If you’re wondering how Adventures in Expat Land came to be, here’s the scoop:
What do you get when an international policy wonk by day, writer by night packs up the family to follow Husband overseas?
- Adventures. (The fun and the interesting kind, aside from dealing with crammed closets due to lack of storage space and a ‘to-do’ list a mile long.)
- In Expat Land. We may have been expats in the Netherlands, but it was also our home for four years. Until we decided in spring 2013 – for a host of reasons, primarily centered around family – that it was time to head back to the US.
- Plus the freedom to completely change careers: I’m now a full-time writer, author (The Emotionally Resilient Expat: Engage, Adapt and Thrive Across Cultures, with another in the series on the way), blogger, consultant/speaker.
- And an incredibly exhilarating, challenging, and occasionally maddening expat experience.
[Oh, and for the record, I never wish to be referred to as a 'trailing spouse' in expat parlance. It makes me sound like some clinging bougainvillea vine trailing off a trellis. Since labels abound and can be useful, I prefer 'accompanying partner'.]
What’s life like overseas? In some ways it’s a lot like moving to another state or province or region ‘back home’. Starting anew: meeting new people, making friends, becoming acquainted with your community, getting involved, expanding your mind, putting down roots.
Only with a bit of a twist since you’re living in a foreign country. Like learning a new language, trying out different foods/holidays/traditions, following different laws and social norms, adjusting to a new culture.
So welcome (welkom, actually). Come along as I chronicle what it was like making a new life in a new place. Now that we’re in the midst of the long transition process associated with repatriating, I’ll be addressing the ups and downs of making an entirely new life again in a not-so-new place.
Life goes on but we haven’t left the international arena, not by any stretch of the imagination.
I’ll share stories and insights about the mundane and the exciting, the boring and the different, the funny and the not-so-funny.
Oh, and I do love odd, so that’ll be in there, too. Usually finding the upside. Not always, but usually.
What will YOU do?
You’ll read, of course. But you’re talented so you’ll do much more. You’ll comment, share your own experiences (expat or otherwise), provide your insights or alternative views.
More than anything, I’d like this to be a conversation. That’s why comments are so important – they offer additional information or perspectives that benefit all of us: you, me, fellow readers (aka Adventurers), site visitors.
Let me know when something I’ve written has struck a chord, and what just plain struck out. I do insist on civility, but other than that, all I ask for is honesty. Tell me what’s on your mind. I can assure you, my intent is not residing in ‘know-it-all-ville’.
And while you’re at it, I’d love it if you tell family and friends to check out the site, too. (I’m even willing to take your enemies as well. As long as they’re civil.)
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If you still need to know more, here’s the long version.
Living abroad was always in the back of our minds. My husband is an adult Third Culture Kid (ATCK in expat parlance) having spent his middle and high school years in Italy and a year in England during college. I grew up dreaming about living overseas, and spent one summer during college living in Mexico studying Spanish.
We both studied international relations and made careers in related fields. We’ve always enjoyed traveling, and find it exciting to visit new places and cultures. Not the ‘check off the places’ type of traveling but really trying to get to know and experience other cultures.
We wanted our children to have the experience of living in another country, with a different language, history, culture. To see our own country, and indeed the world, from a fresh perspective.
To understand how our ‘home’ country makes us who we are, and how living elsewhere alters that. And to appreciate what is often taken for granted. So we searched for just the right opportunity to come along. And when it did, we leaped at the chance.
We decided to move to the Netherlands in 2009 when Husband took a job with an international organization. So that’s how Yours Truly (that would be me) came to be living in Den Haag (The Hague) with her husband (Husband), and two teenaged children: Daughter attended a local international school while Son headed back to the US after graduating from the international school to attend university, adding a bi-continental, multi-time zone aspect as we parented from afar. Oh, and we have one dear but dopey dog (Oli) and a perpetually startled cat (Ava).
Living happily ever after? You’ll just have to follow along…