Carme Mont

Hola! My name is Carme and I am a catalan from Barcelona. When I was 22 I moved to Sweden for an Erasmus exchange as part of my Psychology degree. I deeply enjoyed meeting people from many countries and making great friends. I moved back to Barcelona and left again four years after, theoretically to spend only six months doing research as an academic visitor at Oxford. I ended up staying in the UK for seven years, later on moving to Cambridge and living shortly in London. About three years ago my husband (from Australia) and I relocated to California, US.

Tracey Gemmell

Hello! I’m Tracey, a British novelist focusing on trip fiction and the search for home. Why? Because I struggled to stay put in England during my youth. I blame my father’s passion for cars and driving. This meant I’d seen the whole of Europe over the top of my mother’s beehive hairdo by the time I blew out my sixteenth birthday candles. At least it helped with the geography ‘O’ Level.
I became a professional horse rider, a great way to travel the world if you don’t mind backbreaking work, early hours and physical risk. Stints in France and all over the USA followed, hence the adage, ‘have pitchfork, will travel’. But what was intended to be a short interlude from British life, more a lark than a well-planned life decision, turned into something else: an expat life. Home became everywhere and nowhere. Even though I spent most of my adult life living all over the USA – marrying an American there, raising children there, becoming a speech-language pathologist there, travelling the world from there – I just couldn’t shake a constant niggle my roots needing replanting firmly and deeply in England. Yep. Hiraeth knocketh at the door. What to do? What to do?
Return home after thirty years away during a pandemic, of course! Brilliant idea! When we sold our US house in early 2020, no one imagined our repatriation would get mired in closed visa offices, closed real estate markets, closed pet transport companies, and … well, you name it, if we needed it to move back to England it was closed. One hundred and thirty-nine days. That’s how long my husband remained trapped in a US hotel after I left through empty airports on an empty flight to search for somewhere to live in England. We were finally reunited in October, now living in the beautiful Exmoor National Park. Then, lockdown after lockdown. It’s been an interesting time to attempt a new life as a repat.

Does my English home still exist after thirty years? Only one way to find out …
Join me at www.traceygemmell.com or on twitter, Facebook, IG, and LinkedIn

Rong Hua

Hi All, Hallowies, 大家好!

I’m Rong Hua, born in Haarlem, North Holland province and can claim “I am from Holland”, The Netherlands. Haarlem has been the historical centre of the tulip bulb-growing district for centuries and bears its other nickname ‘Bloemenstad’ (flower city) for this reason. As a teenager, our family moved to Gouda, South Holland province, famous for its Gouda cheese, stroopwafels and smoking pipes. Became an entrepreneur, restaurant owner, in between lived for a year in The Hague, royal capital, government seat, and International Court of Justice. In the meantime, raising a family, sold my business and moved closer to my husband’s work and choose Leiden. Little did we know then that our stay would be very short. It houses the oldest university in the country Leiden University, famous for science, arts. Home to world-renowned painter Rembrandt. But also international visitors like John Adams, one of the founding fathers of America. I like to mention this historical fact because I only found out after I moved back to Leiden.

Moved back? Before 2000, my husband, Leshen, received an offer as a Telecommunication project manager destination Taiwan. One year contract. Without blinking, I packed up our stuff with four kids and followed him into an adventure, discovering our ancestral roots to live in Asia, Taipei here we come! We embarked on a family journey, calling Taipei home first; after that, Singapore and New Delhi followed. We were calling southeast-Asia home for ten years. We moved back to Leiden, discovering the city and reconnecting. The first few years we were still travelling up till three years ago we’ve opened a ‘Gastrohome’. A hybrid bar-restaurant is serving comfort food with authentic flavours from Sichuan, Guangdong cuisine. Next to introducing popular dishes from our travels through the southeast-Asian region.

As an expatriate/repatriate, I understand the struggles of living abroad and coming home. Therefore, I have become active in the local International community. Diversity is the best and makes life colourful and exciting, with so many things to learn and discover. So many stories to share, information to exchange, life discovery enjoyed together. In our
small community hub we host meetups for now online but hopefully soon we will meet again.
Twitter @Asianfoodtrail
FB/IG @Hotspotcentralleiden

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is unnamed-768x1024.jpg

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ShaktiHannie-wearexpats-crop-1024x1024.jpg

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.