There’s always a bit of a brouhaha when it comes to labelling or describing expat partners. A few of the titles used include Expat Spouse, Expat Wife, Trailing Spouse, Trailblazing Spouse, Lady of Leisure, Lady that Lunches, Guy that Golfs, Excess Baggage or as my husband endearingly calls me Expensive Habit. None of the terms is perfect and some are deeply loathed by the expat community.
So, I’ve come up with yet another alternative for you. It’s an analogy that first occurred to me when I wrote about the industrious dung beetle after we saw hundreds of them on safari. They are completely fascinating little creatures and the comparison between expat partners and dung beetles has been scratching about in the back of my mind ever since. Yes, I am comparing the Trailing Spouse to the Dung Beetle.
Confused? Here are 6 ways that expat partners are like dung beetles:
The Princess and The Fish is what I’ve always called this photograph. I took it almost 11 years ago on a slim spit of beach wedged between the quiet creek and the wide Atlantic Ocean just a short boat ride along the coast from Lagos, Nigeria one lazy Sunday afternoon.
This girl was seemingly the leader of her ‘gang’ of beach roaming children. She was older than the others and was insistent that I photographed her and her friends. As I snapped the first picture, the one of her alone, she unexpectedly blew into the fishes’ mouth to make it puff up. She was pleased to show me her party trick and laughed gleefully at my surprise.
Gin and tonic is an iconic and yet slightly negative symbol of expat life. The drink contributes to the image of the idle, drunk, spoilt expat living a life of luxury in far flung tropical locations. But do you know the real reason expats first started drinking gin and tonic? You might be surprised.
Johannesburg’s Central Business District (CBD) was once the heart of gold rush pioneer town Johannesburg. This is where all the biggest, best and most beautiful buildings were built. Many years later, after first the rise and then fall of apartheid this area deteriorated significantly. Residents and businesses moved out in droves as buildings were hijacked quickly becoming overcrowded with squatters. The area became a dangerous and crime ridden no-go zone in the 1990’s.
But what’s it like today? I joined an inner city walking tour to find out more. Continue reading →