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''Don't Forget the Peanut Butter, George''

Fun and Funny Times Abroad

This book combines the tale of a family with 3 children “growing up together” while living abroad for a period of 19 years in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia with the story of conducting business in many different countries with their cultures across the globe. When on “assignment” abroad the family aspects and business life are often intermingled. This story addresses the family life initially which explains further the title of the book and then covers many important aspects of business success abroad and the lessons learned through multiple experiences in different lands. Family Tale The opportunity of a lifetime began when Brad and Mary Lesher along with the first two of their ultimately three child family packed up in Baltimore, Maryland and left for Tehran, Iran. This was a rather substantial “jump” in cultures for a first time foreign assignment. It turned out to be a magnificent experience, however, for at that time the general population in Iran was very friendly to foreigners and to Americans in particular. The climate in the country was spectacular for a rainy year would mean more than 5 days of precipitation that year. Tehran is at 5000 feet elevation like Denver, Colorado and the mountains surrounding the city were 14,000 feet resulting in the city being overlooked by blue skies and snow caps 8 months of the year. By the middle of our five year tenure in Iran the family was well immersed in local customs and culture. It was at this time that the Leshers began to realize that in living overseas how important it is to absorb local culture while in parallel remaining true also to your background and beliefs. In other words “enjoy the best of both worlds- don’t isolate yourself on American habits exclusively or “go native.” This became the tenet of their lives for all 19 years abroad and each of the family members adhere to that belief today. Further to the above point they believed in enjoying as much of the local foods as possible wherever they have lived. In the case of Iran there were many good dishes. The Persian melons are truly unique in the world, for instance. This brings us to the title of this book. As any expatriate assignee in a foreign land will tell you after a period of several years a family develops a craving for some of the “good old specialties of home.” This is true whether you are stationed in far off lands or even in the culinary capital of the world, Paris. In particular, the kids miss some of their old standbys. For Americans the “King” is Peanut Butter, for the French its Cheeses, the Germans Gherkins and Sausages and the Aussies their Vegamite. Since this entire book has many humorous incidents included in it, the author chose as an appropriate title the last words an American expatriate businessman might hear as he goes out the door to fly back to the U.S. for a meeting at home headquarters, as his wife exclaims “Don’t Forget the Peanut Butter, George!” After five delightful years in Tehran the Lesher family reluctantly left Iran and moved to Paris along with their newly arrived third child. The first two children were 8 and 5 respectively and began their elementary education at the American School of Paris. The family lived not far from Versailles and weekends were spent extensively on picnics at many beautiful and historic sites in the Paris environs. This established a solid base of experience in France and an introduction to French culture. After the four years of this assignment it was determined that it was time to return to the U.S. after having been abroad more than 8 years in total between Iran and France. The return to the states at this point was a good experience for it gave the family a chance to establish some more solid roots in the U.S. particularly since the children had been so young earlier and never had developed a U.S. base. They bought a house in Westport, Connecticut, which they owned for twenty years but only lived in for ten of those years due to further foreign a

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