Issy Chambury


Issy Chambury is a Londoner turned Tokyoite. When not at her desk being a salarywoman, she can usually be spotted—mainly due to her excessive height—at a gig, art exhibition opening or sipping on an elderflower highball (thank me later).

Ashleigh Cooke


Hello my name is Ashleigh Cooke and I’ve been pretty excited to curate this account! I’ve only ever curated once before earlier in April of this year so I think it’s a great opportunity to connect with others around the world. I’m originally from Marina, California in the United States. I rarely traveled abroad; once at 12 to visit relatives in Germany and Spain, then at 17 for one month in Scotland and England for Venture Scouts.

My grandmothers were originally from Germany but married American soldiers (my grandfathers) and emigrated to America in the early 1950’s. Although strongly tied to a sense of German pride, they felt proud to be American. My parents met because of the Army Base in Fort Ord, California, where my grandfathers were finally stationed and eventually settled.

I began my life as an expat (unknowingly) when I was 17, living in rural costal town Mihara in Hiroshima Japan for about a year on a homestay interexchange program. Going to a Japanese high school every day coupled with a home life of Japanese customs, was one of the most life-changing things I had ever done. I was always interested in Japan as a child and found myself enamored with the language, music, and popular culture. At 14, I studied Japanese formally at a community college in Monterey, California for about two years before my trip to Hiroshima.

After graduating high school, I entered Temple University Japan campus in Tokyo and have been living there for 5 years. Always a social butterfly, I have found that becoming an English teacher and instructor is a good way to learn about the otherwise unknown private lives of average people you pass on the streets everyday. When I’m not working, I go to concerts, karaoke, drinking with friends, and on random adventures through the city.

I’m an avid user of social media, found on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr on the handle @pandomi. While on the WeAreXpats account, I’m hoping to share my slice of life in the bustling metropolis of Tokyo with all of you!

Eleanor Goldsmith

I was born and brought up in Swansea, South Wales. Although my mother and maternal grandparents were fluent Welsh speakers, my English father objected to my learning Welsh and my knowledge of the language remains rudimentary. However, my exposure to a bilingual environment gave me an enduring enthusiasm for other languages and I studied French, German, and Latin at school. In my final two years at school, I opted to take Japanese as a minor subject, which inspired me to go on to do a Bachelor’s degree in Japanese Studies, a decision that has shaped the course of my life to date.

Having fallen heavily for Japan during my year abroad in Kumamoto, I returned to Japan soon after graduating in 1998, as a Coordinator of International Relations on the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme. Although I only planned to be there for two years, I ended up spending eight and a half years in Niigata Prefecture, as I went on to work as the in-house English translator at an economic research institute focused on Northeast Asian issues. It was there that I met my husband, who is from Khabarovsk, in Far Eastern Russia.

When our relationship became serious and we began thinking about the future, we decided that our best course of action would be to move to a country with an easier route to permanent residence and better job security than we had in Japan. Neither Russia nor the UK appealed to us, but my husband’s brother was living in New Zealand, so we visited, found it to our liking, and were lucky enough to have our application for residence approved. We arrived in Auckland on 10 December 2006 and I quickly succeeded in finding work at an international assistance company, supporting clients of travel/medical insurance companies who needed help while overseas. I also continued to freelance as a translator for agencies and direct clients in Japan, something I’d been doing since 2000, and in February 2012 I gave up the day job to focus fully on translation through my company Kinsho Language Services.

In my spare time, I study Japanese brush calligraphy and am a practitioner of the Urasenke tradition of the way of tea, serving as president of the Urasenke Tankokai New Zealand Association and secretary of the NZ-Japan Society of Japan Aoteakai Tea Ceremony Club. I can be found on Twitter @zaichishka.

Ana Blackstad

Ana Blackstad

Hello! I’m Ana Hernandez Blackstad and I’m thrilled to be the curator this week.  I am a recent expat, having relocated to Prague, Czech Republic with my husband in August, 2016.  Not long after settling in Prague, we came to Maidenhead, England, for a temporary work assignment and have been here since October.  I am a lifelong Anglophile and worshipper of Jane Austen so you can imagine how chuffed I am to be here.  🙂

Before becoming an expat, home was Bothell, Washington, USA, near Seattle.  I’ve happily lived in the Seattle area since 1990. Before relocating abroad, I worked mainly in higher education with stints in career consulting and one memorable 6 month period working in customer service at IKEA.  (I think I’m lucky Twitter didn’t exist back then!)

My parents are from the state of Coahuila in Mexico; they relocated to the state of Wyoming in America, which is where I grew up. My mom was a teacher, with summers off, so every year we spent 3 months living with relatives in Mexico – sometimes Christmas break, too. Playing Loteria with our cousins in the hot summer evenings, eating barbacoa with fresh tortillas, taking walks to the Zocalo, going to mass on Sundays, making tamales in an assembly line of Aunties – it was glorious and a stark contrast to our life in Wyoming. This early exposure to travel lit a fire in me to experience other cultures. My husband is from Hawaii and he shares my passion for travel and making new friends. We will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary this month.

I’m happy to share my experiences in England this week and you may hear from me again later, when I’m back in Prague. Looking forward to interacting with you!

Twitter:  @anablackstad


Leah Williams Veazey


A born and bred Londoner, I grew up with a European sensibility, holidaying in France every year with my family (sometimes Greece or Italy). I studied French & German at university, and lived in Germany for 6 months before uni and for a year during my course. I assumed I would end up living abroad, probably in Germany. But then I settled back into London life, studied for a master’s degree in Migration, and then embarked on a career in communications, working for charities.

I am a dual citizen (British-Australian) due to my Australian mother, who migrated to London during her 20s. She met the man who became my father on a bus up to Scotland to go skiing for New Year’s. They sat next to each other and she settled in London for the next 40 years.

Despite having Australian citizenship since birth, I never considered living there. But then on our honeymoon, I took my husband to see where I had spent so many Christmasses with my family, and he fell in love with the sunshine and relaxed pace of life. Three years later he had succeeded in persuading me to move to Sydney. Initially we came for 6 months, while I was on maternity leave with our second son. But three years on, we’re still not quite ready to return… And this week, my parents arrived to join us. So after 40 years, mum has come ‘home’.

I’m also a PhD student, researching migrant mothers and their online communities. I’m exploring how social media and online communities are affecting mothers’ experiences of migration, motherhood and being a mother away from home. I wrote a chapter on Facebook groups and expat mother blog networks in this book about mothers and social media:

You can find me on Twitter @leahmouse and @mamasaway.

Louise Dendy


I am from Britain, but have been living in Kobe, Japan, since I graduated university in 2011. My love for Japan grew at University, where I studied Japanese along with French and Spanish, and blossomed when I visited Tokyo and Kobe as part of my year abroad in 2010.
I started out teaching English in Elementary and Junior High School for two years on the JET Programme, and then switched roles to become a Coordinator for International Relations in the Kobe City Government, where I mainly did Japanese to English translation and interpreting. I became a direct Kobe City Government hire in 2013, when I started my current job working in PR. I love the city I live in, and love being an expat, and hope to share with the Wearexpats Twitter followers a little slice of life here in Kobe, and hear from other expats around the world and Japan!


Megan Janicke


Hello, my name is Megan Janicke and I am from Kentucky and Texas, USA. I am a writer, insatiable reader, social media junkie, TexMex enthusiast, cyclist and adventurer. My love of writing and reading drew me into the world of journalism where I managed a hectic television newsroom. Then, my craving for adventure took me across the world with my bicycle. I pedaled around New Zealand, Vietnam and parts of Europe before settling down in North Holland with my wonderful Dutch partner in January 2016. Most recently, my enthusiasm for TexMex propelled me to launch the first bicycle food cart serving queso in the Netherlands, called Howdy Queso. And, I suppose my addiction to social media led me to tweet my expat life @WeAreExpats. You can learn more about my TexMex here and my bicycle travels here. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Ben Ferry

I first came to Berlin 15 years ago, but it wasn’t until 2006 that I made the move permanent. Most of the first few years were spent like every other person who moves to Berlin in their early 20s; working badly paid jobs whilst discovering the city and thinking it’s the coolest place on the planet. An opinion that changes if you stay for any length of time. I grew up in a North East coastal town in England, so no matter how long I live in Berlin, I will always miss the smell of the sea. Inevitably the excitement of living abroad wears off, as it just becomes your normal life, and that’s where I am now.  Married and raising my 2 children in 3 languages (English, Italian and German).

I work for a rather large German company, but thankfully in a very multicultural department, which keeps everything far more interesting. As a hobby I have an English language website about non-league football in Berlin (

Twitter: @1_4_T & @bloodyhellmag

Mandie van der Meer


Hello, I’m Mandie Rose van der Meer, a lifestyle writer, editor, tutor, teacher and lexophile. (That means a lover of words.) The word “zeggen” is Dutch for “say,” and that’s the goal – say what you need to say with the right words to the intended audience.

I’m originally from New York City, and now I live in the Netherlands with my Dutch husband. The journey from ‘New Amsterdam’ to ‘Old’ has enriched my life in many ways – love, language, career, culture, friendships and just plain fun. I spent my first year or so here learning Dutch, though the journey is everlasting. It’s the same with my native English language, as one can never know too many words or ways of expressing ideas.

 My passion for storytelling began early when my mother taught me how to read, with Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat, Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, and the impressionable Oddkins by Dean R. Koontz. Now I’m a bit like a kid all over again, trying to read Dutch writer Annie M. G. Schmidt’s amazing works, and Dutch magazines like Happinez and Flow. I’m motivated to get a better handle on this very tricky language and I’m lucky to have some lovely Dutch friends who help me with my speaking.

Communication has been the main focus of all my studies. In 2011 I earned a Master’s degree in Rhetoric & Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University. For my under-graduate degree I attended Elon University, on a beautiful campus in North Carolina. Those studies in English and journalism prepared me well for my professional work as an editor, a lifestyle writer, English tutor and communications instructor.

In 2015 I was the editor for six issues of The Holland Times news magazine. My work before that role included teaching English as a foreign language with the Berlitz Language Center of Amsterdam, and editing a 100-page book of collected stories from 150 internationals living in the Netherlands. The book Ready, Steady, Go Dutch, a joint project by and ACCESS, is a gem of a resource for expats and immigrants integrating into Dutch society. These first-hand experiences provide real insight and advice for foreigners. It was a pleasure to read participants’ tales and compile them into this approachable, handy book.

I am currently editing the ACCESS Magazine, which has returned to print for 2016 after five years as an ezine. Are you a writer looking to contribute articles about life as an international in the Netherlands? Get in touch!

Besides all that serious work stuff, there’s also room for hobbies, like photography, card making, cooking, reading, wine tasting, some yoga, hiking (or wandeling, as it’s better known in Dutch) and traveling. I’ve visited 35 states in the US, and 12 countries in Europe and Africa, and there’s quite an extensive list of places I dream to visit in the future. There’s just so much to learn from this world, isn’t there? So much to soak up and enjoy!