15 Best Things About Being an Expat



For those on the outside, the life of an expat seems glamorous or exotic….grass is always greener….right? Truthfully, it is a never boring set of challenges that keeps us slightly addicted to the what’s next lifestyle. Here’s my short list of things that make being an expat so great. I am sure I am missing a few things so be sure to share your own thoughts in the comments.  Continue reading “15 Best Things About Being an Expat”

Candylicious: Mommy in a Candy Store

IMG_0621My first love has always been candy. I love CANDY! Maybe it’s in my genes. Maybe I OD’d on Disney as a child or watched too much Willy Wonka but I have to tell you it is definitely my absolute, jelly in the knees, worst weakness so when Yas Mall called and asked me to tour their new Candylicious location I said, BINGO — I am your girl! Continue reading “Candylicious: Mommy in a Candy Store”

That’s a Pisser

images-3“That’s a real pisser!” Mini said to me.

Whoa…what do you mean that’s a real pisser? I am no Lily Librarian. I have seen and heard a fair amount in my life but I didn’t expect my ten year-old to use the word pisser straight in my face. Continue reading “That’s a Pisser”

5 Things to Remember When Your Expat Family Comes Home For the Summer

 “Gone Girl” was filmed in my hometown…how exciting! Stay tuned for more on this subject.

Whew! The summer has come to an end. And for most expats we are very excited to get back to our own lives. Not that we don’t love you. Not that we didn’t love visiting you. But the summer exodus to our hometown is absolutely, positively, exhausting with a capital “E”. Ever wonder how it feels to be a displaced person no place to call your home roaming from place to place? Well, we do. Not that we don’t love you. Not that we didn’t love visiting you. But coming home is kind of weird.

Continue reading “5 Things to Remember When Your Expat Family Comes Home For the Summer”

You say Goodbye and I say Hello…Hello…Hello

1779306_412717678864074_1323054497_nThe two words you never want to hear an expat say are “I’m leaving” — and regardless of how many times you hear them it never gets easier.

The first time my nine year-old felt the pain of these words was when his sailing buddy, his soccer buddy, his first friend and his best friend said, “I’m leaving.” My heart ached for him as he quietly cried in hidden places and he moped around for weeks before deciding that his life would go on.

At school, we have seen families come and families go. Either back to their home countries or off to new adventures. Favorite teachers leave. And the learning still continues. Companies relieve people. And new companies hire them.

There have been times during this journey when I stopped myself and thought, this is one of the best days of my life. I want to capture it and keep it forever. But life evolves and changes: and while recovering from a loss, we are preparing for a new beginning. The fact that things change is what keeps it interesting and yet emotionally exhausting at the same time. It is a love affair with the unknown. An addiction to the experience. A memory that may never be forgotten.

Constantly saying goodbye and saying hello. An old friend leaves as a new friend walks in the door. Knowing there’s no time for sadness because you need the new person as much as you needed the friend who just left. We hold each other up, and watch out for each other’s best interest; we band together like brothers and sisters. Ready to take on whatever is thrown our way as we try to make sense of the mysterious and the illogical.

The expat life isn’t intended to be enjoyed without good friends. You have to share the experience. You need a sidekick, a buddy — a girl pack in order to navigate the craziness; otherwise you will be lost in the experience. And that would be really sad.

Hello…Hello…Hello. I don’t know why you say goodbye; but I say Hello.

Did you like this post? I hope so! Want to receive my posts regularly? It’s really simple: Sign up at the top and share below. Go ahead! Be a true fan and I will be your BFF forever! xx

Pazzo fottuto driver degli Emirati!

It sounded like a good idea. Kerstin, our little momma bear, decided to organize a desert safari for the PTA. “Steve goes dune bashing all the time by himself” she said trying to insert a little confidence into the plan. Well, I thought to myself, Steve runs 20 miles for no reason and is as thin as a Holocaust survivor even after a big meal — so that’s really not too comforting. The thought of tackling massive hills of sand in the middle of nowhere with an Emirati behind the wheel was more than a little frightening but if I didn’t do it, I looked like a ninny-boo-boo and everyone would gossip about me behind my back so I was forced into it.


We met in the school parking lot and began dividing people up into five car loads of five plus the drivers. Since HP is the only doctor in the group, we decided he would take the small children in case of a bloody nose or something like that, so he took the 5 elementary boys and the rest of us dispersed into the other SUVs. I was in the car with the Italians, Enrico and Laura, and Tonya, our Korean axis of evil (this is a story for another day) and her 4th grade daughter. I sat in front with our driver, Yousef, the Italians in the back seat and Tonya and her daughter in the third row.


We stopped off at a camel farm which really wasn’t a farm more like a desert feed lot in the middle of nowhere. I guess I may have downgraded it from a farm because there were no tractors. But then again, there’s really nothing to use a tractor for so why buy one? It’s not like they are planting wheat or anything so as far as implements go, they were sparse. So, yes, it was a feed lot, in the middle of nowhere. With camels. And we stood and took pictures. So far the trip was pretty mundane.


We piled back into the SUVs and headed on our way down a long sandy road which led to an even more deserted spot and as we drove the sand begin to get higher and higher. And all of a sudden the adventure began. The Emirati dropped the SUV into low gear and off we went! We started climbing a dune that had to be the height of a three story building. We drove across the very peak of a sand ridge which was barely a car width and then we would begin sliding sideways down the other side of the dune!

“How long have you been working here?” I asked the driver. “Four days!” he shouted with a smile.

OMG! OMG! I couldn’t breath. Between my allergies and the fact that I was scared I would let out an inappropriate blood curdling Stephen King scream, I couldn’t inhale air. I tried but it wasn’t happening. So I closed my eyes so I couldn’t see but this plan was subverted by Enrico’s praying in the seat behind me. As soon as we peaked and we were getting ready to fall down the other side, Enrico began to both pray and express himself in a way that only Italians can do.

Madre di Dio per favore non fateci morire dalle mani di questo pazzo degli Emirati Arabi!

Mamma mia! Stiamo andando a rotolare giù questa gigantesca collina di sabbia e morire.

sam7P8iyyzlUwqOqUb45tI9Hb65yoqWhUYDgJRtgIvY IQ-q7oGXQuqdZMcDHzwSalJ9cHLZ4JVfdtUlg8XlZ68 rzeGVXJgcYJbGhsg5BWOuyP3UyrpvAoJdSdpzp4dmUw 1kZpMtF3-dqsQjR-v7pcopVgnut733E6ta6iAvnUSH8

WTF! I was raised Southern Baptist so when we pray we don’t really want to ALARM God. We pray politely so not to inconvenience our Savior. Such as in a Jerry Falwell sort of voice. “Lorrrd,  Pleeease fiiiind the tiiiime in your verrry beeza schedule and hear our prayers our precious Lord” Where as the Italians pull the alarm, raise the roof, call the polizia! Some SH&%T is going down and we need GOD pronto, prego, allegra! And they speak fast, and loud, and close, and they have their hands going in a million different directions. When they discuss going to the supermarket, one would think the supermarket is on fire, not that they are simply having a sale.

So I am in the car with Enrico and some SH%&T IS GOING DOWN! And that SH%&T is us! We are going down a sand dune the size of the freaking Tetons in Wyoming. And my eyes are super glued shut and I would’ve been okay if it weren’t for the Italian in the back seat.

Wowzers! Madre di spaghetti ho bisogno di uscire da questa vettura o io potrei fare pipì miei pantaloni!

Odio la musica cazzo che questo ragazzo sta giocando!

I don’t understand. Enrico is excited, he’s happy, he’s crazy, he’s screaming and I don’t know if I should be concerned or enjoying myself. And then after an hour of emotional torment while listening to Arab club music (yes, didn’t know it existed either) it was over and we were delivered to a campsite, with food, henna, shisha, sand surfing, camel riding and a belly dancer.

IMG_1212 IMG_1226 IMG_1227 IMG_1214

After we ate, danced, smoked, and drank (non-alcoholic drinks) and then we headed back into the city. Yousef, our driver, watched soccer on his phone while driving 90 mph on the highway. Yes, I could’ve said something. Any GOOD mother would have said something but this skinny Emirati guy took us on the most amazingly skilled adventure of our life. My guess is at birth he drove himself right out of his mother’s womb. He was that good! If you ever have a chance this is one adventure that you will absolutely never forget. Seriously, if someone ever says do you want to go on a desert safari? Say yes.

Pazzo fottuto driver degli Emirati!

zAbSmXi1J1LO8jzjAil1MgUujQg8lDIS02T5Uig13gw 27nXn4p2aYQR3l9ioSKRbQwp0ApWOU7TDAj-rbtSy7s gOf213YrSb_3UiytP49qUvJzwIZ0nWgyHdqwq3KxZ0s l6qiWgvt0Iq5o8mPKM1z3xNud7O1r5KPHfB1Tj0gUBA KlHkhjcbpeeJ45HenK89eZ4r2gu61Fl_EBp7SGlu5pQ gzu78-6_ZR0wz7FaIVXr7eKIBkRWqxvRJ9Igllc6E6c ZeDIJxTDVPaAg4t5svur8cEH3j74V4nbsVmsU3KCs78

My Neighbors: The Crack Heads without Crack

I live in a compound. This scares many Americans because it conjures up memories of Saudi oil ambushes and other infrequent occurrences. In reality, a compound is another word for subdivision except with tall concrete walls and guards. Very nice guards I should clarify because I seriously wouldn’t trust these guys to protect me. They mainly argue with housemaids and taxi drivers because they need to feel some sort of authority. This is directly due to the Arab kids bossing them around all the time and then the British kids start bossing them around too and then the Australian kids join in. Next thing you know we have a bunch of whipped security guards afraid of being deported due to a bunch of bossy kids. A new guy showed up the other day and gave me a little lip about entering without a pass so I sicked Mini on him.

The tall walls, on the other hand, are desperately needed because I live next door to the community crack heads. No, they are not really crack heads because we live in the Middle East where even Advil is closely monitored but these people otherwise fit the profile. Their place is a mess. Deflated bouncy toys every where, the swimming pool doesn’t have any water, their windows are cracked and broken, they have five different curtains on their windows, and a never-ending menagerie of animals that quack, bleat, hiss and moo all day and night. They are crack heads without crack.

My View from the Kitchen

On the other side of my villa, resides a very nice Egyptian/Swedish family. They are both very attractive people who recently went on an exercise frenzy that lasted approximately 2 1/2 weeks. They ran, squatted, and did sit-ups in the neighborhood garden every morning. I didn’t have the heart to tell them their mat was located directly on top of my dogs favorite dumping grounds. It was a long 2 1/2 weeks for me because my dog doesn’t like to dump just anywhere so I had to wait for them to give up on the fitness frenzy and move their mats. The exercise couple has one housemaid, one nanny, and three children. One wakes up very early in the morning and rings the door bell which is not a polite door bell, but something like I imagine the electric chair sounding. This scares the beans out of both me and the dogs who bust into a full chorus of all hell-is-breaking-loose at 7:00am.

On the other side of the exercise couple would’ve been my good friend, AAA Elize from South Africa, and her well-connected American husband, Carl, but the landlord wouldn’t fix their pool so they moved to the other side of the street outside the compound (boo-hoo). If they were still here life would definitely be different because Carl is a story-teller and he would share his endless stories of Sheik I-Have-More-Money-Than-God and all the fascinating things that happen in Saudi, Jordon, Qatar and Kuwait and Elize and I would be sharing expensive champagne. AAA Elize has a love/hate relationship with food. All food is shitty unless she loves it, and then, she really, really loves it. She will then say in her South African accent which is totally different from the British South African accent, “Gina, you must try this.” So of course I must try it because AAA Elize suggested it and she and Carl are the kind of people who walk on the red carpet, stand in front in front of the overly used sponsor backdrop, and then end up in magazines.

Want to join the PTA? Like our Facebook page.