I am your home

I am your home

  My voice is hushed and soft as I sing the lullaby to my two-and-a-half-going-on-ten-year-old daughter that I have sung to her since she was born. I had a lot of time on my hands to memorize the song during all of those hours rocking and nursing her when she was a baby. I've sung other songs to her, of course, but that one was my go-to. My favorite song about us. Singing a song about love and friendship seemed like a better alternative to the redundantly boring Mary Had A Little Lamb.   We used to rock in the oversized faux leather chair that we bought when I was pregnant with my son. That rocking chair has seen many sleepless nights. Many nights rocking babies back and forth held in my arms throughout the dark hours of the morning, night, and who knows when. Time has no meaning when you're upset instead of sleeping.   Today we aren't rocking but the song has the same calming effect.   "You be...
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5 Tips For An Enjoyable Field Trip With Young Children

5 Tips For An Enjoyable Field Trip With Young Children

Not many people would volunteer to chaperone twenty-two children between the ages of four and six when you don't speak the language, but that is exactly what I did. My main goal for the trip was completely selfish. I have been seeking out intensive language immersion opportunities and Swedish children don't understand English. My basic Swedish was going to get a workout and I figured, at the very least, that I could provide an extra pair of hands and eyes to help out the teachers. I'm pretty sure the kids thought I was a crazy lady because I accidentally switched the Swedish words for "gloves" and "wait." Luckily for me, shouting, "Gloves a little bit! Gloves a little bit!" while waiting for the bus did still get their attention, so I wasn't completely ineffective. While on the trip, I observed how Swedish daycare teachers fearlessly manage large groups of kindergarten-age children. Without a doubt, corralling that number of kids while venturing out in the big...
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International Resources for Domestic Violence

International Resources for Domestic Violence

Nobody wants to believe that they will ever need these resources, however, as expat women we are at a severe disadvantage if the unimaginable happens. Living abroad means that we are often without the support of our family and friend networks. There may be a language barrier, and we may feel like there is nowhere to turn for help. I have lost one friend to domestic violence and every year, we lose more women to the unthinkable. We cannot help others if we do not discuss these issues. I am committed to helping women near and far seek out helpful resources and support. This is by no means an exhaustive list of resources but it is a start. Always, you can email me or Skype me as a sympathetic ear, an objective listener, and someone who cares. I care and there is a way out, I promise. ORGANIZATIONS/AGENCIES Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Line 3300 N.W. 185th Street, Suite 133 Portland, OR 97229 Phone: (503) 203-1444 Toll-free: 1-866-USWOMEN (International...
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Breaking the Mom-Guilt Cycle

Breaking the Mom-Guilt Cycle

"Please, Lucy. Mama went to six different stores to find that costume. Can you please wear it?" My heart crushed, my ears burning, and my inner self, the mother who promised never resort to guilt-trips, is disgusted that I am practically begging my daughter to wear this ridiculous outfit. Why do I care so much that she doesn't want to wear a costume? Why am I behaving like the type of mother I swore I would never become? Because Mom-guilt is a potent force and it takes an even stronger person to recognize it before it poisons your motherly influence. Don't ask me why, but Easter witches are part of Swedish culture and every spring, little children dress as witches and warlocks to hand out handmade Easter cards in exchange for candy. (It's basically like trick or treating, but no Swede would ever admit that.) After spending two days driving around town and frantically searching through six (or was it seven?) different stores, the...
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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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