HALT – Four Simple Questions for Expat Stress

woman with head in hands and blog post title on left side of image

I remember rumbling around in an SUV along the chaotic, pot-holed streets of Antananarivo and my friends laughing about the little bag of almonds I always had tucked away in my pocket. Those nuts were my stress-reduction tool, my safety net – not because I have a health issue that requires me to always have food on hand, but because being in strange places heightens my sense of anxiety. Of course, I’m always in strange places…even “home” is sometimes strange …

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Re-Thinking our identity as trailing spouses: how we tell our stories

Street art saying I exist (in French) - Trailing spouse

Whether you like to call us accompanying partner, trailing spouse or expat wife (or husband), these words all bare some kind of negative and passive connotations. While they may be technically accurate, they often do not represent the whole truth nor do they do many women (or men) any justice. Inevitably when someone asks me why I live in Germany or why I moved to Germany, I reply: “for my husband’s job”. And there, with those words, I am labelled …

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Race

Mulatto Math

I never thought in a million years I’d be writing a blog post about race – for an expat community. I mean, as a British white women, is it really my place? But hang on a minute….. I have lived in 11 countries all over the world, I have my own race related stories, good ones, bad ones and very ugly ones. The thing is, as a white woman, in a serious conversation about race, at some point I can’t …

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At the Intersection of Important Events: Love and Breath in 76 Seconds

The Butterfly Effect I don’t believe things happen for a predetermined reason, but I do believe there are Intersections of Important Events that, when noticed and acted upon, can create an extraordinary life. The more you pay attention, the more you see the that everything is connected somehow. It’s a little like The Butterfly Effect— that part of Chaos Theory that says a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever.  My expat love story was born …

Braving the Wilderness

Braving the Wilderness

We are tackling Brene Brown’s book, Braving the Wilderness, for our first I Am A Triangle Book Club! We have read and discussed the first several chapters, but it’s not too late for you to join in! Check out our Braving the Wilderness  Book Club Discussions inside the community! In a fitting-in culture – at home, at work or in our larger community – curiosity is seen as weakness and asking questions equates to antagonism rather than being valued as learning. …

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New Year’s Questions not New Year’s Resolutions

New Year's Questions

Many years ago I gave up on the idea of creating New Year’s resolutions. They always seemed so forced and arbitrary. The challenge of coming up with and following through with New Year’s resolutions became even more challenging when we started moving between overseas postings. Even if I knew we weren’t due to move for another year, I never felt confident that things wouldn’t change at the drop of a hat…leaving my resolutions at the bottom of a box on …

The Challenge of Feeling Settled Abroad

feeling settled abroad

My walls at home are bare. Two and a half years living in The Netherlands, and I’ve hung nothing – the Turkish plates that usually hang above the Chinese sideboard, the rice paper Apsara dancer from Cambodia, the Vietnamese propaganda paintings – they’re all collecting dust in the garage. Usually I can’t wait to hang things up, to adorn the walls with family photographs and memories of our life lived across the world. Rich memories come to mind often, vivid …

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Put Down Roots

Tips to put down roots as globally mobile families

The sun bore down mercilessly, as I made my way to find this tree in the intense Middle East heat. It was hard to miss it. Standing alone; tall and proud with its roots on a hill in the middle of the Arabian Desert, surrounded only by sand was one of Bahrain’s top tourist attractions. The locals called it “Shajarat-al-Hayat” in Arabic, which meant “The Tree of Life.” As you gaze up at this 32 feet tall Mesquite tree with …

Increase Your Fun Factor on LULU Day!

LULU Day

November 14th is Loosen Up and Lighten Up Day (or LULU Day). A day to let it all roll off your back. A go-with-the-flow kind of day. But, if you’re a recovering perfectionist like me, “kicking back” takes effort. Learning how to “take it is easy” is a life skill and depending upon where you live, it may be a survival skill (i.e. Type A personalities living in Mediterranean countries [me]). What would it take for you to say, Just for …

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The Expat Introvert: 3 Top Tips

the expat introvert

Let’s face facts; like it or not, the expat culture is an extroverted one.   Expats meet and greet one another frequently over drinks, (it’s also a drinking culture) coffee, dinners, parties and sports. This can pose a challenge for the expat introvert who is most happy at home curled up with a good book, or having a one-on-one in-depth conversation. What can the expat introvert do to optimize their experience abroad, while remaining true to their introverted nature? Tip # …