Writing a book is never a solo affair. First off, a huge thank you to the ABA team. A huge thanks to Katel LeDû for believing in this book, even when it was just a messy pile of ideas. To Lisa Maria Marquis, for her editorial guidance and honesty (“This is a great start!”), and for staying positive under the weight of all the terrible puns. You took that messy pile of ideas, helped me glue them together, and this is the result. I’m forever grateful.
A number of people who care about this topic kindly offered their advice, and they deserve a huge thank you. Shoutout to Mustafa Kurtuldu and Chappell Ellison for reading my manuscript and offering valuable feedback. Shoutout to Bijan Aryana, Manako Tamura, Tom Illmensee, Daniel G. Cabrero, and Seiko Itakura, for speaking with me during the early research for the book. Shoutout to Ethan Marcotte, for making the introductions that kicked everything off.
Shoutout to all of the people who have supported my design work, my impossible ideas, and occasional flashes of competence: Brian LaRossa, Tim Moore, Pam Green, Derrick Schultz, Amber Butler-Hayes, Rodrigo Sanchez, Raafi Rivero, Maurice Cherry, Able Parris, Lexie Phipps. Shoutout to Denise Jacobs—you helped me get that first speaking gig in New York back in 2012, which, funnily enough, was about cross-cultural design! Big ups to all the fam at the NSS, who constantly push each other to be better writers and to dream. I owe you all. Shoutout to the Constructive crew, for creating things that matter.
My parents deserve a book of their own—for now, this will have to do. They were a force of nature. Mom grew up the child of migrants/immigrants on an orange farm in Central California, became an anesthesiologist, moved to Nigeria, learned Tiv, circumnavigated the globe, married a cute Nigerian pastor, started a hospital with him, raised three creative bookworms, worked at the Benue Leprosy Settlement, started the first occupational rehabilitation practice in Nigeria, beat cancer, and became an artist in Michigan. Dad grew up in a village in central Nigeria, ran away from home to go to the white missionary school, learned English, became a pastor, married a cute American nurse, started a hospital with her, raised three inquisitive kids, became a doctor, ran a seminary, ran a hospital, started an orange farm, wrote a few books, mentored a few generations of pastors, moved around the world a few times…should I go on? I can never live up to their legacy, but I can surely honor that love of travel, discovery, and culture.
To my big sisters—Denenge and Tindi—thank you for encouraging and sustaining my creativity, and for your constant love and support. Shoutout to Dele, my brother and oldest friend. We’ve come a long way. Holla!
Kaori—you are my heart and soul, the center of my world. You have always believed in me, even when there was no evidence that I could actually complete this (or any of my million other projects). I finally did it! Yuma—you fill my world with magic and wonderment. It is a joy to be there as you grow. Daddy loves you so much.
Finally, a huge shoutout to everyone who suffers through my terrible puns. In your honor, here is one of my favorites: A group of termites marches into a saloon. One of them asks: “Is the bar tender here?”