Kirsten Waller

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My name is Kirsten Waller and I’m a freelance writer/general communications professional, currently living and job-hunting in very picturesque East Anglia, where the main local features are a friendly accent, a distinct lack of hills and a preponderance of delicious ales and ciders.
Given I live only 50 miles or so from where I was born, I’m something more of a repatriate than a current expat. I lived in the Netherlands from late 2018 until early 2020, having moved there with my long-term ex. Beforehand, I spent 13 years north of the border in Scotland (technically the same country, although I’d much rather it wasn’t), and now live in Norwich with my boyfriend, himself a current expat from Corsica. 
As such, I’m currently in the process of re-familiarising myself with my native county – whilst feeling a strong sense of longing for both previous countries of residence. It’s at times a strange emotional position to be in, but by no means an unwelcome one.
I also helped work on the WeAreXpats project whilst I was living in NL, and can honestly say that the Expat Archive Centre is one of the kindest, most welcoming offices I’ve ever been lucky enough to enter. It will be rather fun to be on the other side of the exchange for a week… 

Cassandra Neace

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Cassandra Neace is a writer, artist, and teacher from Tennessee, though she called Houston home for more than a decade. She just returned to the United States after teaching in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, for the 2019-2020 school year. She called the capital city home while working for the American School of Ulaanbaatar. This was her first experience living abroad, and those 10 months mark the longest stretch of time that she had ever been out of the country. She was motivated to finally make the move because she didn’t want to turn 40 without experiencing life in a completely different part of the world. While her time there was cut short by the pandemic, she is forever grateful that she didn’t put off having her grand adventure. It was so worth it.

Amerika Garcia Grewal

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Bula Vinaka! My name is Amerika Garcia Grewal and I live in Fiji! Fiji is an island nation with over 300 islands scattered across the 18th parallel, we’re about 2/3 of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. It’s semitropical here, with daily temperatures in the low 20’s Celsius/ low 80s Fahrenheit. I’ve been living here since 2014, sadly, for the last 4 months my husband has been stuck in the US and is unable to join me. Daily life right now is a bit on the strange side as Fiji is Covid-contained; with no community spread schools have reopened and much business is back to normal, but the borders are still shut, repatriated citizens have to spend 14 days in government supervised quarantine.

In the next seven days I will be journeying across the island of Viti Levu, meeting up with Americans who are still in Fiji, as well as regular weekly activities like shopping, paying bills, and some volunteer activities. I’m also going to a dance performance over the weekend and meeting up with friends. I look forward to answering your questions about daily life and to sharing my experiences with you! You can find me on my own account at @amerikag if you’d like to follow me after this week. 

Stuart Van Veen

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My name is Stuart. That is to say, not really. My real name is Sjoerd, which is a Frisian name but since no-one is able to pronounce it, I become Stuart as soon as I am outside of the Netherlands. I am Dutch, despite the fact I was born in Hamburg (Germany).

I live in Belgium about 1 km from the French border and 1,5 km from the Luxembourgish border. But since my social life is based in Luxembourg, I consider myself to be living there and not so much in Belgium.

Before the health crisis I was a security agent in Luxembourg. Unfortunately, our clients were shops that had to close, so I lost my job. Before moving here, my wife and I worked as Service Delivery Managers at IBM in Poland, but since she found herself a great job opportunity here, we decided to relocate.

Before that, I worked for the Dutch Army for almost 20 years. During these years, I worked not only in the Netherlands, but I was also stationed in Germany. During my childhood I lived in the Netherlands, England, France and Belgium, so you can say I’ve been around.

Amanda van Mulligen

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My name is Amanda and I am British born. These days I call the Netherlands home. I have been living here since 2000, and have added Dutch nationality to my British one. I have three Dutch sons, and I am doing my best to tinge them with a good dollop of Britishness.

In a previous life I worked in the world of Human Resources (HR), helping new expats get settled in the Netherlands, or helping employees and their families prepare for a life in a far-flung remote location. It was in this role I learnt some expats are more expat than others.

I live life in a little piece of no man’s land situated somewhere between being a British immigrant and a local bona fide Dutch woman.

I left HR when I became a mother and started to dabble in the art of writing. I am now a published author, freelance writer, translator (Dutch to English) and blogger. I have contributed to a number of expat anthologies: Dutched Up! Rocking the Clogs Expat Style, Once Upon An Expat and Knocked Up Abroad Again. I have also published my own book about highly sensitive children: 101 Ways to Help Your Highly Sensitive Child Empty Their Bucket: Calming Tools During Times of Overwhelm

I scribble my thoughts and experiences about life in the Netherlands over on Turning Dutch. I also write about raising highly sensitive children on the Happy Sensitive Kids blog and I am all over social media like a rash: FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Ruth Terry

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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!

Mahua Cavanagh

Hello from Vienna!
Originally for New York, we moved to Vienna from Nairobi last August. I live here with my husband and our two dogs, Oreo and Maddie. This week, as I curate the expat-account, you’ll get a view of my daily life as we slowly come out of Covid-19 lockdown.

The Austrian government has been managing the crisis really well. We all feel lucky to have had it much easier than many other places and to be coming out on the other side. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty about it as many other places are just now hitting the eye of the storm. Friends back home in NY and in Nairobi are still in lockdown and will likely be for a while.
But here we are, starting to go out again. It’s a little weird – like a different kind of culture shock. I’ll be sure to tweet as I make my back into the world outside.

You can also find me on:
@curriedpotato on Instagram
@nyc_abroad on Twitter

Fernando Gros

Fernando Gros

Hello, I’m Fernando.
I’m a writer and artist, recently moved to London after six years in Japan. Born in Chile, I moved to Australia as a young child and grew up like a classic third culture kid, speaking English at school and Spanish at home. In my late 20s, I moved to London, where my daughter was born. When she was 2, we moved to Delhi, then later Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo.

Kelsey McDonough

Hello! My name is Kelsey and this is my second curation for @WeAreXpats! I am American, and have lived abroad in three countries: Spain, Germany, and, most recently, Australia. I am a water resources engineer and scientist, and I travel a lot for work! I moved to Australia in January 2020 for a Fulbright fellowship, but this was unfortunately cancelled due to CoVID-19 so I returned to the United States (unexpectedly) in mid-March. I love hiking, traveling, reading, and cooking, and look forward to connecting with all of you during my curation week. Feel free to follow me on twitter (@kelseyrosemcd) where I mainly tweet about science and the environment. I love hearing about others’ expat experiences and learning about new places to visit! 

Celina Tolbert

I’m an American writer living in London, dating a French man who lives in Paris. I’ve bounced between the US, UK, and France for the past three years. I’ve learned that two cliches are true – you’ll always return to Paris, and you find love when you’re not looking. 

I first moved to Paris as an au pair after I graduated university a year early. I was 21 and had never left America before, so France was very different. I have lived in NYC, but the 16th district of Paris was almost a city in itself. My year in Paris led me to then live in London for a bit, where I found my MA program and applied. After, I returned to Paris before the US, as I had 3 months before I could apply for my UK visa. This is when I was trying not to date, and ended up meeting my partner. 

My partner and I dated in person for 2.5 months before I returned to the US to get my student visa for the UK. We ended up being apart longer than we dated, but we made it, and have been Eurostar loyal customers ever since. I love London and Paris both so much, and in different ways. This autumn I’ll be moving to Paris again. 

Thanks, Celina Tolbert