Search Results for: expat

Expat Must Have Books for the Grownups

I shared recently about some top moving related books for the littles, and now it’s time for the grownups.

Expat Books for Adults

There are many books out there for individuals considering (and following up) with a move overseas.  The problem is, most of them are specifically geared towards the business side of things. Or even vaguer still, written with the location in mind and not the individual moving TO that location.

I have read some of these expat must have books, but curated the list from a Facebook Group that I belong to where all of the women understand, have been there (AND have written some of these books themselves!)  Thank you ladies!

First on the list is a NEW one from Rachel Yates! I’m so excited to read this one. From their website:

Let’s be honest: expat life can be tough. Although exciting, exhilarating and enriching, it can also be one of the greatest challenges you face. Get the tools you need to succeed in this guided journal, created by us (Trisha Carter -cross cultural psychologist, and Rachel Yates -expatriate resource developer) to help you, wherever you may be heading.

Finding Home Abroad by Rachel Yates

 

Then the other must-haves:

The Emotionally Resilient Expat : Linda Janssen

Raising Global Nomads – Robin Pascoe

Third Culture Kids – David C Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken

Judy recommended Andrea Martins‘ book Expat Women Confessions

To which, Andrea recommended Jo Parfitt’s Career in a Suitcase.

Then Nataliya recommended Making the Big Move by Cathy Goodwin

Jackie’s Repat Jack blog post covers some of the same books featured here, but offers some new ones as well.

Culture Mastery was also recommended.

If you are considering India as a future location, introducing the new book from Aurelia Zoss about what it’s really like:

India Unplugged by Aurelia Zoss

Have you found any books out there that truly address the needs and concerns of the expatriate?  Let’s not even get started on the dire situation we are faced when looking for books on the repatriation portion of the adventure.

Link up and share with me! The more we share, the more we help and assist others!

Expat Must Have Books for Children

 

Expat Books for Children Naomi Hattaway

 

These are some of the best expat Must Have Books For Children, but they are also simply the best books out there about moving house and home.

For the Littlest :

Goodbye, House : Frank Asch

My favorite book by the same title though is Goodbye, House : Robin Ballard.  Her illustrations bring a little melancholy tear to my eye and they are gorgeous.  Looks like it is out of print, however?

Iris and Walter : Elissa Haden Guest. Written for a smidge older of a little, this is a sweet, sweet book about friendship.  Pre-K – Grade 2.

The Leaving Morning : Angela Johnson. Full of truth and angst, this is a must-have for a move. Grades 1-3.

For those in the Middle :

The Kid in the Red Jacket.  This is an AMAZING book and a must-read for your kiddos that are in grades 3 and up (but appropriate to be read to those in grades 1-2).

Hey New Kid! : Besty Duffey.  If nothing else, this will bring some laughter to wherever you are reading, which is always good medicine for getting through a move!  Grades 2-5

 

For the Big Kids :

Who Moved My Cheese, for Teens : Spencer Johnson

Club Expat, a Teeanger’s Guide to Moving Overseas : Aniket Shah and Akash Shah

Expat, Teens Talk : Lisa Pittman and Diana Smit

 

Finally, this isn’t a book, but a really great concept for a resource product : Meet Ori and Ricki

There are likely more … what would you add to the list? 

 

 

My expat life is glamorous!

My expat life is glamorous.

It is!

It is foreign travel, amazing functions, often with diplomats and Ambassadors.  It is amazing shopping, beautiful photo opportunities and a pretty stand-up education for our children.

It is phenomenal attire on the women that adorn the sidewalk at pickup time.  It is being chauffeured around the city without a worry or a care.  It is lunching and dining at brilliant establishments.  It is having your sundries delivered daily and your home cleaned by someone that you employ.

It is fundraisers with floor-length gowns, saris and more bling that you’d ever think possible.

It is Indian weddings, Chinese celebrations and claddagh dancing. It is personally knowing friends that hail from more than 50 different countries.

It is wall decor that captures images of camels, nose piercings and vivid cultural celebrations.  It is cupboards full of TimTams, cup’o noodles from various locations in Asia, coffee mugs from four different international schools and spray cheese from the United States.

It is remarkable volunteer opportunities where you can either teach English to barely literate children or physically rescue girls from the sex trade.

It is a new group of amazing friends every three years (on average).  It means an ever-widening circle of phenomenal people to meet up with in the future.

It means an ever-widening circle of phenomenal people that will inadvertently teach your family how to say goodbye – in time- without tears that cloud your vision.

It means uprooting an entire family and reassuring them repeatedly,  the whole time that it will be ok.

It is boxes that are packed over and over, favorite items that are tucked away with sachets of lavender and those packets of plastic balls (I’m still not really sure what they are for).  Those packets often end up ripped open and you find them invading your basket of tea bags.  Tea bags are indeed an awesome place to find little balls of fake, plastic preservatives.

It is trying to remember to pack the important things in your suitcase as opposed to the box that is unpacked LAST by the moving crew.  It is stressing out about your poor dog who has to reside in an unfamiliar quarantine facility for longer than you could ever stand to do the same.

It is navigating the bowels of managing finances from different time zones and trying to remember important due dates and birthdays (FOUR weeks before the day comes so that cards arrive on time), and planning ahead for the Halloween costumes (purchasing one size up in April, and hoping that they still fit, come October.

It is spending more time away from your beloved than you ever thought should be allowed.

It is getting used to the cycle of a 10-12 day business trip, with 2 days home in between.  It is adjusting to having the family under one roof – just for a weekend – just in time for the suitcase to be repacked, and the taxi called, and goodbyes said again.

It is flying solo when it comes to parenting, so much so that you forget how to parent together when the time comes again.

It is about missing special days because of a work obligation, forgetting to change your time zone on your phone and missing flights, and paying out the nose for a bottle of wine because you forget to buy from duty free.

It is about finding fellow expat wives whose husbands travel just as much so you can feel normal around them when you decline an invitation to a couples’ dinner, on a repeated basis.

It is invigorating, addicting and satisfying.

It is lonely, sad and exhausting.

glam·or·ous
1.  full of glamour; charmingly, fascinatingly attractive, especially in a mysterious/magical way.
2. full of excitement, adventure, and unusual activity.

If you use only the above definition, my life IS indeed glamorous (yet not extravagant or exorbitant).  It is choosing to live a life of raising children abroad, giving them the world, and learning more about yourself than you might not have gleaned otherwise.

It is worth it.  It IS glamorous.

 

Ohio Welcome

Our family recently completed our seventh move in 13 years. We moved from Northern Virginia to Columbus, Ohio, after having lived in several places in the United States as well as in New Delhi and Singapore. With so many postal codes and zip codes we’ve called home, you might think that we have mastered the art of fitting in, making new friends and settling into our new digs.

I find though, it’s not necessarily true. Yes, I’m a pro at unpacking the boxes, but the connection with neighbors and finding like-minded people is a challenge. I always worry – with each new move – whether the new neighbors will accept our version of crazy chaos, understand that our background includes a diverse collage of experiences, and welcome us into the fold anyway.

We’ve been in the new house for two weeks now. We have been blessed with great neighbors, a true Ohio welcome: everyone bombarded us with treats, including breakfast one morning, dinner another evening. But as we approached Halloween, I was faced with dread and dismay.

Halloween has always been one of my favorite celebrations. Yes, I dress up. But this year, since we are new, I was freaking out a bit. We don’t really know anyone yet and I’m once again left to keep the cheerleading going for the family as we settle in. For instance, my kids have no one to trick or treat with, we have no idea what time the neighborhood starts trick or treating, and we don’t even know if older kids trick or treat here.

eat-drink-and-be-scary

Last week, as I met some of the neighbors, many of them excitedly said, “We gather in the cul-de-sac for Halloween. Bring wine and some food and your candy bowl.” I was thrilled.

We have five neighbors on this cul-de-sac, the circular street that marks the end of the neighborhood. Two Italian-American households are related to each other, one couple has grandchildren, another house is occupied by a single, older man, and another is occupied by an older Polish woman and her Japanese husband, who both immigrated to the U.S. 30 years ago.

So when we were invited for Halloween, I of course accepted, and then a few days later, when I was talking “over the fence” to the Polish lady with the Japanese husband, I asked if they would also be there. They shrugged. In broken English, they said that maybe they could come.

Fast forward to tonight. In my head, I knew that we’d been invited, I KNEW that we were welcome, but I was anxious and nervous. Did they really want us to join them? What if we were supposed to cook something? Should I make a quick cheese plate?

Suddenly, I saw the kids were starting. Should I take our chairs over to their driveway, or sit in ours? I poured a glass of wine at 5:30 p.m. and hid behind the blinds, as I peered out and tried to discern the rules. I tried to hide my discomfort from the kids as I encouraged them: “Right! Go get your costumes on! Let’s go, let’s go. This will be fun!”

A bit later, it was obvious that the neighbors had indeed gathered in one central driveway. Soon enough, everyone was there around a bonfire. We placed our collective candy contributions on the centralized table for the visiting children and we had chili, and pizza from the Italian families’ restaurant, and s’mores.

We talked and laughed and then I watched as the Polish lady and her Japanese husband met —- for the first time in three years —– the other neighbors in the cul-de-sac.

Flabbergasted, I asked one of the neighbors sitting next to me if they had never met this couple before. She said, “Apparently it takes the newest of neighbors to truly bring us all together.”

When I dug a bit further, I learned that this couple moved in to the neighborhood when everyone else had a lot going on — kids graduating from high school, babies being born, a death in the family. Their move-in was also complicated by a 10-month renovation project, so it was a bit less obvious of a move-in than when WE pulled up with our 40-foot truck, three obnoxious dogs, two cats and a red Jeep.

Tonight I watched them share their stories of life abroad, being expats in the U.S., with our neighbors and new friends. The Italian families then talked about their own parents who immigrated, the couple with grandchildren announced they were soon going to retire and go traveling, with the wife doing “on the road” hospice and other nursing care. Another neighbor’s daughter discussed her plans to combine her psychology degree with a master’s in education so she can have an impact on the lives of students living abroad.

We all found we had more in common than simply the same cul-de-sac address. These new neighbors of ours had never talked about their worlds before.

Lesson learned? Just because you’re the newbie doesn’t mean you don’t have something to offer the neighbors.

Moving is hard. Fitting in sucks. Figuring out where and how you belong is exhausting. But sometimes just showing up — especially when it feels the most awkward and difficult — is where the magic lies. When I said goodnight to everyone, the Polish lady gave me a tight hug and in her beautiful broken English said, “Thank you for inviting me to be a part of this.”

For all those struggling with finding their people, and meeting new friends, I say: Change your perspective ever so slightly. Lead with an intention to serve, volunteer your time somewhere, or invite someone to the table. Asking “how can I help?” can be the best introduction to authentic and meaningful relationships.

I am often asked by my friends from around the world whether I am proud to call America home. With so many nasty things happening in America these days, I am reminded that this truly is the spirit of our country. Our basic nature is to welcome new friends. I am living proof that’s who we are.