Anguah Abbey

My name is Anguah Abbey. I am a children’s book author and editor. I lived in The Netherlands with my kids for about 4 years until we moved to Ghana in 2019. I edit textbooks for public schools and ran a publishing team in Accra.
Moving to Netherlands and then back to Ghana changed my perspective about so many social issues. I have two kids who had their formative years in Netherlands but are growing up in Ghana. 
When I’m not editing or writing children’s books, I like to be a bit of a social butterfly. It’s a bit difficult to do that in recent times though. 

Tom Beck

As a Technical Writer for a German software company, I moved from my hometown of London to Potsdam in September 2017 to further my career with them. Though I’ve previously worked in Belo Horizonte and New York for short periods, this is my first permanent relocation and, along with my wife Yvonne, we’re the only members of our family currently living outside the UK.

Having only previously been to Potsdam for my job interview, I was surprised to find that it’s much more than the suburb of Berlin that it seems on a map. It has a rich history, for good and bad reasons, incredible nature and vast amounts of water, and an entirely different atmosphere from the capital city up the road.
When I’m not working, I’m a keen runner, avid football and ice hockey fan, and can often be found with the latest punk-rock album in my ears.

Melissa Joulwan

Hello! Dobrý den! We’re David and Melissa, two Americans currently living in Prague, Czech Republic. We’re both from the eastern US (Ohio and Pennsylvania), and we’ve lived together in Sausalito and San Francisco, CA; Austin, TX; and White River Junction, VT.

We’ve been a couple since 1990, and one of our favorite things to do together is to explore new places. We’ve visited 25 countries and 33 U.S. states… so far. But we also like to sit quietly and read. Basically, we’re two introverts who crave adventures, as long as we get to choose the time and place.

About 10 years ago, we decided we’d had enough of corporate life and decided that we wanted to move to Europe and travel more. We’d visited Prague several times, and the city was a combination of feeling new-to-us while also, somehow, feeling like home. We didn’t know anyone at the time who’d ditched their regular life to live abroad, but once we’d said ‘We’re going to move to Prague’ out loud a few times, it became easier to believe.

Once we’d decided Prague was where we wanted to be, we made it our goal to find creative work that was rewarding and would allow us to be geographically independent. So we wrote and published the Well Fed cookbook series. After the third volume was out in the world, we sold most of our stuff and moved to Prague.

We’ve been here four years and don’t have plans to leave. The city feels just as magical to us now as it did the first time we visited. We love the architecture, the cobblestone alleys, the parks, the cafés – and it’s a great central location for visiting other places in Europe.

Our latest project is a podcast and website called Strong Sense of Place, and it combines our favorite things: travel and reading. On each episode of our show, we take our listeners on a virtual trip to one destination — we talk about the history, culture, food, music, language, and then we recommend five books that can transport you there on the page.

www.strongsenseofplace.com
IG/Twitter: @strongsenseof

Alison Maciejewski Cortez

Hi, my name is Alison. I am a 36-year-old Chilean-American born & raised in California. I now live in Mexico with Stacy, my girlfriend of 9 years. We are new arrivals in a small town on the Riviera Nayarit, about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta.

I come from a multicultural home with a Polish-American father and Chilean immigrant mother. I grew up visiting family in Chile and hosting Chilean cousins in the US to study English. Way back in 2004 I studied abroad in Spain. Since then I’ve lived 1 year in Ireland, 4.5 years in Thailand, and 2.5 years in the Czech Republic, plus some shorter stints in other countries. My favorite cultural anthropology lesson is learning to order a beer.

I work as a freelance tech copywriter/editor. I’ve had past careers as a professional chef and an NGO program manager in the microfinance world, which I am focused on returning to. Mexico is a bit like limbo for Stacy and I as we both job hunt in Latin America.

As a long-time reader of @WeAreXpats, I am excited to be part of a project where I’ve met such cool people. I’ll be tweeting about culture, language learning, being LGBT abroad, sports, tech, politics, and food. I’m an extrovert during a global pandemic. Please talk to me!

Twitter: @alisonaglitter

Alexa Quiles-Bergmans

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Hola a todos! Hallo allemaal! My name is Ale and I am a recent arrival in the incredibly contrasting and eclectic city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Originally from Guadalajara, the second largest city in Mexico, I relocated to NL with my husband after living together in Prague, Czech Republic, for two and a half years.

When I was studying my Bachelor’s in Mexico I participated in an exchange programme in Prague and fell madly in love with the city, so I decided to come back for my Master’s degree in 2018. Couple of months after arriving back in Prague, I met who would become my future husband… a Dutchie from Rotterdam –and, a couple of years later, here I am! Have you guys tried getting married, planning an international move and starting life from scratch in the middle of a pandemic and lockdown measures? Life takes some, um… unexpected turns sometimes –to say the least!

Nevertheless, I am very happy to start experiencing a new country and culture. I have always wanted to travel the world, learn different languages, see impressive architecture and discover new smells, sounds and –above all– flavors! Both my husband and I enjoy cooking (and eating!) very much, and we are very fortunate to live in a city full of diversity –that means that there’s a whole world of different things to try. From all kinds of Moroccan spices and Turkish kumpir, to Surinamese food and –yes, of course—loads and loads and LOADS of delicious, rich, gooey Dutch cheese. But… the best part for me? The Mexican community in NL is so big that I can find all kinds of Mexican ingredients and food to very successfully tame my homesickness (yay!).

Speaking of homesickness: by this point I consider myself more of an immigrant than an expat, as we don’t have plans to relocate to Mexico, but a bit a fun fact about me is that both of my two sisters have found love in the Netherlands and moved here. Yup, that’s 3 out of 3… Moving to a new country but knowing that I’ll be surrounded by family is, I gotta say, one of the most wonderful coincidences of my life.

However, I like to think of myself as not having one single home. I carry Mexico and the Czech Republic in my heart, and now my third home –the Netherlands. I think that makes me very lucky.

Shakti Hannie

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Hi, I’m Shakti and at the moment I am not a true expat as I am living in my birth country. Having grown up in different countries during my childhood, some may call me a third culture kid (TCK). I consider myself a cultural chameleon, enjoying adding more colours to my life by interacting with
other cultures and travelling to unknown and familiar places across the globe.
My name, Shakti Hannie, half Indian and half Dutch, that’s where I grew up as a child. As an adult I lived in UK and USA for a couple of years and for a few months in Peru too…which instantly felt as home. Over the years I have noticed that I can call any place home as long as I am able to connect with like minded people or people who are open to mingling with others and set aside their prejudices. I consider this is a trait common to third culture kids, expats and cultural chameleons.
I’ve travelled to Australia, Vietnam, South Korea, Mongolia, Iceland, Uzbekistan, Nicaragua, Argentina, Spain, Norway and many more. Each place has its own beauty and challenges. Currently I live in the Netherlands and have recently reinvented my career path. I have taken up my hobby as a writer and published my first novel which is about a girl growing up in different countries and seeing the world through intercultural mingling and trying to understand her own ‘belonging’. It’s called Colours of a Cultural Chameleon. Looking forward to meeting a few more cultural chameleons out there and sharing thoughts and day to day experiences. I am glad to curate for a week.

Twitter: @HannieShakti

https://shaktihannie.com/colours-of-a-cultural-chameleon-2/

Sean C.

Hi all, my name is Sean. Moving from Hollywood, California to rural Japan is probably not too dissimilar from landing on another planet. But here I am 4 years in, with no regrets whatsoever. I’m a marketing professional who had a stint in the music world as a recording engineer in Los Angeles. Now I spend much of my time with my US job (remotely) and also running my own English school. Any spare time is spent with my kids and various creative endeavors. I met my wife in LA, and it wasn’t long before we found ourselves raising kids there.
While the big city has so much to offer, I had always imagined raising kids in the countryside. After several visits to Japan, visiting my wife’s family and seeing the difference in our children’s lifestyle, we decided to make the leap. It’s not entirely a life of sushi and sake (though that’s certainly part of it). There have been many challenges, some anticipated and some surprising. As I navigate these waters I hope to share my experiences with others. I hope you will reach out, ask questions, and share your thoughts with me.

John Sexton

Hi everyone. John here. I am a retired mechanical engineer (HVAC) and ex dive instructor with a keen interest in the sea, sailing, diving and nautical archaeological things. My catch-phrase is, “Find my dive bag and you have found me”

I was born and raised in Texas and am now in Portugal. The path has been anything but direct. I’ve always loved international travel and started early by going to Europe 3 times, Central America 8 times and the Caribbean a multitude of times in the ‘70s.

I ultimately heeded the expat call and left the US in ‘79 to go play…er…work in the Caribe for 5 years as your basic boat bum. After spending time in the Haiti, the BVI and the Turks & Caicos, I followed my (new) partner’s career to Indonesia for 2 years and Geneva for 2 years. Somehow, the following 17 years were spent in the Netherlands and culminated with a move back to the US for my mom. My last move was for an early retirement in Portugal 9 years ago.

To keep myself from being bored, I am part of a project group, Um Mergulho Na Historia, as the dive safety officer and photographer/videographer. I also volunteer with a local animal shelter taking dogs to the vet, picking up volunteers or taking dogs to the airport. Oh, and I love the wine here…

Melinda Gallo

Originally from California, I have been an expat for most of my adult life. I have lived in France, England, and Italy. For the past 16 years, Florence has been my home. 

My desire to live in France grew after I lived with two different families for a month after high school. My love of the country propelled me to major in French literature at university. I spent my junior year abroad in Lyon, France. After returning to the US to complete my studies, my primary goal was to return to France to live.

Many said it would be impossible to get a job overseas with no work experience, but that only made me even more determined. A month after graduating college, I met the CEO of a French software company. She told me she was looking for a native English-speaking technical support person to live in Paris where the headquarters were located. After spending one day at her company to speak with her and become acquainted with the software, she hired me. 

Five months after graduating college, I moved to Paris. I never imagined myself ever leaving Paris, but five years later I moved to England and worked as a freelance database developer. When my reason to be in England vanished, I wasn’t sure if I should return to Paris or travel somewhere.

The decision to come to Florence wasn’t mine. Initially, I dreamed of living in Italy for only a few months to learn the language and find my inspiration to write. I had been writing short stories and felt I needed more life experience. I imagined myself staying in Rome, Siena, or Venice for three months. However, a trip to the Italian Consulate in London changed that. The woman I spoke to convinced me that Florence would be a better choice
for me. Her reasons were so convincing that I searched for a school to take Italian lessons and left a month later.

Within three days of arriving in Florence, a powerful sensation of being home came over me. It was an unexpected feeling because I always felt I would return to Paris to live.

Living in different countries has enriched my life. Not only did I learn more about the locals, their culture, their language, and their country, but I also learned more about myself. 

After living overseas for many years, I have understood that diversity is what makes our world so beautiful. It is in embracing other people, languages, cultures, and countries that we enhance our lives.

IG/Twitter: @melindagallo

Noelle Batista

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Olá gente! My name is Noelle, I live in Sao Paulo, Brazil. and I am a freelance project coordinator with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business. I was born in Surinam but I have lived in the Netherlands for most of my life. I’ve also lived and worked in Germany and the USA. My entire life I have never really connected with any culture, it’s like every culture I grew up with – Dutch, Surinamese, American – I felt like I just couldn’t fully identify. In 2012 my fascination for the Brazilian Portuguese language began when I first listened to Brazilian music.
In 2019 I decided to spend 2 months in Brazil to take a language course. During my time there, it was like I found the missing puzzle piece. I had never felt so at home and I identified so strongly with the culture – the music, the dancing (I fell in love with forró), the kindness, the food! The way that Brazilians have this incredible zest for life just amazed me. I went back a couple more times to dance forró and see my friends. I met my treasure of a husband on one of my trips back to Sao Paulo. We spent 9 incredible days together and decided that when I came back to Brazil, we wanted to see how things would play out. We spent 3 months together in Sao Paulo, 2 of which in quarantine. There was an instant connection and we just knew this was it and didn’t want to be separated again for this long. We got married in the Netherlands this past August and I moved to Sao Paulo in September to stay indefinitely. We live in the south of the city, in our cute little house with one dog and three cats and I am loving my new expat life!