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Postcards From the Edge

October 2017

Meeting 48

by Mat Ward

When alcoholic Mat Ward was told in rehab that he would die if he relapsed, he decided to try to see the world before he died, calling at AA meetings along the way to stop him relapsing. On the 21-country journey that followed, he met Maori headhunters, Aboriginal criminals, Indonesian heroin users, Thai sex addicts, Tamil born-again Christians, New York crack smokers, Himalayan 12-step fanatics and a Galapagos priest who tried to exorcise his drinking demons. Along the way, what he learnt about AA made him question exactly what was killing alcoholics. Here, we join him halfway through the journey – meeting 48, in Tamil Nadu, India. All names have been changed.


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September 2008

Asia Isn't Babel: The Lack of Communication is Cultural, Not Linguistic

By Antonio Graceffo

At 102 stories tall, the Empire State Building was the biggest building in the world from 1931 to 1972. The massive structure was built by immigrants, people who came from all over the world, speaking a sea of languages. The linguistic communication issues in the skyscraper’s construction must have been mind-boggling. And yet, the project was completed in just about one year.

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July 2006

Mosquito Hunting in Japan

By Kevin Krikke

I’m startled awake at the faint light of the night table lamp and the discomforting sound of my wife’s whimpers. Here in earthquake-prone Japan, the first thought that comes to my foggy mind is: “Did she feel tremors?”

But it turns out that for the third night in a row, she’s awakened to discover a goose-egg-size welt growing on her elbow.

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February 2006

Private Parts in a Public Park

By Gillian Bland

Living and teaching in Japan can be many things: usually confusing, sometimes rewarding - one might even go as far to say heartwarming on occasion. It can also be frustrating and trying to the extreme (you try getting the Japanese McDonalds Crew Member to give you an extra BBQ sauce: the official rule of one sauce per one portion of fries - or per half dozen Chicken McNuggets - is strictly adhered to, No Exceptions).

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January 2005

Neh: Learning "No" in Bulgaria

By Bonnie Carlson

It was early on in our posting to Bulgaria. I’d learned a little Bulgarian. I’d tried to get sensitized to Bulgarian ways (though our best is still only our best, right?). I had read all the stuff about Bulgaria that I could find. I wanted to really be in Bulgaria, and not just passing through.

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July 2000

American Junk Food Addict Visits Vienna

By Sara S. Rhodes

David was arriving! We had been looking forward to his visit for six months. We couldn’t wait to show him the sights of Vienna. After all, he was my 11-year-old son’s best friend from the United States.

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