“The Minority Report” by Lonna Lisa Williams (“The Liberal and the Immigrant”)

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It’s easy to say, “Let all immigrants come to America.”  It’s harder living with one.  I have been living with my Armenian/Turkish husband “Jack” for 5 years and 3 months.  We survived Turkey and then China and are now attempting America.  Because of language, cultural, and belief differences, our marriage has been difficult.  He can’t drive a car in the U.S., and a Green Card costs about $2000 plus proof of bank savings, home, job, etc.  We haven’t been able to afford one yet, especially since we used up all our savings when my Mazda 5 minivan was totaled in Houston, and I ended up in Texas Medical Center ICU with a subdural hematoma (bleeding in my brain from slamming into metal, no airbag deployed, seat belt bruising my ribs and pushing the air out of me).  Texas sheriffs blamed me for the accident, though I was the one hit by a speeding Houston driver.

We went back to California after that, in an American car with a high-interest loan, high payments, and increased driving insurance.  We slept in that car in the desert, then headed back toward the mountains where I lived before jumping overseas.  Jack got 3 manual labor jobs in a small town.  He quit one and was fired from the other 2, though his English now is pretty good.  After 5 years of teaching English and Journalism for universities, high schools, and private language schools in Russia, Turkey, and China, I have not been able to find a good job in America.  Nobody really needs an older, experienced English teacher in a country where the first language is English.

I found a job driving delivery for Uber Eats in Los Angeles, but with the one-hour commute from the truck stop where we live in the Inland Valley, I make no profits after gas and bill-paying (and my husband’s share, of course).  Uber pays drivers too little, though we wear out our cars, pay auto insurance, and risk our lives on steep, dark roads in the rain.

Turks love to talk, yell, fight.  Centuries of this aggression genetically infuse my husband.  My American friends don’t understand how much of a cultural difference this is and simply don’t like Jack for yelling too much.  Or maybe they question the high rate of abuse to women that Turkey records each year.

Then we lived with a Liberal couple in our small mountain town about 2.5 hours’ drive from Los Angeles. Continue reading

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Lonna’s Lines: Strange News from around the World (Issue 3, “Homeless in America”)

All of us face challenges.  In America, our challenges are usually not as difficult as people who face civil war in South Sudan, where children walk miles each day just to find a safe place to sleep.  Yet many people think life is easy for Americans. I say, not true. Which do you think was more difficult for this American (Lonna Lisa Williams) to do:

1. Leave my California home in October, 2010 for Russia to teach English because I could not find a job in my own country even though my grandfather graduated from Yale University, was a professor at UNC, and handed the torch of education to my teacher mother and to me. Endure a long winter where I wore chains on my boots to run across the ice that coated every surface.  Teach English to 13-year-olds only to end up speaking and reading in Russian because no one really wanted to speak English and hated America. Even though my grandmother was Russian, I learned their alphabet and simple words as a child, and I look Russia, most people avoided me because I was the “Amerikanka.” Discover that Vodka is easier to get than good tea, Russian food is bland and full of potatoes, and everyone shares alcohol and violence in the 3rd-class wagons of the Russian train from Samara to Moscow. Endure the 17-hour journey with 50 bunks to a wagon, accidentally stepping on a sleeping Russian woman who screamed when I descended from my top bunk. Cry on the trash bin in the back of the wagon. Kiss a Russian stranger between the wagons, in that blessed cold, dark connector, as snow fields slipped past and a full moon shone on frozen rivers. We, Russian and American, kissed without words, like lovers from a war movie who will never meet again, showing how tragedy is really, really Russian and American.

2. Escape Russia in April, 2011 (when snow still brushed the train tracks and no leaves adorned black trees) to fly to Istanbul (abounding with flowers and spicy food); learn a new language; adapt to another culture; teach English again; marry a Turk; cover the 2013 Freedom Protests; get attacked by pepper-spraying police; lose a job for being a Christian (but walk around the corner to get a better one at another private language school); get threatened with death for being a Christian; teach at a Turkish university; and leave for China just before Turkish police showed up to arrest me for a photo I’d published.  Later I wrote 2 journalistic-style Kindle books about Turkey which have not had much recognition. Continue reading

Lonna Sells Her Books

Watch Lonna Lisa Williams sell her books in the California mountains, at Big Bear Lake’s Copper Q Cafe, 2 summers in a row (2014 and 2015).  She should be there again this August, so come meet her and get your signed copy!  In the meantime, please buy her Kindle eBooks for just $2.99.  You can download a free Kindle reader to any smartphone, tablet, or computer.  If you like traditional style, Lonna’s paperbacks are about $10.  Enjoy!

You can buy Lonna’s books here:  http://www.amazon.com/Lonna-Lisa-Williams/e/B006ZISIFU

China’s Valentine’s Day

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This year, Valentine’s Day in China was on the same day as the Lantern Festival which marks the last day of Lunar New Year’s celebrations, so everywhere there were fireworks, red lanterns, and big bouquets of flowers.  Read more about how the Chinese celebrated on Digital Journal.  I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day.  Even if there was no romance in your life, perhaps you experienced true love!  See how I did in my newest book, Fire and Ice.

Writing my Way Home for Christmas

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Jessica as an angel and Jonathan as a gold-crowned king in a California play 2004 

Help me write my way home to see my children in California.  I haven’t seen Jessica (21) and Jonathan (18) in the 3 years I’ve been teaching English overseas.  After I got divorced from their father (who got everything, including them), I couldn’t find a teaching job in America, so I went to Russia in October, 2010.  After 6 frozen months, I flew to Turkey where I lived and taught for 2.5 years.   I met my Turkish husband there.  After nearly getting arrested for writing about the Turkish freedom protests and posting a photo, I went (with my Turkish husband) to teach English in China just 2 months ago.

In all these ups and downs, I’ve been able to support myself.  But I haven’t bought a much-needed new computer (my old Apple laptop is 9 years old and very slow).  I haven’t taken a real vacation.  And I haven’t been able to afford a trip back to Los Angeles to see my children.

From Sunday, November 3 to Sunday, November 10, all 5 of my books are only $.99 (less than a dollar) for Kindle format.  You can pick from my true cancer survival story, travel adventures, science fiction, and fantasy.  Or you could splurge and pay $9.99 for a paperback.  My books encourage people to survive anything, and they make great Christmas presents.  Light can shine in the darkest places.

Please buy one of my books for a friend, think of me, and share my story.

Thank you.  See my books here.

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Jessica, me, and Jonathan in California in 2010 before I left to teach overseas

Delicately Eerie: Woman Haunted by Man

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Here is one of the eeriest photos I ever snapped with a camera.  My daughter Jessica stands in a church, holding a candle, as a mysterious man watches from the background.  Jessica, like me, has been attacked by predatory men.  May Jess be a symbol–a girl bravely holding a candle–a single flame shining in the dark, a delicate resistance.

Read more here.

Angels and Demons

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When I was a teenager, I read The Late, Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey.  It explained Bible prophecy clearly, and when I put the book down, I believed that I would see prophecy fulfilled.

I’m not the only one who thinks that planet earth is heading into its last days.  With overpopulation, pollution, and climate change brought about by an explosion of technology, nature seems to gasp under the weight of civilization.  Films have been made about Doomsday and the End Times, demons and angels battling on the earth, and the significance of Israel and the Middle East in the final battlefield that will come.

From my viewpoint in Turkey, I see these events close-up and worry about the consequences of another war.  I sit in my small Kocaeli apartment and read the ancient prophecies of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.  At night, after listening to the Turkish news report about yet another threat of war, I imagine demons and angels in the corners of my room, small flashes of black or white, spirits roaming the small spaces and wide lands around me, and threats on the horizon–lightning flashing, the moon changing color, stars falling, and Christ coming in the clouds.

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How do I face the struggles of my own life as I teach English in this foreign country and miss my children back in California?  I think of the spiritual armor mentioned in the New Testament:  a helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, belt of truth, boots for sharing God’s Good News.  The Shield of Faith can quench the fiery darts of demons.  The only offensive weapon is the Sword of the Spirit, God’s word.  And surrounding me are prayers like incense, wings of a dove.

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Coke at the Cafe (2 Ways)

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I was sitting alone at a park cafe near the Marmara Sea in Turkey, missing my daughter Jessica who is far away in California.  We used to sit at cafes together near the Pacific Ocean, and I haven’t seen her in almost 3 years since I’ve been teaching English overseas. Soon she will turn 21, and I would like to raise a glass for her step into adulthood.  I sent her a text on my cellphone, said a prayer, and took another photo, this time with a can of coke next to the lonely glass–for her.

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Simply Trying to Sleep in Russia

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The International Airport in Moscow

One of the most amazing nights of my life was spent in a Moscow airport.  It was huge, brightly lit, and shiny, and it provided no place to sleep except in uncomfortable metal chairs where sleep was impossible.  I tried dozing at a 24-hour cafe (spending too much money on food and tea just to sit there), but eventually I found my way down the (probably forbidden) levels of stairs into the basement.

I climbed under the stairs, lay down on my faux fur coat, and simply slept for a few minutes before a woman descended in her noisy heels, and I felt like I must move back into the passenger terminal before I was caught and put into a Russian jail.

Now I know a little how Edward Snowden feels.

Ironically, for $200, I could have slept in a nice hotel-like room complete with shower and television, on the upper floor.  But I barely had enough money to leave Russia after teaching English in Samara for a long, frozen 6 months.

I had missed my flight because I was attacked by an Uzbecki man on the train from Samara.  He tried to wrest my passport from my pocket as his friends watched and laughed.  I was able to escape and run to the Provitnitsa at the other end of the wagon.  She let me hide in her locked compartment while she alerted the Moscow police who met us at the train station and delayed me, my luggage, and the suspect (who ended up deported to a Siberian work camp without a trial).  That’s how I missed my flight and spent a simply sleepless night.

Read more about my Russian adventures in my book, Fire and Ice.

Fire and Ice

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Two of the most intense of the four elements are fire and ice (ice being the frozen form of water).  Touch either with your bare hand, and you will feel their contact.  Journey with me through the fire of a California mountain wildfire, where my cozy life as a rich housewife and mother burned up.  I walked through fire to find a new life teaching English in frozen Russia.  Missing my children, my heart like ice, I learned to walk across the frozen rivers of Samara.  Read about this journey in my “Fire and Ice” book.  Watch my Youtube video that I narrated with my own voice.  Know that you, too, can survive contact with the wildest elements.

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