Gary Dickenson

Hi I’m Gary and together with my wife, Gita, and daughter, in December 2018 we left the UK to come to Gita’s family homestead here in north Latvia. We live not far from the Estonian border and It’s somewhere nowhere in the middle of a forest in a house built by Gita’s grandfather.

With a long background in marketing and being stuck behind a desk we now have a very different outdoors life growing nearly all our veg and getting into animal husbandry, we’ve already raised pigs and will be getting chickens this year.

In addition we manage about 150 acres of our own forest. It’s all new to me, until I arrived here I’d barely grown anything but somehow we’ve made it so far. We’ve documented much of our progress on our YouTube channel which you can find by searching for Baltic Homesteaders.

Nuwan Rez

Hi everyone! My name is Nuwan. From Sri Lanka all the way to Germany, I have arrived via many exciting paths. Having grown up on an island, I miss the sea very much living in Frankfurt, but make up for it in other ways, especially by riding my motorbike through the more rural German country roads. I am a father of two, a husband, and work from home – can’t go back to an office job!

This is my second time curating the @WeAreXpats account, and having been an expat for a very long time (since I was 16), I hope to share with you a bit of the world, and my life at the moment.

Suzanne Scott

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I am Suzanne, a British married mother to 5 children who have now all fled the nest and are getting married and having babies themselves. My husband and I started our expat journey in January 2011, moving to South Africa where I worked as a volunteer and I continue to support various projects. We moved to Dubai in December 2014 with a cat and dog in tow. The cat and dog relocated to the UK in February 2020 and are looked after by neighbours and house sitters while I’ve travelled between there and Dubai when covid has permitted. We’re now preparing to relocate to the UK full time in June when my husband retires. I’m on all social media channels as Chickenruby.

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