If you’re wondering how Adventures in Expat Land came to be, here’s the scoop:
What do you get when a policy/program 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 be expats in the Netherlands, but it’s also our home. Going on four years now, and for who knows how long.
Plus the freedom to completely change careers: I’m now a full-time writer, author, speaker, blogger.
And an incredibly exhilarating, challenging and occasionally maddening expat experience.
[Oh, and for the record, I'd rather not 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) as I chronicle making a new life in a new place.
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 it is.
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 and culture. To see our own country, and indeed the world, from a different 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), two teenaged children: Daughter is at a local international school while Son is now back in the US attending university, adding a bi-continental, multi-time zone aspect as we parent 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…