What is the one thing you wish you could have taken with you from each of the countries you've lived?
Uganda:  Our church.  We attended a church that was 80% Ugandan and was a really special community for us.

Macedonia:  Cases of wine and ajvar. (And the 4 seasons).

Kenya:  The coast.  We love Kenyan beaches more than any other in the world.

You have 2 free round-trip tickets to anywhere in the world.  Where will you go? 
(Can I have 5?)  If only 2, but assuming my parents will come be with the kids, I'd say Belgium (Brugge) or Istanbul.

Would you rather be on a 14 hour flight or have 3 layovers? 
14 hours.  No doubt.

What is one book everyone should read? 
(One??? How to choose . . . ?)  The Bible.  After that "The Water Is Wide" by Pat Conroy

Real books or e-books? 
Tough choice!  For this period in life, e-books.

You and a shopping cart can be beamed into Target for 5 minutes.  What would you put in your cart before Scottie beams you back to Kenya? 
The entire Health and Beauty section (toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste, lip gloss, hair color, diapers . . . etc, etc. etc.)

What is one thing you miss the most from your home country? 
(Other than family...?)
Convenience. (Followed closely by: Familiarity. Smells ~ flowers, the beach, rain, home).

Where is home? 
Wherever we are all together.  (And if I had my choice, we'd be all together in California more often . . .).

How would you title your autobiography? 
Lees On The Go ~ A Life Lived and Loved Abroad
Would you do it all over again?

Follow Naoma's amazing journey at


  1. Oh, my. I'm blushing. Thank you, The Spouse for such a focus on just little ol' me. Looking forward to reading your highlighted other spouses-of-interest.


    1. Naoma,
      You've done amazing things! I don't think we give ourselves enough credit, so I'm going to give it! Thank you so much!


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