Book Review: The Expat Partner’s Survival Guide

Book Review: The Expat Partner’s Survival Guide

  The Expat Partner's Survival Guideby Clara Wiggins is nothing short of volume full of incredible resources, personal accounts, and tips from an expert expat and 70 contributors. Clara is a fourth generation expat and has lived in twelve countries on five continents. Her worldliness shows in her approach to this guide and anyone who is considering a life overseas should read this book first before making the leap. As I was reading it, I wish I had this guide before we moved to Sweden. It was one of those, "Man, why couldn't I have read this before we moved instead of after?" thoughts. It remains at the top of my recommended resources for anyone considering a move abroad or relocation. Clara's narrative style is like that of a good friend guiding you through one of the most difficult life-decisions you've ever made over a nice cup of coffee (or tea since she is British). She is calm, humorous, and keeps things in perspective. The world "trailing spouse"...
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Top 10 Takeaways from the Families in Global Transition Conference 2016, Netherlands

Top 10 Takeaways from the Families in Global Transition Conference 2016, Netherlands

The hunger pangs subside and the bleariness of the morning-after-a-long-travel-day fade into uncontrollable laughter as I listen to the hilariously honest opening keynote narrated by Christopher O'Shaughnessy. I'm sitting next to Jodie Hopkins, a woman I had only met two hours earlier but yet we instantly connected, and I keep glancing over at her as we laugh at the ridiculousness of this situational comedy. We've all been in that fish-out-of-water, cultural nakedness scenario that Chris is so fluently describing. "Expats arrive at their destinations culturally naked." [Tweet "Expats arrive at their destinations culturally naked. —Chris O'Shaughnessy"] Or in Chris' case, physically naked. The self-deprecating nature of the opening keynote grants us permission to humbly acknowledge that we've all experienced unbelievably embarrassing moments that we mortals would prefer to forget let alone share with 200 strangers through a microphone. However, as the laughs dissipate through the crowd, a more important topic is introduced—empathy—the theme of this conference. We have become a community of digital nomads and in the quest to build communities without geographical limitations,...
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Lessons Learned After Editing an Anthology

Lessons Learned After Editing an Anthology

Despite never having managed a professional sports team, I imagine that writing an anthology is somewhat similar. There is a bit of cheering from the sidelines, calling periodic team meetings, and encouraging your contributors to provide you their best work possible. First, let's get the terminology down: A collection of stories versus an anthology. Some people use these terms interchangeably, however, in the publishing world,  a "collection of stories" is described as a book of short stories written by one person and an "anthology" as a book of short stories written by several people. Knocked Up Abroad is an anthology featuring 23 different writers in 24 different countries. On my long list of goals, getting knocked up and giving birth in 24 different countries is not something I would ever attempt so a collection of stories, it is not, according to a publisher. Communicate clearly and regularly with your contributors Be super clear with roles and responsibilities in the beginning of the project....
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Leave a Review!

Leave a Review!

This is an example of an amazing 5-star review a reader wrote on the book's Amazon page. Wonderful reviews like this not only make me smile (that should be enough motivation, right?) but they also help other readers discover the book. If you've read the book and feel inspired to share your thoughts and opinions about the book, please head back to Amazon to leave a review. It doesn't have to be nearly as thorough as this one but any honest feedback is warmly welcomed. To leave a review for the Kindle version click here. To leave a review for the paperback version click here. To leave a review on Goodreads, click here. To buy the book to read and then review, click here: Many thanks! Lisa ...
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Swedish Parents Don’t Expect Pinterest Perfection

Swedish Parents Don’t Expect Pinterest Perfection

It’s mid-1990s and I’m in the fourth grade. My mom opens a box of 24 red and pink Valentines featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse on the front. I sit next to her and fold them along their dotted lines, signing my name and making little hearts above my I’s instead of dotting them. You know, for that special Valentine’s Day flourish. Somewhere between my school-age days and my children’s school-age days, the way Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day (and every other Hallmark holiday) has changed dramatically. No longer are store-bought Valentines the social norm. Now we have Pinterest and YouTube tutorials showing us moms how to create the perfect, homemade Valentine for our children’s classmates that will still eventually be trashed within two days (if we’re lucky). In the effort of full-disclosure, I am the mom who produces Pinterest-fail worthy creations. Not for lack of effort but due to the extreme absence of any artistic ability whatsoever. Some moms enjoy buying the perfect little buttons...
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Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

  After answering the question, "Why did you choose to self-publish?" numerous times, I thought writing down my thoughts would be easier than explaining this decision verbally. I discussed it a little with Hubert O'Hearn during our podcast interview and I wanted to expand on the topic a bit.  After months of extensive research and contemplation, I decided to pursue self-publishing for three main reasons, which I will outline below: 1) there is a plethora of self-publishing tools to make the process relatively straightforward,  2) I had the time, interest, and capacity to become my own publisher, and 3) I wanted to maintain absolute editorial control, including the timeline. Without these primary reasons, perhaps I might have pursued a traditional publisher.  Here's why: 1) Self-publishing tools are available and relatively user-friendly One may think this is a blessing, but really, it is a curse. While there may be numerous tools available, it still requires a lot of time to decide which publishing route is most appropriate for your...
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What Pregnant Women Should Know About the Zika Virus

What Pregnant Women Should Know About the Zika Virus

  In the past few days, both the US CDC and WHO have issued guidelines for pregnant women regarding the Zika virus and I wanted to provide more information based on the research I conducted. Zika is very similar to dengue—a virus with which I am intimately familiar.  I investigated two dengue fever outbreaks in Brunei back in my field-work public health days. All of the underlined text is linked to scientific articles if you want more information. Where is Zika now? There was an explosive pandemic in 2015 that has everyone at WHO and US CDC quite nervous, and for good reason. As of week 3 in 2016, the following countries have Zika confirmed cases: Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, US Virgin Islands, Venezuela. January 13, 2016 a case was reported in Texas, US. January 15, 2016 another case was reported in Hawaii.   What is the Zika...
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It’s Ebook Release Day!

It’s Ebook Release Day!

You know that scene in the movie Frozen (of course you do) when Anna wakes up with her hair all a mess and says excitedly, "It's coronation day!" that was basically me this morning, but I said, "It's ebook release day!" I was up before any of my children (that's a change), hopped in the shower, hopped out of the shower (all children still asleep), and opened my computer in anticipation. To my frustrated surprise, all of the Amazon websites had listed the book as "live" except for Amazon US. Come on, guys. Get it together, Amazon! Sure, the US was still very much asleep at what was 2 a.m. Eastern Time, but I was wide awake, and I wanted my book in my Kindle app. That idea is absurd considering I have 50 different iterations of the ebook on my computer, but there is a certain satisfaction seeing the "real deal." I recently heard the old saying, "You're only as happy as your...
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5 Tips for the Expecting Expat

5 Tips for the Expecting Expat

I excitedly clicked on the article, "5 Tips for the Expectant Expat" expecting to find an article about being pregnant abroad. Instead, the article contained five tips for preparing for expatriation. When something is on your brain, you start to see it everywhere. Clearly, I have pregnancy on my brain 24/7. The idea of expecting expats gave me the idea to jot down some of my own tips beyond my favorite, "Use your belly as a table for convenient spill-free eating." Please feel free to share your own experiences in the comments to share the wealth of knowledge that we have learned from our own journeys. 1. Import baby culture that is meaningful to you If you live in a country with completely different baby culture than the one you hail from, you may feel like your pregnancy journey is lacking in some way. For example, in Sweden, it is not customary to have a baby shower whereas, in the US, every pregnancy milestone is an...
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Knocked Up in Germany—Insider Tips From Two American Women

Knocked Up in Germany—Insider Tips From Two American Women

  Upon first arrival, many expat women must navigate a foreign medical system that may be remarkably different from the healthcare system back “home.” Germany has a reputation for having one of the best healthcare systems in the world, providing its residents with comprehensive health insurance coverage.   Approximately 85% of the population is part of the public health insurance while the rest have private health insurance. In 2007, health insurance reform required everyone to have coverage for at least hospital and outpatient medical treatment. This mandatory insurance also includes coverage for pregnancy and certain medical check-ups.   Pregnant women in Germany receive three mandatory ultrasounds: One scan weeks 9-12, another during weeks 19-22, and a final scan during weeks 29-32. All scan results are entered into your Mutterpass, a booklet documenting your health statistics.  But aside from the typical Google search results, what else does a pregnant expat in Germany need to know?   I asked two American women currently living in Germany, Michele Landreman-Löschner, and Maureen...
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