Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Expat Women Bloggers & Expat Women Book - Tatiana von Tauber's Review & Confession

Hi Everyone, We were so impressed this week with a heartfelt blog post by expat blogger Tatiana von Tauber, which mixes a review of our new book, Expat Women: Confessions - 50 Answers to Your Real-Life Questions about Living Abroad, with a real honesty about Tatiana's personal experiences, that we asked Tatiana if we could republish it on our blog, and she kindly agreed, so here it is!

Expat Blogger: Tatiana von Tauber

Blog: United We Stand: Dreams of a Passionate Expat

Blog Description: It's about the journey of an American expat and artist in Germany, who has come to the conclusion that no country deserves her total loyalty and freedom is much more complicated than is conventionally taught.

Blog post: Everyone Loves a Little Confession and a Sports Car

Date: May 7, 2011

I was very honored to have approach me to review their new book Expat Women: Confessions.  Little did I realize that reading it would provide food for thought even though I considered myself a seasoned expat. Seems I may need a few dashes of salt to round out the seasoned aspect!

My transition back to Germany hasn’t been easy. It’s only been three months or so since I’ve been here and it feels like a year has passed with little but uggs following me and I’m not talking the shoes. While reading Expat Women: Confessions I was (embarrassingly) surprised at how much I empathized with the many questions and answers presented. In fact, I think the book actually helped me see that some of what I’m going through is quite normal and it helped to read other expats have similar feelings especially with reintegration. One would think everything would be just fine now that I’m finally back but truth is I’m not. It’s not the same.

I’m in a completely new city which creates new dynamics. My family structure, once in rhythm, is now majorly off and it affects everything negatively. I went from feeling like a superwoman just 6 months ago to feeling like a crazy maniac. I didn’t expect this much confusion. Worse, I miss America? What is that all about? Who is this woman?! According to Expat Women: Confessions I’m not feeling anything different than other women who have had it all only to give it up for new opportunity. It’s really comforting to know my feelings are common.

In the expat world, I’m not exactly the social bug. As an artist and writer I’m bound to a lot of alone time. I have my few expat friends and we all began about the same time. We consider ourselves relatively seasoned, though some have had their dash of salt already. Often when a newbie approaches us with the “I’m moving abroad” enthusiasm we kinda – though respectfully – roll our eyes. “Oh honey, living overseas is sooooo not the fairy tale you think” we say to ourselves. Of course, we were once in those shoes so we understand the excitement and the naivety. What Expat Women: Confessions does is it presents the reality with viable solutions and heart-felt realism without killing the fantasy and that’s worth gold.

Expat Women: Confessions is a must have for all female expats, novice, in between or seasoned because no matter what we sometimes forget being an expat makes us different than the rest and our problems just aren’t understood by the “norm”. Full of antidotes and “chicken soup” advice I feel better about my blues already. Yes readjustment is tough. Yes my 5 y/o is killing my appreciation for motherhood because she’s not adjusting or understanding why we’re here and not “home”. Yes we miss our house, my large kitchen and our family is currently undergoing an enormous rift. Yes I’ve hit episodes of depression, gained over 10 lbs (!!!) since the move but more than that yes, I DO want to be here damn it so I’m going to take some of the advice offered in the book and simply get over it and find solutions. It’s that or crawl into a hole.

Living abroad is the best adventure I’ve ever been on and if I wanted to discuss the blandness of life I’d have stayed put in suburbia. I thank this book for reminding me about that and about the natural process of grieving what once was. While suburbia may be a calmer life that has moderate enjoyment, it’s otherwise boring. Plus, my family back home just doesn’t get me anymore, another common expat detail we often forget to mention. Once positive relationships have soured and in many ways I feel other expat women are more my family than my own. Perhaps I needed a little slap into reality to refocus and discover again WHY I’m an expat. Adventure isn’t easy and that’s why most people only dream of doing what few of us are actually living.

Thanks Andrea Martins and Victoria Hepworth for putting Expat Women: Confessions together (and for!). I didn’t think I needed the advice. I was just reading for a review but now I feel as though I’ve had a wonderful girlfriend therapy session. The allergy meds are working, the sun is out AND I’ve decided to pursue an adaptation of The Art Cure here in Wiesbaden (more on that later).

To other expats struggling to adjust, since it takes time, use it wisely: grab a cup of coffee at your local cafe and sit down with a copy of Expat Women: Confessions. It’s the best start to a fresh and positive perspective. It’s all about sticking your head out your comfort zone and seeing what’s out there.


***Important: If you are a female expat blogger who would also like a review e-copy of our book (so if you like it, you can write about it on your blog), please get in touch here (and remember to tell us your blog's URL). Thanks so much! Andrea***

1 comment:

Joan said...

Ah, so nice to hear the truth! We expats abroad miss our families and the ease of communicating in our 'mother tongue'... but then what... it was so nice to hear about how other intelligent women face the same woes in trying to cope with yet another move albeit to a familiar "hood". I am still abroad but travelling home to my 'twenty-somethings'.... I am blessed to be apart of their challenges and successes even if its only via skype or a trip here and there! I guess not allowing depression to affect us is a challenge- but we are expat women and as long as others share their experiences, we know that we can struggle through it as well!

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