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Love in a Global Village

A Celebration of Intercultural Families in the Midwest

Jessie Carroll Grearson, Lauren B. Smith

Publication Year: 2001

In praise of diversity, Jessie Grearson and Lauren Smith offer Love in a Global Village: A Celebration of Intercultural Families in the Midwest, an account of the triumphs of fifteen intercultural families and the perseverance of their relationships in midwestern America. The couples recount their courtships, their adventures and difficulties, and their individual choices to create families and build lives together despite differences of race, language, religion, and culture.

Welcomed into homes in towns like Kalona, Iowa, and Springfield, Missouri, Grearson and Smith introduce readers to unexpected fusions of culture in middle America. By focusing on small communities where intercultural relationships are exceptions rather than the norm, Smith and Grearson offer affirmation that multicultural households can endure and flourish almost anywhere.

Published by: University of Iowa Press

Front Matter

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pp. ix-x

First, our heartfelt thanks to all of the couples we interviewed, those whose portraits appear here, and those we were unable to include, for giving so generously of their time and their life stories. Without their interest and enthusiasm, we could not have written this book...

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Family Tapestries: An Introduction

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pp. xi-xxi

When we walk into Barb Immermann’s house, we see a gallery of her grandchildren’s photographs crowding the mantelpiece of her rural Iowa home. Three of Barb’s children chose to marry people from other countries, and the diversity of their families is reflected in these pictures. Even at a glance, we can see the panoply of...

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I Spin Around You: Karen & Aria

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pp. 1-18

One of the first things we notice about Karen Holmberg and Aria Minu-Sepehr is how easily they tell us their stories. When they describe how they met, for example, we are interested not only in the exactness of the details they offer but in the collaborative way that they relate those facts to us: if it is Karen who supplies the year they met...

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Family Photograph: Saad & Julie

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pp. 19-31

"It was part of the liberal tradition,” Saad tells us when we ask him about cultural influences on his 1995 wedding. From the beginning of our interview, we have been trying to understand how the two cultures of Saad Elzanati, a Lebanese math professor, and Julie Dalisay, an American graduate student in biology, have been woven into their...

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Part of the Family: Kim & Um

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pp. 32-46

The first time we visit Kim Kranich and Umeeta Sadarangani, we have difficulty finding our way because we are driving after a record snowfall that slows us down considerably and obscures our view of the road. When we arrive, Kim is still out shoveling snow — trying to get...

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Signs: Doug & Katy

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pp. 47-66

When Doug Boynton learned on a bright spring day in 1996 that he had gotten the perfect job — a rare split appointment in history and speech pathology and audiology that fit his eclectic interests exactly while allowing him to live in the same city with his academic spouse — it was not through official...

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Amazing Grace: Diane & Blong

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pp. 67-90

Preparing to visit Diane and Blong Her’s home, we feel a little anxious about finding our way. Their neighborhood is not, they have told us, in the best part of St. Paul, and on the phone Diane was more inclined to give visual landmarks (train tracks, a local grocery store) than specific street names. But it is a clear summer’s...

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Hao Yin (Good Luck): Jim & Jean

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pp. 91-103

Driving up to Jean and Jim Hussey’s house on its quiet Kalona cross street, we find the Husseys sitting together, rocking gently on the porch swing of their home, their children kicking a soccer ball back and forth before them. We park our car in the long driveway in front of an old wooden barn next to the...

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The Quilt: Kathleen & Jat

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pp. 104-120

Kathleen Aluwalia saw her husband, Jat, for the first time as he was briskly rounding a corner in a corridor of the hospital where she worked as a nurse. “He was wearing this purple shirt and an orange tie — he had thrown it over his shoulder, like he was in a big hurry. And I said to myself, ‘Now, there’s the...

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Like Minds: Clara & George

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pp. 121-138

George and Clara Kamats live in a housing development in Ypsilanti, Michigan, between Detroit and Ann Arbor. Theirs is a family-oriented area, built in the leafy Michigan countryside — people on bikes and handmade garage-sale signs everywhere. The couple’s home is relatively new, everything fresh and unsullied. A cathedral living room...

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Seven Seas: Peter & Hueping

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pp. 139-160

When Peter Meidlinger left the United States for Brazil in 1985 after completing a master’s in linguistics at the University of Iowa, he believed he was leaving the academic life altogether. “I’m getting out of this” he recalls thinking, “academia isn’t the right route for me.” So when he returned...

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The World in the Family Room: Don & Marilva

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pp. 161-179

When Don Zeigler was a young man of twenty-five, his romance with Marilva Borges, a girl from small-town Alexandria, in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande de Norte, was of such interest to the villagers that the couple’s decision — to marry, not to marry — was the talk of the town. In fact...

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Kai Loma (Half and Half): George & Violette

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pp. 180-205

When the Peace Corps assigned George Ricketson, then of Fort Worth, Texas, to the country of Fiji, his first reaction was, “Where’s that?” His second reaction, more characteristic of the person we are getting to know, was to promptly find out. Locating the archipelago of Fiji on a map, small bits of...

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Alterations: Janet & Andy

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pp. 206-219

When we first open the door of Janet Ingle’s dress shop in Wauwautosa, Wisconsin, just outside of Milwaukee, we are confused about whom to greet. There are several women who have turned to look at us as the door jingles open. One, an elegant black woman with white hair and a confident...

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Black Is Black: Murtis & Nana

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pp. 220-236

One day, many years ago, Murtis Grant-Acquah was chatting with a white couple, strangers, at a YMCA near her suburban Milwaukee home. They were joking about mundane things, the noise the children in the building made or the hassles of family life. It was the sort of casual camaraderie that can...

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Convergence: Vilma & Tom

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pp. 237-260

When we ask Vilma Seeberg what was most difficult about moving, at twelve, from her childhood home of Hamburg, West Germany, to Washington, D.C., we are not surprised that she tells us it was culture shock, but we are interested to learn that the source of her discomfort had little to do...

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Unveiled: Shirlee

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pp. 261-284

Our first impression of Shirlee Taraki is one of energy: a petite woman with light brown eyes below a fringe of straight gray bangs, Shirlee swings open the door of her apartment immediately on our arrival and welcomes us in briskly, as though there is little time to waste. She begins telling us important stories...

E-ISBN-13: 9781587293306
E-ISBN-10: 1587293307
Print-ISBN-13: 9780877457404
Print-ISBN-10: 0877457409

Page Count: 306
Publication Year: 2001

Edition: 1

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Families -- Middle West -- Case studies.
  • Ethnicity -- Middle West.
  • Intermarriage -- Middle West -- Case studies.
  • Interethnic marriage -- Middle West -- Case studies.
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