1. Annika Vandevelde
    Annika Vandevelde February 5, 2022 at 8:52 am | | Reply

    Dear Erica,
    Thank you so much for this episode.
    I’m annika, Helenas mum. I laughed and I cried with the episode, and most of all, I’m so grateful of what you did. I think you captured the essence of Helenas ‘struggle’ and who she is in just 20 minutes. That’s amazing.
    The talking, laughter, music etc in the background, and her (their) story on top of it, it is great.
    I’ve listened twice and I heard a lot more the second time. The first time I was just overwhelmed,I think.
    Thank you very much,

  2. Michael Albrecht
    Michael Albrecht February 5, 2022 at 10:23 am | | Reply

    This was a beautiful portrait. I found myself longing for Belgium right along with Helena despite never having been there.

  3. Gregorio
    Gregorio February 9, 2022 at 8:18 am | | Reply

    Your latest episode featuring Helena’s experience with cognitive and emotional dissonance between life in Europe and life here in the states really hit home for me. In my early 20s I lived in a small village outside of Bangalore, India teaching ESL at a rural high school. The very last week of that experience I met a Swiss woman and to truncate the story, wound up following her back to Basel, CH where she was from. For the next three years I lived there and went through an intense time of reckoning with the cultural and logistical differences. ( many positive, some negative )

    Towards the end of that relationship, we attempted to live in Somerville/Cambridge which was where I could best function as a professional musician. In Helena’s story, I found many echoes of my swiss girlfriend’s observations and difficulties about American life, which I could/can very much relate to. It has left a legacy that to this day, almost 20 years later, still creates a feeling of being a refugee in your own country. Not to appropriate the bone seriousness of that word, refugee, but once you’ve experienced this, it is near impossible to ignore… the feeling that for all of the things one can be thankful for here, there is the knowledge that there are better ways, saner ways, to live, saner things to focus one’s time and values on…. It is very difficult to fully convey this to other americans that have not had it. I feel very thankful for this, even though it’s a melancholy and confusing thorn in the side at times.


  4. Melissa Zafarana
    Melissa Zafarana February 24, 2022 at 12:32 am | | Reply

    Loved this, Erica – I am really enjoying your podcast!

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