August 2013 – Expat Blog Carnival
July’s Blog Carnival content was all about how expats leverage their Green Thumbs to put down roots.
This month we’re looking at all of the other things that expats do to make themselves feel at home. Sure, it seems like it takes ages to get unpacked and decide the best location for that ugly coffee table you picked up at a garage sale, but when you arse finally hits the couch… what’s on your “to do” list?
Maybe it’s applying a lick of paint to the inside of the kitchen cupboards where nobody but you will notice. Perhaps it’s buying some really expensive cushions, in just the right shade of blue, that you spend the next 5 years moving out of the way each time you need to sit down.
Let’s welcome this month’s Carnival Bloggers, and find out how they make themselves at home:
Painting mountains – cheap art, fun, no beret or belay required
Expat Blogger: KD is a South Australian living in California, who uses her blog to recount her experiences and observations of LA life, a long way away from the quiet coastal town with no traffic lights, she grew up in.
“My next rendezvous with acrylics will take place on a new canvas which will be easier to hang and lighter for the hooks to manage. I’ve got a few ideas jotted down and I’m looking forward to painting mountains again, maybe developing a bit of a personal style, improving each time, relaxing and enjoying myself immensely in the process. Now I think having something to hang on the wall is a bonus!“
Stuff wot I brought with me 1 – Snoopy Come Home
Expat Blogger: GLadley is an Old World Girl from Britain, living a New World life in the US and blogs about the cultural quirks of life in Philadelphia.
“I was in bits. I emailed Mark in a panic over what to do. I’d had the video since I was three, but VHS is entirely outdated, we don’t have a video player, and a UK VHS would never work in the USA anyway. This video is entirely obsolete, but I wanted to keep it. Makes total sense, right?
Mark replied: It is ok. I understand. Bring it. I insist..”
At home abroad: how your expat housing is tied to job success
Expat Blogger: Erin Russell Thiessen at Expatica (which publishes news and information for the international community), discusses a study which looked at the ways in which a home affects a family’s interaction patterns, giving special consideration to aspects of a home that change when moving to a new country.
“Did you ‘nest’ upon arrival? What do people who are happy on their expat assignments actually do when the first move into their homes? How does this differ from those who are unhappy?
It turns out that happy ones ‘nest’ and make connections with their neighbours. They display family photos and hang artwork on the walls.”
Expat Blogger: Aisha is a freelance writer, cultural chameleon and incidental expat, who is approaching the three-year mark of her Canadian expat experience.
“It’s frustrating – I understand the futility of attachment to material things, especially as an expat, but I have to admit that, as far as a living space is concerned, the need to put my stamp on my surroundings is a big part of who I am.
How do you balance the temporary expat existence with the need for permanence in your life? Did you have similar struggles? How did you come to terms with them?”
Things to do this summer: Paint something white
Expat Blogger: Mickey and Trevor who are building a EuroAmerican Home. They survived a long distance relationship (via Skype) and we are now happily living on the same continent.
“It took me a long time to find the right paint because I wanted something that was no VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds – the nauseating chemicals that give you a headache when you paint), low odor and no carcinogens. After careful research and cross referencing about 1000 sources, I decided to go with Yolo Colorhouse and buy their semigloss eggshell interior paint called Imagine .01”
Your Expat Home is what you make of it
Expat Writer: Pamela was born in Perth Australia, and spent 25 years in Africa and the Caribbean as a diplomat’s wife. She’s the author of “Culture Shock and Canapés: Adventures of a Diplomatic Wife in Africa” which is published by Quartet Books, and available on Amazon.
“The strips of cloth were eventually replaced and a long-term expat gave one of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given in overseas home-making:
“Buy the biggest and plainest curtains you can.”
She was right. You can fold them, hem them and split them and they will last for your entire career. In a warehouse I managed to find a million yards of cream flecked wool-ish material. They have been curtains, bedspreads, tablecloths and stage sets, they have lasted for 20 years and I still have them, ready to hang in another tropical house with panoramic windows.”
[important]Do you have an expat tale to share? Email submissions of no more than 1,000 words to firstname.lastname@example.org[/important]
[warning]Click here to find out more about my Expat Blog Carnival. If you want to be included in a future Carnival, just fill in the submission form. The theme seems to evolve based on the submissions I receive, so send me your blog post excerpt and maybe it’ll be my inspiration for the next carnival.[/warning]