expat blogger of the month

Hello lovely readers !
Let me catch you up a little on whats going on.
A few days ago i received an email asking if i was interested in contributing to an online expat magazine on expat.com.
I was so surprised and super excited, so of course i said yes. What an interesting opportunity.
I only recently happened across this website for expats a week or two ago from happening to glance at a few other expat blogs, so this all happened really quickly. Hence my surprise. Its a really great platform for people to learn about moving abroad and getting information from real people who have experienced that kind of life. So its genuine advice, thoughts and discussions. So if theres anyone out there reading this that wants to move abroad and wants a little help, this might be a nice place for you. (This is not an advert by the by — this is just my own opinion and i’m not paid to have said opinion). 
Anyway, they sent me a list of questions to answer about my blog and my general expat experiences. I know i don’t write like other people so i was a little unsure that my writing was right for something like this as its very “novel-esque,” but thats just the ever present self doubt we all suffer from once in a while making an appearance.

Tomorrow this little extract on me goes live on the online magazine, and i didn’t realise it that it means i am “the blogger of the month” August 2018 ! How exciting is that after only having been a member for a very short time?


Thats my little bit of news for this gloomy Monday night.
I hope you all have a lovely on going week, and that its not as humid where you are as it is here.
You can read the “interview” here!

Its never too early in the year for long johns. Ever.

 

 

the interview, a get out feeling and a bear in the call centre

“Wow, your life is so interesting. Why do you want to work here?”

I sighed deeply as i looked out the window at the wind raking through the trees, and i look blankly back at the lady; who looked like she hadn’t left her office chair since some time in the early 60’s. Her and the chair had become one. You couldn’t tell where she ended and her chair began.

“I don’t.” 

Ok, i didn’t respond quite like that however i’d already decided i just wanted to get out of that office. She thought my life was some crazy hollywood ride and she couldn’t quite fathom why i was sitting in front of her applying for a low paying job that is mostly for college students. Frankly, i couldn’t entirely fathom it either. Apart from the raw honesty of the matter of me wanting money on a consistent basis. To pay for camera equipment, flights, road trips and everything in this world that money has to buy.
She gave me the job, but i haven’t taken it, and i probably wont.
My life isn’t a blockbuster. Its a rough one.
The hundreds of sacrifices, changed plans or things i’ve missed out on because i’ve lived the way i do. Its not to say i’d change it, but i also don’t know that i would entirely recommend it to anyone unless they know what they’re getting into.
Moving away from your home country is a very hard thing to do, and i’ve done it several times. You’ll find yourself feeling like you’ve missed out and that you’re this lost soul amongst a crowd, looking in on a life that could have been yours but instead you took a step out of line — then you kept walking.
You wont feel shame, but when you return home this awful feeling of not belonging can really make your heart bleed. And theres no one else who can relate to said feeling. That is very very lonely indeed. As i’ve said so many times before, i’ve been lucky to have someone supporting me through thick and thin, but some people wont have that. They’ll be in over their heads and they’re likely to drown. I’ve almost drowned more than a hundred times.
My life? Its not perfect and everyday isn’t glamorous. In fact, most days i’m struggling to think of things to write about or things to take pictures of, because its not especially easy for me to get out and explore. This apartment doesn’t look the way i want it to. I don’t have the furniture i wish i did, becuase i dont want to buy it until i live where i want to stay — and i may never find home.  This state is expensive, and though it maybe beautiful it doesn’t inspire me. The culture, the history, the working environments and the people — i can’t quite get in there. So to speak. I’m the type of person who has to feel everything to be productive. And i find it hard to feel positively when i’m living somewhere that just doesn’t work for me.
So no, my life is not a hollywood movie, and i wouldn’t ever want it to be.
And i’m not unhappy.

So, I don’t think i’m above the job. Whatsoever. No one is above a job. You do what you need to do and you hustle. Its mostly that i know i’d quit within a few months out of the sheer monotony of it  and frankly my phone manner isn’t always polite or friendly– which would result in wasting her time and mine. Not to mention a large amount of very displeased people with complaints about an angry redhead over the phone.  Think of it as trying to cage a bear or shoving a bison into a shoe box. Not to mention those who were working at the time i was being interviewed, looked about ready to eat each other just for a change of scenery, like their souls had been sucked out of their ears. It was also the absolute weirdest and most uncomfortable interview i’ve ever been to. A pretty good indication of what the job would be like under her management. She spent more time trying to dissect my travel log, talking about her rich friends and foul mouthing Texas rather than discussing the job with me.
Mistake.
The Texas thing was the kicker, it happens to me quite frequently in New England, whatever the whole Texas thing is — lets go ahead and get over it. Shall we? I mean there are places i don’t like either, but i make note not to shit on it and rub anyones face in said fecal smudge. Its rude.
By all means have an opinion but also common decency.

As i’m writing its storming outside — the sky is in as much turmoil as i am. The thunder is rolling and lighting is snapping at the ground like a bullwhip. I’ve got myself thinking, wandering and pondering. My mind has run on ahead of me. I feel trapped and i’m ready to move again, somewhere by the vast plains, . Maybe in the dark woods in Denmark. All I know is i’m not built for the office life or the everyday 9 to 5. Im not made to stay in the wrong place or in the same place for too long. It just doesn’t function with me. Im not saying its a bad job or a bad state, i’m just saying i know i couldn’t do it personally.
There are some jobs that just don’t work for some but that happen to work for others.

I need to create like i need air. I need to be free to imagine, get dirty and find out what life is all about — and to me life can’t be about living in a cubicle everyday. Its about the road and getting there. I need to discover life so i have something to write about. Thats not to say i don’t work shitty jobs, because trust me. I know how to work a shitty job pretty damn well, i’ve worked a lot of them — and i do it gladly because life has to go on, but an office job is just too much of a reach for me.

ships in my tea cup

Its been a long yet productive weekend. Tomorrow is my last work day before i have some time off, and i can’t wait to sleep later than 6.30am. I’ve been dreaming about all the things i want to do and all the places i want to be, but unfortunately i can only be in one place at a time — and where i am right now isn’t on my list of places. I’m grateful for the experience i’ve gained here but sometimes i feel like a caged bird that gets fed old crackers to pipe back a name or flip on my perch.
I want to be out there somewhere getting lost and getting dirt under my finger nails. Somewhere that’ll be truly home. Once i’ve finished getting some farrier experience under my belt i think i’ll be more than ready to get on the road and try to find where my forever will be.
So for now i’ll dream into my tea cup and try to survive the ghastly humidity that we’re having up here in the North East.
Have a lovely on-coming week!


The 411 Of Being An Expat

“I’ve been homesick for countries I’ve never been, and longed to be where I couldn’t be.” —John Cheever

When i first started out my blog i wanted to talk about integrating into another culture, being an expat and living away from your home country; the struggles and the joys.
This will be my first official post about being an expat.
So here are ten frequently asked questions i get daily.

1. What are you doing here? 

This is the biggest question i get asked, and quite frankly the rudest.
I always immediately lock up and become utterly defensive — wanting to respond with something witty and probably seeded with expletives.
But regardless of that — the simple answer to that question is that i’m living.

2. What made you want to come to America? 

When you’re foreigner or expat, unfortunately it automatically makes your life a public spectacle. People become nosey, and want to know everything about you. This can be incredible frustrating and i’m still finding my feet on how to handle questions that i don’t entirely want to answer. As i’ve said i’m a private person and my business is my business. In short i never wanted to come to America – i didn’t plan on it. I didn’t even want to go to America on holiday. I wanted to move back to Denmark and die there, but my plans clearly changed. I met a man i couldn’t even have dreamed of and i moved to be with him. Yes, long distance relationships are hard, but not impossible if they’re worth it and mine absolutely was. People are always quick to cast something aside when it gets tough, but thats not what life is about. Its about taking that bull by the horns and riding him out.

3. Don’t you miss you family?

Yes. Everyday. I think about them everyday. I wonder what they’re doing and if they’re happy. If they ever think of me and what i’m doing. I wonder what i’m missing out on. I picture what life could have been like if i’d moved to Denmark and been there with them 24 -7. And thats when i realise it never could have been me. Realistically i was born to discover and wander. And my family let me go like a free bird looking for warmer suns. I miss out on so many wonderful gatherings, and when i hear others around me talking about not wanting to visit grandma, how their mother was being a pain or their father wont buy them a car … i think to myself. How lucky you are to have your family down the road. Never forget how lucky you are, because there are days when it is torture and a very lonely way to live if you are 4000 miles away from them.

4. What was immigration like? 

Well, first off it cost more than a liver, set of kidneys and a prosthetic leg on the black market. But i will say, considering the cost, we had a relatively painless experience regarding immigration. The worst part was probably having to go to do medical things, which i hated but it wasn’t as terrible as i’d thought it was going to be. I thought i was going to have to drop my clothes and get man handled. I do not appreciate being at all trifled with so this was my worst nightmare. It was not as bad as all that. I just had my measurements, bio metrics and some injections done. Pretty painless, but i’d actually looked up a list of the medical things i needed before i left home and got my own doctor to give me most of the jabs i needed.

5. Do you get to go home very often?

Sadly not as often as i would wish. Its expensive and a very long trip. Its a night and a day. Its really enjoyable when theres two of us but thats even more expensive especially with an animal the needs constant attention at home. So no. Sometimes i’ll go alone for a few weeks which is nice but its hard to be away from one life to go to another. Theres also people who want to see you but don’t understand that you just don’t have time to see everyone inside of a short holiday — this can cause a lot of agro so i pretty much stick to just seeing family.
But i always miss Jack terribly. We’re two peas in a pod. And i don’t like being alone in a pod.

6. Weren’t you scared?

Nope. I wasn’t. I honestly never thought it was as big a deal as everyone made out to me. I was excited, but i wasn’t ever scared or in any doubt. I’d made my mind up to go and so i did. I looked back but only to see how far i’d come. Never in regret. I knew there would be things i would lose and be giving up, but life comes at you — you get up and you go.

7. What was it like to move such a long way?

It wasn’t until i’d been gone a year or so that i started to realise how hard the move was getting to be on me. My life ended up having to stop while i waited for immigration to be done. I couldn’t legally work, i couldn’t drive and it was Texas… there was nowhere to go that was in walking distance. Even if there had been — the heat would have killed me 20 steps in.
However, having been home all that time gave me months of working on interests and projects. I learned to knit, crochet, practice my photography, created art, learned to sew, exercised and practiced Shakespeare. I read as many books as physically possible and taught myself to cook. You have to make the best of the situations that suck. And it really wasn’t plain sailing. It was hard work. Nothing, and i mean nothing worth having is ever easy. Why would it be? You’d never appreciate it if it was. I suffered pretty severely from cabin fever but i got through it. Its a huge struggle that honestly cant truly be expressed in all its horrific-ness. You’ll know when you hit that wall, but remember. Just pursue the interests you’ve never had time for. Get excited about new bird species, sunrises and hailstones the size of your fists. Life is not all about 9 to 5 and paychecks. 

8. Was it hard to start working in another country?

It was nerve wracking, and sometimes it still is. Even after a few years i don’t entirely understand the American culture or the way people act with each other here. And obviously, with me it goes slower because i am a notorious recluse.  I don’t understand the rules, paperwork or the taxes. I’ve been lucky that i’ve had Jack to help me every step of the way, if i was alone it would have been a very arduous up hill battle. Working in another country never phased me till i tried it in the USA, the language is ever so slightly similar to English but don’t be fooled. Thats where the similarities end.
At least i’m still funny, witty and entertaining in every language. So i can always bring the laughs.

9. Does the magic of being an expat ever wear off?

Only if you let it. I don’t. I enjoy every car ride, every walk and every rain fall. Its another case of making the best of the opportunity you’ve been given. Yes, i just made myself sound like a Labrador but truly, if any animal treasures every day — its a dog. So there are worse things.
I will say that not every day is a bed of roses and full of unicorns, sometimes those unicorns leave giant turds and those roses have thorns. But you cannot expect everyday to be a holiday. Visiting a place for a holiday is VERY different to moving there and creating an entirely new life.  You still have to wake up to yourself every morning. This is something i CANNOT stress enough. I was lucky enough to know this from a very young age so i knew this when i moved to the USA. But those of you who don’t — think about it. I’ve met a few people who say things such as “I want to move to London, i had the best vacation for like a week,” or “I love Sweden is looks like so much fun in the snow!”
Stop. Right. There. 
London can be a rough area — like any/every capital city. A week with a friend is fun and all, but a lifetime and you could be letting yourself in to some serious problems not to mention dangerous situations if you think its all Mary Poppins and Bridget Jones’ high waisted underpants. Mr.Darcy isn’t that good looking or charming in real life.
Swedish winters are beautiful but you could also turn into an icicle if you don’t know the ropes or you could go insane due to the 6 months of constant sunlight/darkness.
I’m not saying don’t go, but i am saying be smart and remember that life is life — it will have downs just like it has ups. Can you survive Monday to Friday living where-ever you want to go? You be completely starting over and it can be very lonesome.

10. Its easy to integrate if you want to, isn it?

Sure it is for some, but others not. I think a lot of that depends on culture and the country someone is  moving to/from.
I don’t know that i’ve ever integrated anywhere, or ever wanted to. In England i was always the funny foreign kid but i still had a pretty great childhood, but i wouldn’t say i “integrated”. I’ve never changed, i’ve been the same person for a good while — i’m worldly, and though antisocial, i do mix pretty well with a lot of cultures and people. For the most part I believe in respecting a country for what it is and not asking it to fit YOU. Its you who must assimilate. The country does not owe you a damn thing. Remember that.
However, I quite enjoy being an outsider looking in. You experience more and get a better understanding of differences.
Your mind broadens.
That is a huge gift.

the secret kept by mountains

Do you have anything you want to ask or want to know about being an expat?
You can write a comment on this post, and i’ll try to answer as many as i can !