Expaters this will make you laugh (and me scream)

I’m really getting into Chilean life. My Spanish is improving, my kids are settled in their nursery and I feel at home. In fact, my kid has his nursery graduation show tonight – a Ghostbusters themed extravaganza. We’ve been making his costume for a couple of weeks now. Yesterday I even headed to the busiest market in town to get…
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An Atheist’s Guide to Marrying A Religious Guy

One of the things I love most about my Expater friends is their sheer diversity and openness to other cultures. My address book is more multiculti than a Benetton ad. A good deal of them are with partners of other faiths. Recently a friend living in NYC asked how it was to get with a religious guy. Would the cultural…
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How to learn Spanish (and other foreign languages) fast

We’ve been in Chile nearly two months now. My Spanish has gone from terrible to borderline average. I studied French and German at university. I’m in an unrequited love affair with Arabic (I love the language, but it doesn’t seem to love my brain). I picked up some Dutch in Antwerp. I tried to learn basic Hindi prior to my…
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British expats – is this the single most annoying thing about life abroad?

Last week I was at the supermarket here in Chile. I chose an aisle because there was just one man in front with very few items. When asked to pay he took out a bag of coins and counted them out, one by one. ‘Oh, how much did you say?’ he asked. Then he started all over again. ‘Ah, wait……
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‘Oi, Fatty!’ and other Latin American terms of endearment

Recently I read a debate on a Brazilian forum about the use of ‘gordito‘ (fatty) as a term of endearment. It turns out that the phrase is in common use here in Chile too. At the supermarket, I heard a mother shout to her child ‘hey fatty, get over here,’ before plonking a big kiss on his forehead. I’ve also…
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How to do a long distance relationship

Last month I spent looking after my two kids on my own. My husband was a away in Chile, hunting out a good school and a home. As a couple we’d done the long distance relationship thing before, but it’s always tough. Sure, at times it’s been glamorous (yes darling, let’s meet in the Philippines), at times it’s been rather…
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The British are weird – customs and etiquette for surviving British culture

Carpets in bathrooms, apologising when we’re not really sorry, and endless talk about the weather. Yes, we Brits are weird. My husband is Spanish and despite being married to a Brit and having lived in the UK himself, there are a few traditions and customs he just can’t get his head round. For any expats in the UK, here’s a…
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Definition of an Expat vs immigrant

One of my readers recently asked me what the whole ‘Expater’ thing was about. In answer to her question, I wanted to create a term which better encapsulated what my fellow land hopping adventurers and I are all about. The term ‘expat’ is rather vague and dull. It also gets itself muddled in politicized scuffles with ‘immigrant’ and ‘migrant’. All in…
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World Vegan Month: It’s not the meat that will kill you

This November it’s World Vegan Month and I’ve been thinking about different diets around the world. I’ve been vegetarian most of my expat life and then I had to give up dairy when I found out that my son whom I was breastfeeding had a cow’s milk protein allergy. After years as a British milk slurping, American ice cream guzzling,…
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Born abroad: how not to give birth as an expat

After giving birth most women slump into their beds exhausted, smiling for cute photos with the latest addition to their family. As for me, based in Switzerland and set to move to Belgium I was dealing with rental agencies. ‘Sorry, Madame you don’t seem to understand – I can’t show you around the apartment. I’m in hospital… I just had a…
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