Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Expat Women July Home Page

Hi Everyone, We hope you are really well! We invite you now to check out the new features on our Expat Women Home Page for July:

Success Story
Suzanne Garber
International SOS Assistance
Suzanne Garber is a global nomad success story. She grew up in Spain, Mexico, Algeria, Egypt, the Dominican Republic and various US states, lived in Brazil when working as the Managing Director for FedEx in South America, and now looks after expats via her role with International SOS...
Read more…

Business Idea/Entrepreneur
La Tavola Marche - Agriturismo in Italy
Ashley Bartner
After years of travel and eating their way through every state and country they visited, Ashley and Executive Chef Jason Bartner decided to share their love for food with others by setting up La Tavola Marche, an agriturismo establishment in Sant'Angelo in Vado, Italy...
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Expat Couples
Coaching for Expatriate Couples: Can It Help You?
Andrew L. Miser
No matter how much preparation or training expats have prior to their move, a couple will not know what life will bring until they have taken the bold step and moved abroad. It is only after couples relocate...
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Moving Soon?
Picking The Right Removal Company
Rob Fenn
Moving abroad is undoubtedly an exciting experience, but one element people often do not enjoy is the planning stage of moving their belongings to their new home. There are a few things you should do...
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Expat Confession
Will Culture Shock Happen To Me?
Expat Women Girlfriend
My husband and I are on the verge of our first assignment to London. I think this will be an easy transition for us... However, a friend warned me that sometimes it is more difficult to settle into English-speaking countries...
Read more…

Military Brats & TCKs
Brats: Our Journey Home
Donna Musil
Donna was raised an Army brat and relocated 12 times as a child and 19 times as an adult. Seven years and 500 interviews in the making, we talk to Donna about her insightful documentary film and ask her about her recent Brats projects...
Read more…

Not A Member Yet?
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Thanks and have a great July! Andrea


Anonymous said...

Dear EW relocating to UK (Part one)

My family made its first oversea move to London. We had friends tell us no worries, at least they speak English. I felt compelled to respond to your question since in the beginning it was a bitter-sweet experience.

We moved to London in 1990, during the first Gulf War and in the dead of winter. Interestingly, on our departure day from Boston, Heathrow was closed because of a snowstorm. This happens very infrequently but, no one told us that all the pipes for a flat are on the outside of the buildings.

When we finally arrived we discovered our pipes on the roof had burst because of the severe cold. We were moving into an attached Victorian flat in Hampstead Heath and had at least 4 floors. It took over three weeks to wait for clean-up, repairs done to the inside damage and re-decorative work to be completed. Needless to say we stayed in a hotel in Mayfair for that time.

We had no contacts or support systems in place. When we landed in Heathrow we were greeted by machine guns, tanks and armed force soldiers. It was very quiet and very empty. Any opportunities to connect with people were impossible then because there was a heightened concern of military assaults in retaliation for involvement in the Middle East conflict. Any and all normal activities were cancelled indefinitely.

Anonymous said...

Dear EW relocating to UK (Part Two),

I had a 7 yo who was enrolled in the American School in St John's Wood and a 40 lb. 4yo with no where to go, except on the back of my bicycle because I was terrified to drive for the first six months. They travel left lane vs. the right lane as we do, the roundabouts are reversed and the car coming from and the streets are extremely narrow.

I'll confess in my time there I hit more than my share of mirrors (one actually had a person sitting in his car which was parked)! Boy he came after me!!
yelling and screaming. I cried and he went and called my husband's office screaming got him out of a meeting and told him I was in an accident blah,blah, blah........It cost me more to replace my mirror which had fallen off than to clean his up...his was still at least hanging from his car.

The roundabouts are in reverse and the car coming from the right has right of way. They take their policies for driving in the UK very seriously! Don't forget to stop at the Zebra crossings for pedestrians as they then have the right of way.
I did come close to hitting someone crossing at dusk because there is so much to remember and lots of distractions I didn't even see it coming.

Thank God we laugh about many of the adventures we were exposed to there. To make this short (shorter), I share this with you because it is important to be prepared for the expected issues that arise (like the IRA bombing the tube stations, the Mall on rt25, Parliament etc.) and those that just happen. Other areas of initial frustrations include setting up your banking, finding a place other than a post office to send mail and trash bins to throw out garbage because they were invitations to just happen to leave a bomb.

I was not sure if you will be moving with children, but schools and daycare provide good opportunities to connect. Also each burrow or town have Women's groups(American, Canadian, etc) that have great activities planned almost all the time, and it doesn't matter where you live because you can join as many as you like. Where you choose to live is based on two things in my mind. First is location and second is the allowance your company allocates for rent. That makes a huge difference. When we were there spouses were not allowed visas to work. I don't know if that's still true, but I would imagine it is. There are lots of service opportunities, clubs, programs, adult ed opportunities available to get involved in.

I guess to summarize, because I agree with the other comments, that the experience is what you make it. Travel agents are great sources of reference and there are castles, parks, the palace, the Wimbledon lottery and cathedrals you never really tire of visiting.

But, I do believe that there will be a period where you need to say goodbye to a culture of family and friends from home and consider that you are going to be a visitor in your new location. You will grieve the losses but in time be absolutely "over the moon" at how amazing the UK, especially London, is and how much the city offers in rituals, history and

Oh and by the way, the British DO NOT speak English But they are curious about Americans and Canadians however we do live in very different worlds, bring our own perceptions or reality which in lots of cases it not the same as their realities. I finally got so tired of friends telling me how easy it is to relocate there and would ask "Oh, have you lived there" and people replied "NO just visited for a week!

Make it a wonderful "visit". We grew as a family and cherished the richness of living abroad and the ability to travel all through Europe. I then became a professional expat and lived in HK and Shanghai for 15 years.

I'd do it all again in a heart beat :)

please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. I have LOTS of great stories to share.

Good luck,
Professional trailing spouse (I put that on my resume, confuses everyone here.)

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