In 2012, as my fiance and I were about to get married, we decided to take the biggest leap of our entire existence: make our life-long dream of permanently living abroad come true, and move from France to Canada. Here’s what I love in my new country, and what I miss from home.
I’m looking for some advice. My husband and I are moving to Sweden at the end of the month from Seattle. We are taking our giant cat Hax0r with us. He is too heavy to fly in the cabin, and will have to go under the plane as cargo. Sadly, all I can find online are horror stories about lost or injured pets. Have you ever traveled overseas with your fur baby? What advice would you give?
I’m an American expat living abroad: AMA about international moves, travel plans, culture shock, or looking for a job as an expat
I’m an American expatriate living, studying, and working abroad. I’ve also travelled a lot for fun and business — my old-school passport has two extra stamp booklets. In the years and moves that followed, I learned about stuff like budgeting for an international move, planning a big trip or move overseas, dealing with both culture shock and reverse culture shock, managing finances and legal issues internationally, looking for a job as an expat (in native and non-native language situations), learning travel safety tips both the hard and the easy ways, handling back-home junk food cravings that strike without warning… So let’s talk — Ask me anything!
My name is Nicole, or Nikki to my friends. But, every day for the last 15 months, my name has been 外国人 (Wàiguórén) — “Foreigner.” In America, I was the oldest sister to three brothers. I was the chick at the bar all by her happy self, reading a book while drinking beer. I was the girl who went pale at the thought of starting a conversation with a complete stranger (and for a rather dark-skinned African-American, that’s a feat). But here in China, my identity has come down to one word. Wàiguórén. Foreigner. Outsider. One who does not belong. But I’m also the one who, every few weeks, hosts a family dinner. For me, and I think for many of us, those family dinners are a safe space.
We took a month off for a honeymoon trip across Europe and sailed back on an ocean liner. A week after arriving home we moved from Vancouver, BC to Marin County just north of San Francisco, CA. We had two and a half years in that area just soaking up the organic good life. Joel got into competitive cycling and I went to art school in San Francisco and just immersed myself in art.
We bought our first terramundi — a traditional Etruscan money pot — when I was pregnant. Over five years, we managed to fill eight pots. We filled each one to bursting, until they were a real struggle to carry. They had already moved with us once, when we left Scotland for England two years ago. But we decided they should not make the next move. And in smashing them all open before our move, we fell even further in love with the idea that every house should have a terramundi pot.
Traveling to another country for an extended amount of time is only for the filthy rich and privileged. You can’t possibly afford international travel to some other country! Let alone live there for months at a time! But traveling internationally on the cheap all comes down to a few simple tactics. Though they are not always that simple to implement…
In the fall of 2012, my husband surprised me with news: his graduate adviser proposed an opportunity for him to live and work for six months in Austria as part of his PhD research. o without school obligations or kids, we took the plunge to move to Europe for six months. Two to three weeks, one Bar exam, and one packed up apartment later, we were in Chicago to pick up our visas, then we took our flight to Vienna.