a penny for your thoughts #1

We all know how hard it can be in a world where everything seems to be a competition.
Who has the best this, who does that better or who is the funniest.
Allow me to blow your mind here — it doesn’t matter, though i am one of the funniest.
Let’s just have that settled.

Recently i’ve received a lot of messages telling me how brave i was to move, ” i could never do that.” False.
You could, but you probably don’t want to. Thats probably all it is. And thats ok.
It may sound melodramatic, but no place has ever been truly home to me. So i’ve always found it easy to move because i’ve moved to new countries all my life. I spent almost every day of my life wishing i was everywhere but where i was. And that is a huge fault because it means i forget to live in the now. Every one has a different path. Looking back for the last two years its hit me hard how many times i should have been happy with what i had now that i don’t have it anymore. Cliché. No. It’s the honest and harsh reality of living. It’s not an epic adventure filled with childhood dreams and giggles. It’s fucking hard. And devastating. I find myself looking at others and just wishing i could be half as positive — but realistically i know they aren’t necessarily that happy behind the scenes. So let me tell you, and i’m telling myself this too — stop dreaming you were as pretty as her, she ain’t all that. Stop wishing he’d notice you — because if he hasn’t now he obviously doesn’t see the greatness that is YOU.  Just as you are. Stop wishing you were a million miles away because someone else makes a different place looks like a dream. Don’t allow social media to make you think you need to change.
And to myself, most absolutely, stop dreaming that anywhere but here is where living starts.
Sweet girl, it started 26 years ago and it’s about time you figured it out.

four books for travelling girls

I’m not really the kind of person who discusses what books i read with other people, i don’t know what that is, but thats how it it is. I don’t like to share them all that much because they’re so special to me and it feels like i’m telling someone a dark secret. That being said, there are a few books that made me feel less alone when i moved far away from my family and those are always worth sharing, if they can help someone else.
These books became the friends i needed, the inspiration i craved and gave me the boost to carry on when everything seemed too hard.
And thus i’ve decided to share them with you, whether you’re an expat or just looking for something new to read — these books are golden.

I’m lucky to come from a family who have read enough books to fill most of the libraries the earth can hold.
My mother gave me these books that i now give to you — they’d spent 18 years in our library waiting for me to grow up.
She saved them for me till i was old enough to appreciate the hardships, understand the power i had to do anything i wanted and even to believe in love.
Yep — that beautiful old fashioned cliché, but i didn’t move to America for the supersized fast food portions or the tan lines after all.

Mrs. Mike and Shaman’s Daughter, they are the two that really impacted me most.
They are my sisters.
My soul.
So much so that i think of both Kathy and Supaya when the days become tiresome.
They were read during times when i was truly struggling.
Not “i’ve lost my bag along with my patience” struggling but “i want to give up because i can’t breathe” struggling.
I read Mrs.Mike when i was separated from Jack for almost 8 months — a very difficult time. It was like sitting alone in limbo. Most of the women in my family have been given a copy of “Mrs.Mike” because the book is so incredible. I also specifically buy any copy of the book i see. Just incase.

Shamans Daughter i read when i wasn’t able to work legally in the USA yet, so i was volunteering at a state park as much as i could. I’m the kind of person who likes to make my own way, i don’t like to be paid for or “kept.” So the not working and having no life outside of my house was pretty tough. The state park was a release — even though all i did was drive around and pick up litter. I quite enjoyed it. I got to sit in a gator and be social with a 7ft ex-police officer, all the while doing a little to help the environment. As i said being an expat isn’t glamourous. You have to do what you to do, and a lot of the times you get some great memories to look back on, even through the hardships.
As i was reading Shamans Daughter i just felt so inspired to find the new version of me and it gave me a push to believe in whatever was coming my way. What would be — would be as it should be.
The earth looks after her own.

I’d lived in America for a few years before i received Tisha and Brooklyn as birthday presents.
I read Tisha recently. It is such a wonderful story. It’ll make you feel everything so deeply. Theres so much in this little book about clashing cultures, settling in in a harsh place and trying to find solstice in hard decisions.
Tisha is one determined bad-ass girl with a heart as beautiful as a wildflower in the spring.

In all honesty, Brooklyn wasn’t as great a read for me as the other three — but it still deserves to be in this group, because i know a lot of people would love this book. I can guarantee its better than the film — the film was pretty spot on however.
I think this one is important because it deals with distance, grief and the mind of a very mixed up young girl who doesn’t know the right decision — even when it slaps her wide across the chops. Its beautiful in its own right and i think this one would appeal to the younger readers.


Anyway, these books are wonderful stories of young women who got up and left.
They packed their bags, kissed their mothers goodbye and left everything comfortable & familiar.
All that with just a suitcase of their most precious belongings.
Just like i did.
Just like so many other expats have done and will do again.
Just like you might do too — one day.
And these books would help get you there and keep you grounded.
I promise.
And — you’re welcome.


If you end up giving any of these books a read — i’d love to know what you think!
How did they make you feel?

(side note — this is not an ad or a paid review, no nothing like that. Just something for those literary expats out there and just general bibliophiles.)