What Feels Like Home

The third prompt of the Expat Blog Challenge is a photo prompt: an object that makes me feel at home. I have no such object. Although I shipped I don’t know how many boxes of personal belongings, I don’t really have much in the way of material items. Mostly I shipped clothes and books. I don’t have any family heirlooms or special mementos. When I was about 15, I was visiting my friend Rachel, as I…

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Are Expats Wanderers?

  The second prompt of the Expat Blog Challenge is to respond to the line, “Not all those who wander are lost.” This is the second line to a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien titled “All That is Gold Does Not Glitter”. It appears in The Lord of the Rings. All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached…

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The View

For some crazy reason, I decided to participate in the Expat Blog Challenge being hosted by my fellow expat Cristin, an American in Sydney, who blogs over at In an Opal Hearted Country. Rather than my usual two to three posts a week, I’ll be writing every day during the month of February (in theory).  Blog challenges are fun and a good way to get into the habit of writing daily as well as discovering…

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Acceptance and Serenity

There is a shared human experience. No matter where we are in the world, we all wake up, go to work, raise our children, clean our homes, cook and and have our meals. We all laugh and we cry and everyone poops. When you’re an expat, it’s often not about shared experiences, but different ones. Sometimes it becomes not about where we are, but about where we are not. While there is excitement, optimism, and…

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The Road to Residency Part 3: The Relationship

The road to obtaining a partner visa granting me two years of residency is long and arduous. When I first read  through the paperwork, I was so overwhelmed that I cried. Then I pulled myself together and began printing documents, making lists, copies, and appointments. The tricky part is that you need different things from different agencies, which have their own requirements, and everything takes its own time. Proving that your relationship is “genuine and…

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! It’s time for champagne and confetti! It’s also time for New Year’s resolutions, that old as time tradition where we promise to make improvements in our lives. Humans have been making New Year’s resolutions for thousands of years. The ancient Babylonians promised their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans exchanged good wishes and made promises to Janus, the god…

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2013 in Review

How was your Christmas? Mine was very pleasant. I spent it with Theo and our family at his sister and brother-in-law’s home. They had a Hawaiian themed Christmas with a lot of food – pork, lamb, prawns (Australian for humongous shrimp), crayfish, veggies, potatoes, rolls, and, of course, Christmas pudding with cream, custard, and ice cream. The next day, Boxing Day, I called my parents and sister in the USA before going shopping. It’s hard to…

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On Blogging, Pardon the Dust

It seems hard to believe, but in just a month, on January 1, 2014, this blog will turn two years old. Since its humble beginnings as a way to share my journey with friends and family, Stumble Down Under has grown a bit, slowly, but steadily, and I think it’s time for a change. Over the next month, I’ll be experimenting with new designs and perhaps even moving the website off WordPress.com to local or…

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Expat Perspectives

I’ve written a little bit about some of the challenges of moving abroad.  A lot of it is about homesickness and grieving an old way of life, but a big part of it is also about expectations. Diane over at Oui in France wrote a good piece last week on why moving abroad can be disappointing. Disappointment is a part of life. Sometimes the reality of a situation just doesn’t match up with our expectations.…

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Expat Transitions

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both” Thus begins Robert Frost’s famous poem “The Road Not Taken.” Back in June, Juli Townsend wrote a poignant entry at her blog, Transition to Home, about the loved ones that we leave behind and, eventually, aren’t there to return to. During the time she was away, she was heartbroken by the deaths of her dogs, her friends, and her sister. I…

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The Unnamed Second Phase

When I stepped out of Victoria Station and caught my first glimpse of London during a 2006 vacation, I immediately decided I wanted to live there. A few days later, when I traveled to the quaint Shakespeare-happy town of Stratford-upon-Avon, I decided I wanted to live there. When I visited New England for the first time later that year, I decided I wanted to live there. As the saying goes, the grass is greener on…

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Winter is Coming

I recognize that entries such as this come from a place of privilege. You could even describe the condition as overindulged (a nicer word for ‘spoiled’), no doubt the result of being American.

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