, , , “Stranger in a Strange Land - Part 1”

Our podcast today was recorded in front of a live audience on March 18, 2019, to a sold-out crowd at The Wilma in Missoula, MT. 8 storytellers shared their true personal story on the theme “Stranger in a Strange Land”. Today we hear from four of those storytellers.


Mike Jakupcak, who moves to Missoula from Illinois and has culture shock adjusting to life out West.


“Missoula: My First and Last Best Place”

Mike Jakupcak is a 76 year old retired professor who was born in South Chicago. Mike has been a Montana resident for over 40 years and is the Grandfather of three boys and three girls. He is a cancer survivor, and has been married to the same woman for nearly 48 years. Mike is a secret shopper and Subaru ambassador.


Jason Forges puts his anger aside to allow curiosity a place in his heart as he attends a Trump rally in an attempt to better understand those with whom he disagrees.

Jason Forges is interested in creating a space where facilitated social issue discussions can be had, while figuring out actionable steps to move forward. Jason is originally from Florida and has triumphantly survived two Missoula winters.


Lily Clarke shares her story of feeling alienated as the only white woman in the rural town of Kholesimal until she befriends a very special 11 year old boy.


Lily Clarke grew up in Condon, Montana where she attended the one-room, K-8 schoolhouse Salmon Prairie School. The frequent wildfires and fire morels that followed, sparked her interest in understanding the ecological and social consequences of wildfire and wild mushroom harvests in rural areas. Following her Fulbright Scholarship in Nepal, she returned to Missoula to pursue graduate studies in wildfire at the University of Montana, and reconnect with Missoula and its people.

Kelsey Stamm Jimenez takes 20 Montana high school students to Cambodia and they encounter an unexpected challenge while hiking in the jungle.

Kelsey Stamm Jimenez is Program Director at the Mansfield Center at the University of  Montana, where she engages students and adults throughout the state, in international educational experiences. Originally from Paradise, Montana, Kelsey is passionate about providing international opportunities in the Big Sky state, and connecting peoples and cultures. When she’s not planning her next adventure, she is busy chasing her 2 year old, with her husband Ben, and their two smelly hounds.