Hi! We’re Tiffany and Katy, an expat and a repat, respectively, and the hosts and creators of The Bittersweet Life Podcast. Katy and Tiffany both grew up just outside Seattle, USA (Katy by way of Minnesota), but they had vastly different paths that led them to the expat life. Tiffany always knew she was destined to roam, and after spending four years in Boston, she moved to Montreal, Canada for her first expat experience. That wasn’t quite far enough away, and after a few years back in Boston, she finally fulfilled her dream of moving to Rome where she’s been ever since. Katy, on the other hand, stayed in Washington State until five years ago, when her husband won a fellowship to study in Rome for a year. This unexpected move to Rome reunited these childhood friends, and since Katy was a seasoned NPR producer, they decided to launch a podcast.
The Bittersweet Life began as a podcast about what it means to live abroad—the joys and frustrations of the expat experience—and has since become a dynamic exploration of what it means to LIVE. Every week, the two long-time friends parse life’s loftiest questions, about place, home, art, beauty, and identity, alongside interviews with famous authors and scholars.
Katy has since moved back to Seattle, with stints in New Orleans and San Francisco along the way. She continues to produce for radio, and is also currently working on a memoir and a picture book. Tiffany is now thoroughly entrenched in Italian life with a Roman husband and son. She’s the author of middle grade art mystery Midnight in the Piazza(HarperCollins, 2018) and currently working on her next book, Saving Caravaggio. She is also a travel writer and a tour leader in Rome.
Hi, I’m Steph. Born and bred in beautiful Southern Germany, I have always been an avid traveller and language enthusiast. While my roots are definitely Bavarian, I knew from an early age that I needed to spread my wings and explore new horizons. I moved to England in my twenties to pursue a Masters Degree, and met my husband. We decided to start a family and lived in London and Kent for a while, before packing up our belongings and moving to Northern California, where we discovered how much fun it was to explore a country that was new to all of us.
After California, we moved to Austin, Texas, then spent a year back in England, before moving back to Austin. I am fascinated by cultural quirks and differences and love observing and talking to people from other parts of the world. I love writing about this experience, exploring how moving abroad affects family dynamics, friendships, and your sense of identity, and what it’s like to have a family where everybody is shaped slightly differently by their surroundings.
I love hearing about other people’s experiences, especially now that my kids are teenagers. There is so much information on bringing up young TCKs but not so much about teens! You can read about my observations on www.transcontinentaloverload.com, (a sort of online memoir of my family’s last ten years) and https://www.facebook.com/transcontinentaloverload. I’m currently working on creating a podcast, sharing stories with other expats, so watch this space!
Hi, I’m Katia. I’m a writer and expat coach. I’m Greek by origin and have been on my expat journey for the past 25 years. My current home is Zurich, Switzerland, where I live with my husband and three TCKs. I was born in Cameroon and moved to Greece when I was four. Even though, after that, I spent my childhood in one place, Athens, from a very young age, I knew I’d leave my passport country to live abroad, ideally in many different places. Both my parents were immigrants, so you could say I had the ‘migrant bug’.
I was a researcher and defense analyst for ten years, which I thoroughly enjoyed, until I discovered that my true purpose in life was helping people like me – foreigners, expats, global nomads – find home in the world and make the most of their global lives. So I wrote a book about how to make great moves (you guessed it – it’s called A Great Move: Surviving and Thriving in Your Expat Assignment), which was published in 2018.
Looking for more ways to support the globally mobile, I trained as a coach, which allows me to offer them support for navigating transitions, whether it’s making successful geographical moves, reinventing their careers or dealing with separation and divorce while living abroad. Whatever their specific circumstances, I’m passionate about helping my clients feel empowered to make conscious choices, go after their goals and thrive in their global lives. I also love ballet, yoga and have a constant craving for warm, sunny places.
Hey, I’m Jerry. I grew up in a cornfield in the middle of the United States but always dreamed of faraway places. In 2006 my family and I moved to China where we still live today. We’ve lived in three different China cities and currently live in Qingdao on the east coast. One of my favorite things in the world is digging into the challenges and opportunities that present themselves when people who grew up radically different from each other come into the same space. So I’m thrilled to get to work as a cross-cultural trainer, coach and writer.
I write stuff on a blog and build resources for international people. This week, when I’m not tweeting, I will be in southern China speaking to a group of International Schools about the impact of mobility and globalization on education. I am a serial optimist and I love what gets planted into people when they connect with the world. I am a huge advocate for families who choose to brave the mess of living abroad and find a lot of purpose in trying to help navigate the hard things and engage the richness.
Hi! My name is Alaine Handa and I’m honored to be chosen to share my globally nomadic life on @WeAreXpats this week. I’m usually at tweeting @AHdancecompany so you can find me there after this week. I’m an adult third culture kid and grew up attending international and American schools in Southeast Asia then went to university in sunny California before embarking on a busy choreographer/dancer/dance educator life in New York City. I returned back to Singapore after New York for a couple years and then moved to Switzerland to get my postgraduate degree in hospitality management. After the program, I did my internship in Brussels and then began my life as a travel, food, wine, and chocolate writer! I’ve worked in performing arts, education, events, F&B, hotels, and of course culinary!
My cookbook “In search of the best Swedish chokladbollar” was published last November and since then it has been a whirlwind promoting the book and meeting so many people who are as excited about chocolate balls as I am. The book is available worldwide online but also in some independent shops in Singapore, Stockholm, Uppsala, and London. In addition to my book, I also still teach dance workshops and choreograph for dance film, solo projects, and other choreographic commissions. In my spare time, I like to cook or bake new recipes, study Swedish, read books, binge on Netflix, workout, improvisational dance, and spend time with my boyfriend, friends, and family.
You can find my blog and online shop at www.travelwithalaine.com. I’m currently splitting my time between Singapore, Sweden, and sometimes Malta. I haven’t listed all the countries I’ve lived in because its quite a long list! Home is not a physical place for me and hasn’t been for a while. It is mostly the memories that I have had and the people I have met. I look forward to interacting with all of you here this week and hopefully after as well!
Hi, I’m Cath. Whilst I was raised wholly in Australia, my parents had been expats and were keen to open our minds to the world – for us to meet and learn about different people and cultures. I am lucky to have travelled a lot as a child; incredible experiences that shaped me and would leave me with a lot to think about when I returned from school holidays. It was kind of inevitable therefore, that I would live elsewhere.
I am an illustrator, writer and heritage interpreter now living in the south of England with my South African born British wife.
I run Drawn to a Story which explores Identity, Belonging and Expat Life. I’m fascinated with and specialise in expressing the cultural and personal meanings, and quirks of expat life that we often don’t know how to verbalise. Last year I produced ‘Living Elsewhere’ – 100 cartoons of what it’s like to live outside your home country – the good stuff …. and the truth!
This is my second time curating for WeAreXpats and I am thrilled to be back. I am still living in Shanghai, China as I was the first time around but I am moving countries in late December 2019 so expect some extreme new country planning as part of my curation week this time around. But don’t worry, I will also share heaps about Shanghai, China and many other places I visit via my earbuds and microphone as well. I am an avid podcast listener and Podcast Host/Producer. Geopats Podcast is my solo podcast (it is a consolidation of the old Virtual Expats, Changing Scripts and Bookish Expats podcasts) and Creatively Complicated is my Co-Hosted podcast with former WeAreXpats curator, Summer Rylander. If memory serves me right, Summer and I met during my last curation week, hurrah. I love coffee, reading and listening to content like audiobooks, podcasts and YouTube videos, as well as absorbing art in many visual forms. So expect to see plenty of these things during my curation week.
As for the evil “where are you from” question: geographically I am from the U.S. but have been living overseas for the majority of the past 15 years. Places I have lived include Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan and now in China. My wonderful husband and I met and got married abroad, because it makes sense to move to Vietnam to meet and marry another American, right? Shanghai is often under the radar for many folks because of the misunderstood information that is generally shared by the media about China as a whole. I hope to show you some different sides of Shanghai this week. I look forward to your questions, comments and feedback on my tweets, before and after this week of curation. My website is stephfuccio.com and hosts all of my creative pursuits, including but not limited to the above mentioned podcasts.
My name is Kimberley and in 1997 I moved to Germany from the state of Mississippi in the USA to marry my German husband. Since then I’ve been living in the city of Magdeburg.
My husband was a quadriplegic for nearly 33 years, from the time he had a swimming accident at the age of 24 until his passing in 2016. For 18 years I was his sole caregiver. That experience gave me an insight into the world of the permanently disabled and also into the German healthcare system and how the disabled are cared for in Germany.
Living in a city in the former East Germany has also giving me the experience of seeing great changes in Magdeburg over the past 22 years.
There was a time when I called myself an expat, but now, especially since I’ve lived in Germany for so many years, I call myself an immigrant. I believe using the word immigrant shows that not only do I come from another land and another culture, but I have made a permanent home in Germany.
Hi, I’m Lisa. I was raised in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Morocco, Egypt, and Connecticut as a Guatemalan-American business brat of Chinese-Spanish-Irish-French-German-English descent.
I’m based in Los Angeles and work as an actress in theatre, television, and English- and Spanish-language films. Alien Citizen: An Earth Odyssey, my one-woman show about growing up as a multiracial TCK/Global Nomad, toured on four continents and is now a film on DVD and HD (streamable). I’m also a published essayist; have a blog about creating and touring a solo show; and for three years I wrote the column “TCK Talent” for TheDisplacedNation.com. I’m also the co-host of the longest-running podcast on the multiracial and TCK experiences, “Hapa Happy Hour.”
Hi! My name is Ruth and I’m a freelance writer who writes about the arts, race, identity, food, and travel. Home base is Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A., but I currently reside in Istanbul, Turkey. I enjoy exploring the city’s Old Town, taking the ferry down the Bosphorus, and sipping çay, well, anywhere and everywhere. Piping hot black tea with a sugar cube is ubiquitous and unavoidable aspect of Turkish culture. I also love just gazing out my window in Europe across the Bosphorus to Asia. (Istanbul is the only city situated on two continents.)
Living in a city with such extensive history, architecture, and art is truly a privilege. That being said, after eight years living outside the U.S., I’ve definitely started to feel the lack of representation within the expat community, which tends to be composed of people who are white, straight, and binary, with passport privilege and affluent backgrounds.
And so I’ve been trying to increase the diversity of my experience as an expat, and as a person living in a more racially/ethnically homogenous place than my home country. I can’t wait to show you my adopted city and the diversity of people and places I’ve found here!