Posts Tagged With: Expatriate

Family Visits

As Mother’s Day comes around I’m reminded of just how lucky I am to have the family I do.

At the beginning of last school year one of my fellow teachers was venting about the frustrations she was experiencing with her family. She hadn’t heard from them in weeks, not since she’d moved to Egypt. They hadn’t called, emailed, skyped, sent messenger pigeons…nothing. I tried to sympathize, but I realized that I had no idea what it was like to not have a supportive family. Sure, we have our ups and downs, but when the chips are down, we’re all there for each other. We call or skype on birthdays, major holidays, and just because. I probably talk to my father more when I’m on the opposite side of the planet than when I live thirty minutes away from him.

By the end of this week, every single member of my immediate family (mom, dad, and two brothers) will have visited me while I’m living overseas. How lucky is that?

There are downsides, of course, to living so far away. I haven’t gotten or given a birthday hug in five years, I’ve spent a few Christmases by myself, and I can’t be there when my brothers or parents need me.

In honor of my amazing family here are some fun pictures of the adventures we’ve had since I’ve moved overseas. More will come after Dad concludes his visit.

Categories: Life Abroad, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Adventures in Egyptian Ikea

If you’re going to go to Ikea, pick a time when it’s not busy. In Egypt (and most of the Middle East, I assume), that time is Friday mid-morning, before prayer. Friday is the holy day here, and is celebrated by Christians and Muslims alike. Most people sleep in leaving the streets bare and ghost town quiet. It’s a good time to go shopping at major stores and malls like Carrefour or Cairo Festival City (CFC), but don’t expect the corner shop to be open.

Therefore, at 11 am on Friday, I took a taxi with some new co-workers to Cairo Festival City to go shopping. As with the last time we came to CFC, it took the driver five minutes to figure out how to enter to the mall parking lot. There is plenty of parking, but most of it is blocked off, and no one really knows why. The cab driver finally determined that taking us directly to the door of Ikea was not an option, so he dropped us at the nearest entrance and we wandered through the mall to get there.

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Categories: Egypt, Life Abroad | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Welcome Back!

Ah, it’s nice to be back in Cairo. The longer I was away, the harder it was to come back. I had a great summer (England, Glastonbury Festival, Buffalo, Seattle) and I didn’t want it to end. Now that I’m back in Egypt I remember all the things I love about it here. The people, the culture, the sense of adventure…

That’s not to say that Egypt isn’t without its trials. In fact, I encountered a trial just yesterday:

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Categories: Egypt, Life Abroad | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Five Types of Global Minds You Meet Abroad via Internations

I came across this while perusing the internet this morning. It’s similar to my post about the different types of teachers you meet when living abroad, but a little more general. InterNations is an online international community that brings together like-minded expats.

Five Types of Global Minds You Meet Abroad

Five Types of Global Minds You Meet AbroadiStockphoto

Driven by curiosity and a lust for adventure, the explorer is keen to see more of the world.

Are you an explorer, keen to see the world? Or are you simply moving abroad because you’re sent there on an expat assignment? There are various different kinds of internationally minded people roaming the globe. InterNations introduces you to five common types of such global minds.

The Explorer

The explorer simply loves to travel the globe, to seek out foreign shores and explore the world. Displaying a keen interest in all that is new and unknown, the explorer is oftentimes particularly drawn to destinations which very much differ from home. Asia, for example, is thus a popular destination of choice for western explorers.

While abroad, the explorer actively seeks out to experience the local culture. Attempts to speak the local language are made, but not always successful. Explorers are like nomads, roaming the globe because there is so much to see, learn, and experience, with each trip or stay abroad an adventure to somewhere new.

However, there are some explorers with a particularly focused interest in one specific country or culture, then known as country-/culturephiles. Take for example the Anglophile. Self-made expats often fall into this sub-category, spurred on by their love for a destination to make the move abroad.

The Escapee

Contrary to the explorer, the escapee is less driven by a love for the unknown, and more by a desire to flee their home. Reasons for the escapee’s flight may vary, from simply boredom to trouble with an ex-wife or the law. The common theme, however, is typically the further away and the more exotic the destination, the better.

The expat retiree is a classic example for the escapee type. Finally able to enjoy the fruits of their life-long labors, most retirees seek out sunny shores to escape the wet and cold climates of their home countries. Florida and Thailand, for instance, are popular destinations for the pensioned escapee.

The Foreign Partner

The foreign partner is living abroad not because of a love or hate for one country, but simply because of love, period. Regardless of whether they have met the love of their life during an explorer’s adventure or simply at the supermarket checkout, the foreign partner finds themselves abroad because love knows no borders.

Depending on their general disposition and personality, moving abroad for love may be the happy fulfilment of a lifelong dream or have the potential of becoming a nightmare. Only the end of the honeymoon phase will tell.

The International Local

Not a foreign resident himself, the international local is nevertheless very much a global mind. They actively seek out travelers and foreigners, or are at least glad to be gotten in touch with and are thankful for opportunities to share their local expertise with strangers.

International locals are often returned explorers or repatriates themselves, hungering for familiar accents and opportunities to speak the language, keen on sharing experiences, news and stories about the former host-country, or simply hoping to get back this feeling of travelling and experiencing foreign cultures.

The Classic Expatriate

Sent abroad for a few years by their current employer, the classic expatriate typically takes this chance to further their career and ideally also get some expat benefits out of their stay abroad. Being sent abroad is, however, already where most similarities between classic expatriates end. Based on their individual characters and their behavior while living abroad, there are at least three very distinct subcategories of classic expatriates: the alien, the elitist, and the assimilator.

The alien sticks out in his host country and culture like a sore thumb, whether by choice (e.g. culturally insensitive behavior), or by circumstances (e.g. outward appearance). The elitist similarly does not integrate in the local culture, but spends most of his time, both at work and at home, with fellow expats. The assimilator, on the other hand, does their best to blend in by speaking the local language and adhering to local customs.


Of course, as is always the case with types and categories, these are very much a broad generalization. In real life, things are hardly ever as black and white. In fact, global minds can easily be identified or identify themselves with more than one of these types or a totally different type entirely. A keen explorer, for instance, may happily be sent abroad on a classic expat assignment.

Categories: Life Abroad | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

15 Signs You Served In The Peace Corps..In GIFs! via Huffington Post

15 Signs You Served In The Peace Corps..In GIFs!.

Making the choice to join the Peace Corps, or any other form of prolonged foreign volunteering, is a tough one. Thankfully,thousands of people make the decision each year and our world is a better place for it.

Peace Corps volunteers are busy improving the world we live in, but they still have time to make plenty of memories along the way. Here are a few that may remind you of the time you served, or the time that you are currently serving.

You know you served (or are serving) in the Peace Corps when …

1. Half of your friends and family back home can’t find the country you live in on a map.

2. You likely speak at least one language that nobody has ever heard of.

3. You’ve gone to the bathroom in a hole. On several occasions.

4. You will never need ear plugs again because you’ve cultivated the ability to sleep through anything (chickens crowing, people yelling, music blaring).

5. You can also sleep ON anything.

6. You define success in a new way: A smile from a child.

7. You will never take air conditioning for granted again. EVER.

8. You are totally willing to travel for hours just to get a pack of Oreos or some other rare American food item.

9. Your idea of luxury is a flushing toilet. Nothing else. Just plumbing.

10. Your Facebook is filled with project pictures and waterfalls instead of selfies and party pics.

11. You have grown to cherish the small things in life, like peanut butter, snail mail and a Skype conversation with loved ones.

12. You truly believe that education is the most important tool to change the world.

13. You are an expert at entertaining yourself with crafts and other little projects in the absence of the Internet and television.

14. You talk to your mom about your host mom. And vice versa.

15. Your definition of personal space has changed. Dramatically.

And, you wouldn’t trade your PeaceCorps experience for anything in the world.

Categories: Life Abroad, Peace Corps | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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