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Adapting for Special Needs Overseas - Call for Essays

Five stars on Amazon! Don't miss Talesmag's first book of essays, on cross-cultural food experiences from Mexico to Mongolia (plus recipes!)

Tales of Transition

November 2016

Expectations and Reality: A Kiwi House-Dad in Bavaria

by Matt Colville 

imageIn my twenties, I travelled some. A couple of summer stints working on Hamilton Island in Australia. Two surf trips to Indonesia.  A month in the USA. Two extended trips chasing girls around the European Union.

But I’ve always wanted to live in Europe. And despite the joy of my partner getting pregnant three years ago, it triggered a small nervous breakdown, as I thought my dream was fading.

So, after months of searching, my wife − who has taught in Europe before − gained a job in a small international school, in a tiny village in southern Germany. We swapped roles, and now I’m at home with our son. And by and large, it is great. But there have been many challenges along the way.

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May 2016

Friendship in the Foreign Service

by Regina Landor

The longest I had with a good friend in our current posting was nine months. That was long enough to feel comfortable going up to her apartment when I got mad at my husband. It was long enough for her to tell me she was pregnant before she told any other friends. It was long enough to be able to share a private joke in the company of others, just the two of us laughing. 

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December 2015

Voting With My Feet

by Laura J. Stephens

image“All of us, from the cradle to the grave, are happiest when life is organised as a series of excursions, long or short, from the secure base provided by our attachment figures”.

  • Jeremy Holmes,  John Bowlby and Attachment Theory, p. 67

“Oh my God, you look a right size.” My mother greets me with a look of disdain as she approaches with an imperious air, striding at a lick across the ward. Her words ricochet in my head with the shame of the implication, or perhaps of having such a mother. My neck and face begin to burn red.

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October 2015

Denk Aan Uw Lichten

by Bernie Brown

image

Like a bird looking for a perch, Carol scanned the bus for a seat. Some of the faces she recognized from a welcome tea at The American Women’s Club of The Hague, but most of the names jumbled together. For a brief panicked moment, she wished she had stayed home, not just in their apartment here in The Hague, but all the way home back in the States where she could have continued her work on the Dukakis campaign.

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March 2015

From Academia to Adventure

by Nicole Schaefer-McDaniel

image I am sitting on a plane, all alone for the first time in what seems like ages,enjoying the luxuries of a glass of wine and my music on my iPod. I am not searching in-between seats for lost Playmobil horses or digging through my bag in search for the “right” colored pencil.

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December 2014

Farewell to Purgatorial Eden

by Kirsten Bauman

image Today is Friday.  I’m moving soon and my growing to-do list is daunting.  First, I have to cash a check at the bank so I can pay my household staff. There’s my indispensable nanny, the housekeeper-cook who also does the grocery shopping, the gardener who doubles as a security guard and driveway gate opener, and the driver whose sole job it is to pick my two toddlers up from their preschool every afternoon. 

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December 2013

The £400 Fruitcake and Other Lessons on Fitting In

By Jennifer Richardson

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Looking back, I pinpoint the end of my love affair with London to this moment: I was paying for a pint of milk at our dingy local convenience store—optimistically referred to as the corner shop—when, in midflow of taking my money, the shopkeeper vigorously spat on the floor.

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December 2013

Les Mystères, Les Misères & Les Miracles: Learning Languages with Your Kids

By Melissa Dalton-Bradford

La langue means “the tongue” in French, and for the language-learning stories I want to share with you, we’ll begin with the French langue. That’s exactly the part of me that was tied in a sailor’s knot when I sat staring into the large melted-chocolate eyes of Madame M., my three-year-old son’s teacher at a public maternelle in Versailles, France.

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January 2013

The Flight of Pegaso

By Marlene Monfiletto Nice

Pegaso jumping

I knew that day would come.

With two avid horseback riders in the family, it was inevitable that we would buy a horse.

In Uruguay, it was not only easy and affordable, it was necessary so that our older daughter, Andy, could progress in her chosen sport.

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January 2012

From Fast Food to Fresh Fish

By Wendy Jones Nakanishi

My three sons were horrified when I presented them last year with a T-shirt inscribed with the slogan “McDonald’s is Evil.”

We live in Japan but I am American. I had returned to my home state of Indiana to visit aged, ailing parents and chanced upon a shop personalizing shirts. On impulse, I decided on a present for my boys that I, at least, found entertaining.

“We like McDonald’s! Our friends will laugh! They like McDonald’s, too.”

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October 2011

Living on the Med in Turkey

By Colin Guest

Before going to Turkey, my wife Jenny and I were thinking of moving to Spain to live. Therefore, I was very surprised that after being in Turkey for only five weeks, Jenny said: “After you finish your contract, why don’t we buy a plot of land and have a house built?”

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February 2008

Starting Somewhere: A first step into the expat community in Singapore

By Patricia Tan

Just keep breathing

It takes an hour to shower, blow-dry my hair, and apply my favorite burgundy shade of lipstick.  After another hour of trying on nearly everything in my wardrobe, I select an outfit – perfectly fitting boot cut jeans, a black v-neck top with delicate floral embroidery around the collar, and a pair of shiny black leather boots with 2-inch heels.  Then I sit on my sofa, palms pressed on my thighs, and breathe deeply for fifteen minutes.  It’s time to take a taxi to the meeting area.

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August 2007

No More Pork Chops: My Ghana Experience

By Magdalena Travis, age 10

In the summer of 2004, my family moved to Accra, Ghana. I was seven years old then. This was the first time in my life I was going to live in Africa. On the one hand, I did not want to say goodbye to my friends in Poland where my family and I had been living - my Dad works for the U.S. State Department and Krakow was our first post. On the other hand, I was curious: what would Africa feel like? My image of Africa was a big sand dune with elephants, giraffes and zebras, covered with plantain trees and coconut palms.

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May 2007

Your Mouth Is Too Big: Food and Conversation in Morocco

By Christine Oulamine

Good food and good conversation - the mainstays of the Mediterranean world. For the Moroccans, good food is mint tea and almond cookies. And good conversation can consume an entire afternoon or evening, easily distracting one from tallying the number of those cookies eaten.

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May 2007

Ich Spreche Kein Deutsch

By Nichole Martinson

“You’re not stupid; you just don’t speak German,” I had to sternly remind myself as I picked up a pamphlet from a streetside kiosk in Berlin and was frustrated - mortified even - that I couldn’t decipher a single word, let alone the general message conveyed via leaflet to the masses.

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June 2005

Sí Soy Vegetariana: Yes, I'm a Vegetarian

By Nichole M. Martinson

“Nicholasa, you’re going to have a hard time in Spain with the food,” one Spaniard told me.

“Why are you going to Spain? You know they eat nothing but meat,” an American friend inquired.

“You’ll at least try the jamon, right?”

?!?Ham?!?

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