Growing Up the Saban Way

Growing Up the Saban Way

By Kelsi Folsom "The practice of gratitude and fortitude will never be an unfruitful one, and is, I think, one of the greatest gifts of living abroad."         Ask anyone if they have ever heard of Saba, and most likely you will hear, “No, where is that?” To which I reply, “Well, it’s a five-square mile volcanic island of fewer than 1,800 people located in the Dutch Caribbean. It's home to the shortest commercial runway in the world, one of the most difficult medical schools, and the highest geographical point in the Netherlands. Want to grab lunch?” Saba is a charming mix of cultures. Although currently a Dutch protectorate, the language spoken is primarily English (with Dutch, Saba English, and a sprinkling of Spanish). There are the “expat locals” (American, Canadian, Scandinavian, European, Filipino, and others I have yet to interact with) and the “born and raised locals” (descendants of great sea-captains, pirates, shipbuilders, fishermen, and slaves) in addition to the 500 or so...
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Meeting the Parents…Without the Boyfriend

Meeting the Parents…Without the Boyfriend

Guest post by Carrie Elizabeth Akarslan You wouldn’t normally meet your boyfriend’s parents by going on a twelve-day tour of Japan together. Of course, our relationship doesn’t follow the “normal context, ” and so this is a story about how I met my Turkish boyfriend’s parents for the first time. I grew up on a small ranch in Oregon, riding horses and shoveling manure. I walked to school and went to church most Sundays. My family later moved to Connecticut, and after college, I moved to Florida for the warm weather and relaxed lifestyle. I lived in a city with a population of roughly 40,000, and this felt like a city to me. Several years later, feeling the need for a new adventure, I found myself alone on the small island of Roatan, off the coast of Honduras. I was considering a position teaching at an international school there so I decided to take a vacation to Roatan to learn how it’d feel...
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Is It Time For This Mother In France To Rentrer?

Is It Time For This Mother In France To Rentrer?

Five years ago, my husband and I packed up our Manhattan apartment and moved across the ocean to France. Our plan was to stay for two to three years and then hightail it back to the U.S. to start a family. There was no way I was going to have a baby in a foreign country! Except that I did. And we stayed. Despite my initial reticence—and bolstered by the experiences described in Bringing Up Bébé—I loved being pregnant in France. I have zero regrets, even though I only understood 60% of any doctor’s appointment throughout my pregnancy. During delivery, my husband stood by my shoulder translating, “Breathe…push…push again…okay, I’m not sure what the OB is saying but maybe push again?...Oh wait, no, don’t push! DON’T PUSH!!” Even though we had lived in France for a few years, we had difficulty making close friends. When my son was born, I realized that we couldn’t continue to operate in isolation. I needed a village....
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Struggling To Breastfeed in Bangkok: Why Expat Moms Need Support

Struggling To Breastfeed in Bangkok: Why Expat Moms Need Support

BY LAURA KENT-DAVIDSON I can still remember the feeling I had walking off the plane in Bangkok with my eight-month-old in arms. Thailand was going to be our home for the next two years, and I was both terrified and overwhelmed with excitement. While I was eager to connect with locals and absorb Thai culture, I knew that reaching out to the English-speaking community was going to be important in my adjustment to help prevent the feelings of isolation I was afraid of developing. I wasn’t sure what to expect walking into the unknown, and as a breastfeeding mother, I was curious about what the breastfeeding culture in Bangkok. Would there be other breastfeeding moms in my community for support? I hoped that I would be able to find a few. Within days of arriving, I became aware of a group called the Bangkok Breastfeeding Cafe. From what I could tell online, it was a casual meet-up at a local coffee shop for...
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A Virtual Baby Shower On The Riviera

A Virtual Baby Shower On The Riviera

By Patricia Bowden   I discovered I was pregnant on a beautiful day in the spring. I was elated to find that after a lifetime of traveling the world and finally settling down with a lovely Italian man, my final dream was only nine months away. The only downside was that I was living in Italy, far away from my friends and family. Being pregnant made me increasingly homesick. Being pregnant during the information age exacerbated that homesickness to new heights. I watched as many of my childhood friends, who were also pregnant, uploaded pictures of their baby showers. I felt completely isolated and forgot why moving to Italy was such a great idea. [Tweet "Being pregnant made me increasingly homesick"] I don’t remember when the idea hit me, but one day I suddenly found myself Googling “virtual baby showers.” It turns out that virtual baby showers are actually a thing. I quickly found a virtual baby shower hosting site that was perfect...
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