I can tell the kids are tired and ready for a break. For the last couple of weeks, getting them up for school has been increasingly tricky. At the weekend it felt like herding slugs just convincing them to get dressed head out to the supermarket. I know I’m ready for a break. I’m feeling antisocial and crabby. Continue reading
What do I mean by untethered and what on earth has expat life got to do with camping?
The holiday is over and it’s back to reality. New posts are already in the works. In the meantime, just in case you missed them the first time around or just really really want to read them again, here’s a quick round-up of Expatorama’s top posts from 2017.
I had read about the notorious Ponte Tower before moving to South Africa and was intrigued. It’s an unusual hollow cylindrical building with a checkered history. I didn’t realise you could visit the tower until early last year. The tour is fascinating and I highly recommend it if you’re in town (i.e. in Johannesburg). Find out what awaits you and how you can arrange a visit in the post: Ponte Tower – A Tale of Glamour, Garbage and Gritty Regeneration.
The post Hair Raising and Hair Razing Experiences Abroad falls under the category of ‘lesser known challenges of expat life’ that don’t normally get covered on expat blogs. Getting a haircut may be a lesser known challenge and yet the struggle is real.
Rose Tinted Glasses
Expat Life Through Rose Tinted Glasses was a fun post to write. It involved cracking open a bottle of pink wine and playing with LEGO props. When it comes to expat life, not everything is always as rosy as it seems.
The most read post ever is Why Expat Partners are Like Dung Beetles. This is a post basically detailing how completely awesome both expat partners and dung beetles are.
Photo Hot Spot
…and if you’re wondering where the photo at the top of the post was taken, it’s Bloubergstrand, which translates to Blue Mountain Beach. It’s a short drive from Cape Town and gives you a whole different view of Table Mountain. There is a gentle, shallow natural paddling pool protected by rocks, so it’s an ideal spot to take kids.
If we’re not careful The Lost Art of Letter Writing will soon be a reality. Continue reading
Although I very recently lampooned a fictional stereotypical expat called Charity Charity who is hopelessly devoted to helping all the causes, in reality I have a great deal of respect for the expats who go out and make a genuine difference to their host country.
Expat Leslie Randolph is someone who has done just that. She is making an admirable contribution to South Africa through her involvement with Lawyers against Abuse. Leslie is a fabulous individual, warm and kind and great fun to be around. Here she shares her story and her passion for the cause she has been fighting for:
Do you think you’re a hardcore badass full-fat expat? Let’s find out.
A few days ago I shared a link to a recent Business Insider article entitled ‘The 19 countries with the worst quality of life in the world for expats.’ I soon had friends and readers telling me how many years they’d spent in which country and realised we could turn these rankings into a quick and easy way to work out your ‘Badass Expat’ score.
I’ve allocated points to each location, the tougher the location the more points you get. You then multiply the points for each location by the number of years you lived there, tally them up and bingo, you have your Badass Expat score.
My current score is 111.
It takes a special person to follow their partner to the armpit, ars*ehole or ends of the earth. A very special person indeed. One in a million in fact.
A Certified One in A Million Expat
One of my favourite expat quotes ever, in fact my actual favourite quote, was coined by a certified One in A Million Expat.
It happened when a British couple moved to the small island of Okinawa, Japan. They were serial expats and already accustomed to the challenges of global nomadery.
At the time (aside from a formidable US presence on military airbases, which was a self contained community with their own on-base shops and cinemas and social life), the sum total of the expat population was around 10 people and most of them had Japanese spouses and were there on a fairly permanent basis.
It’s almost certain that the British couple were the only non-military expat couple on the island. Okinawa’s population at the time was around the 1 million mark and thus quipped the wife to the husband whose job had taken them to this tiny isolated dot in the Pacific Ocean:
Rose tinted glasses soften and morph reality. When it comes to expat life, from the outside our life may look perfect, but expectation and reality rarely tally.
I didn’t have actual rose tinted glass or lenses to use in my photographs, so in true expat style improvised with rosé filled ones.
Yes, a certain amount of rosé was consumed during the staging of the photos for this post.
Yes, it might have been even more fun to use actual human friends and share the wine, but it was tricky enough seeing tiny Lego people through a wine glass, so there we go.
This is what people back home often think expat life is like all the time.
Yep, It’s a Pretty Weird Blog Post Title
Icebergs, people, cacti….you can’t always see the full picture, maybe because your perspective is skewed or obscured. Sometimes you have to go the extra mile and dig a little deeper (in this case inside my wheelie bin) to get the full story. Continue reading
Getting a hair cut should be a fairly simple procedure and yet I have found it to be one of the lesser known, but very real challenges of expat life. Plenty of expat blogs cover all the obvious, big ticket hurdles to being a successful and happy expat: emotional resilience, repatriation, culture shock, depression, leaving well etc. But there are plenty of lesser known hurdles we face as we ricochet around the globe and getting a decent haircut is firmly on that list.
Whether I’ve asked for ‘a trim’ or ‘the same but shorter’ or shown a picture from a magazine or a photograph of my own hair I seem to have had more than my fair share of awful expat haircuts than I care to mention. Here are a few of my lowlights…. Continue reading