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Tuesday March 03, 2015
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International Neighbors at 50

 

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"The man next door mowed his lawn without his shirt!" exclaims a young Japanese woman in dark pants and a fitted white shirt. The others-from Japan, Korea, Israel, Chile, Venezuela, Uruguay, and China-laugh, and several nod in agreement.

For the last five years, I have led a "conversation group" for International Neighbors, a group of volunteers who welcome women from other countries to Ann Arbor. Most of our "guests" are here because their husbands are studying at the U-M or have a job in the area. And they find a few things about American life surprising.

"The portions at the restaurants are so large," another woman says. This time, everyone nods in recognition.

"Workmen come into my house with dirty shoes," complains a young Japanese mother. Back home, they would either remove their shoes or cover them.

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