Category Archives: blogging

2016’s Greatest Hits – What You Lot Read This Year

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Ah, 2016. You were a real bugger, ya know? If for no other reason than you took away Alan Rickman, and then you left Donald Trump in charge. What the hell is that about?

Personally, though, 2016 was a perfectly fine year for my family and me (aside from the daily sick feeling in my stomach that I get every morning when I remember that Trump thing). Knock wood, we had good health, no big concerns in the family, new and continuing friendships, our girl is growing up lovelier and lovelier, and we managed some nice spots of travel. I truly count my blessings.

And, for the 6th year, I’ve continued to plug away at this site. It got a little quiet around here in August and September, as I launched my new page, Artsplorers (about kids and the arts – please join me!), but I’m getting into the swing of being two places at once.

As I reflect on this year nearly past, I thought I’d see what you guys were into this year, and wrap up with a look back at your most-read posts. I’m concluding with the 2016 Top 5 Greatest Hits of Between Roots and Wings.

I can’t thank you enough for being here and spreading the love. I hope your 2016 hasn’t been too harrowing, and may 2017 grant us our due of bright spots. I’ll see you right here, however things shake out!

Between Roots and Wings Top 5 Posts of 2016

5. The Novice Citizen’s 100% Unofficial Guide to Voting in Australia 

This year’s Federal election was the first one I was able to vote in, since becoming an Australian citizen in late 2014. I do enjoy politics, and have always found the differences between the U.S. and Australian systems interesting. So, I compiled this guide as a bit of a primer for voting in Australia (and, considering how much I had to look up, it turned out to be pretty useful for me, too). I tried to make it funny and informative, and I’m glad that it was also useful to some of my fellow Aussie newbies.

4. How to Mentally Prepare for a Long Haul Flight With a Toddler 

As Hushpuppy and I were preparing to set off together for a flight back to the States, I was remembering the extreme anxiety I experienced the first time I had to fly solo with her, when she was 20 months old. I was so grateful that, this time, I knew we’d survive, that I wanted to share everything I learned about getting through my mental block about flying long haul with a little one. I know I’m not the only parent who has been in this anxious pre-flight state. It can be done!

3. Sydney Expat Interview Series Part 10 – Advice for Moving to Sydney 

The 18 part Sydney Expat Interview Series ran for 1-1/2 years, concluding this month. It’s been one of my favorite things ever on this blog. And, the most popular one from the series this year? #10 back in April asked the expats for their advice for someone moving to Sydney. It ranged from “have enough money” to “check out different suburbs,” to the affirming advice of saying yes to new adventures.

2. Vivid With Kids: It’s All North of the Bridge 

Sydney’s Vivid Festival must be its most popular annual event – I’m guessing that by the size of the crowds in the city, which increase every year. That crush makes tackling the festival with small children a challenge, but this year we were lucky that the organizers put together a couple of beautifully family friendly districts on the North Shore with the Gondwana-inspired dinosaur wonderland in Chatswood and the simply stunning animal installations at Taronga Zoo. Thank you, Vivid, for remembering the families. Can’t wait for next year!

*Aaaand, insert fanfare here … the #1 most popular post on the blog this year:*

1. The Introverted Expat Makes Friends 

Making new friends is bloody hard when you’re an expat (heck, I’m learning that it’s actually pretty hard for most adults). It’s extra hard when you’re an introvert, and going to “meet-ups” just isn’t going to cut it for you. Believe me. I know. And, I guess I’m not alone in this dilemma because this post about making friends as an introvert was the most read post this year. As they say –  Introverts unite! Separately, in your own homes! Ha!

So, there they are. The winners and grinners on the ol’ blog this year. And, while I’m on the topic of popular posts, I’ll leave you with a few images from over on the blog’s Instagram page. These were the 9 most popular pictures over there. Join me for all the contenders in 2017, over there and here, too. Be well, my friends, and be kind, 2017!

An Expat Blogging Manifesto

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MANIFESTO

There was this BOOM-CRACK moment inside my head, and I realized something jolting about this little part of the Internet that I inhabit: Nobody writes an expat blog for five years. 

When I started, there were blogs by Americans in Sydney that I loved reading, and they showed me how to make my way. None of them carry on. Over time, I’ve followed more, including blogs by several of my real life expat friends. They served their purpose and quietly concluded. There are always new expats blogs, but in terms of the prospect of longevity, the odds are not in their favor. I can tell you what happens: People move and want to share the experience with their friends and family back home, so they start a blog. They write about their experiences and impressions for months or even, sporadically, a couple of years. Then they get settled into regular life and they feel there’s just not much to write about on an expat blog. It’s not an adventure, any longer. Or else, their expat assignment ends, and they go home.

I don’t fault the blogger. I think a blog only ought to exist as long as it needs to, and I love that they live on in cyberspace, a record of a personal place in time.

Realizing this was an unsettling jolt for me because, five years into this venture, I keep typing away, like a determined grandmother, knitting an endlessly long scarf, when most everyone else completed their very useful potholder squares ages ago.

I thought for awhile recently that perhaps I should “make myself useful,” and lost a few months to the idea of monetization and “making it” in the blogging world. I dropped my joy at this party for a moment, and had to pick it up from a haze of advice about “SEO optimization,” “branding,” and “social engagement.”

Though I wouldn’t mind making some coffee money off this project, going “pro” wasn’t my expat blog raison d’etre.

I went back to my origin story. I started this blog, which was until a year ago, called by the haphazardly chosen name “In an Opal-Hearted Country,” just like everyone else. I wanted to share my adventures with the people I left at home. I came and went from it when it suited me, with little rigor or panache. But, something changed when, in February 2014, I led a group of fellow expat bloggers in the month-long Expat Blog Challenge. I wrote and wrote and wrote. And, I read, and read, and read. We forged a community, and I found a truthfulness and depth in my voice that I’d never had before.

I got serious about writing. I’m an expat. I’m an explorer of this city we’re choosing to call home. I’m a mother. I’m a person with opinions. That’s what this blog would be about.

In thinking about this long scarf I keep knitting, I realized, it’s not a scarf at all, but a scroll. And though it didn’t start this way, the writing I do now exists first and foremost for my daughter. One day, when she’s old enough to be curious about her mother as a person, she can look here and see what I valued, what I questioned, what made me laugh, who I cared about, what I saw, and what I believed to be true. So, it all has to be the truth.

I am going to keep my fingers busy with this handicraft for her, and for anyone else who’d like to join for a post or for the whole ride.

This is what I can tell you will be true about this expat-and-parenting-in-Sydney blog, which goes on despite its mysteriously advanced age:

  • I won’t write to optimize my spot in search engines (though, I won’t complain if I stumble upon a great traffic-driver).
  • I continue to believe that there are discoveries to be made about the expat existence, even if they aren’t the discoveries of the newly arrived.
  • I will write things that I believe will add something to a conversation.
  • I will take my writing seriously, even if I’m writing something funny.
  • I’ll try to write funny things.
  • I won’t publish anything that doesn’t pass the “in my gut, I know this isn’t junk” test.
  • I will approach my subjects with gratitude, openness, and generosity.
  • I will seek to build and grow a community.
  • I’ll stop when I drop my joy and can’t find it in the haze.

If you’re reading this, thank you for being part of this community – my friends, family, expats, travelers, parents, and Sydneysiders. Onward with the crafting. We all have our work to do, wherever we’ve landed today. This is mine.

When the World Is Too Much

blogging, Little Aussie

I write on Sundays, but I didn’t write yesterday. I didn’t write because I had nothing to give this space. I had a miserable weekend, and I could not think of one kind thing to say here. I thought I might write a post that said just that – “I had a miserable weekend. There is no moral to this story. End.” – but that’s not my style. And frankly, even typing that seemed like more work than I could muster energy for.

Nothing disastrous occurred to cause my weekendus terriblus, just a toddler on a rampage. I went out with my mother’s group on Friday night, which was not at all terrible, in fact a very rare and welcome night out with some lovely ladies. I was home by 11:30, just the right number of drinks and rather too much food imbibed, but then my pre-bed check in on the kiddo triggered the first of three in a row wake ups, which meant I wasn’t in bed until after 1. We were both exhausted when she woke at 5a.m., and apparently, my audacity at leaving the house a full 15 minutes before she was safely in slumberland the night before triggered such a bout of separation anxiety that she could not be left at the gym’s creche, where she is a regular and enthusiastic attendee, nor even leave my grasp for the better part of the weekend. I accidentally closed her hand in the refrigerator door for one moment, which turned us both to hysterics before naptime, and the day continued on that theme until we both fell fitfully into bed. On Sunday, my exhaustion had grown, and by 9:30a.m. when little daughter tumbled off the coffee table and I swooped her up to find a mouth full of blood, the shattering of my nerves was well and truly complete, though mercifully, it was just a bitten lip, not anything worse. Even the park, our usual cure all, provided only moderate relief. The theme of crankiness and misery continued for both of us, save only for an hour of Play School, during which she sat on my lap, and I stared at the screen like a turnip, blankly recalling that we’d seen the same episode on the theme of eggs that morning, but not finding enough wherewithal to pick up the remote and change it.  I can vaguely remember raging angrily and tearfully to Partner-in-Crime last night about the service at our bank, and then I think it was clear to all involved that a serious night of sleep was necessary for the survival of all residing within our walls.

I felt better this morning, more rested and resilient, and I finally got the idea to keep the clingy kid in the baby carrier, rather than try to make breakfast with her collapsed in a baleful puddle at my feet. We were at a tenuous truce, which was good enough for me. While she tackled her avocado on toast, and I savored my giant latte, I did my morning run through Facebook. This morning, status after status in my feed were pictures and posts from my friends in New York City who were in attendance at the People’s Climate Change March, which was deemed the largest climate march in history – I’ve seen reports from anywhere between 300,000 to 400,000 marchers.

I was so humbled by this display, and proud to know so many participants. My peacefully protesting friends included people I went to high school with, know from grad school, and professionally. I’m not going to get into the argument about why we need to be letting our officials know that climate change is the most important issue on the table for the entire world – if you’re reading this, you have the Internet, so I’m sure you already know the vast and indisputable science behind what’s happening to the planet. I just want to say how much my heart burst with pride to see the enormity and the grace of this march. Just when it would seem the world is too much, a pulsing mass of humanity comes together and reminds us how much better we can be. To my friends who were there, thank you for your energy. And thank you for sharing your images and experiences. I needed a dose of perspective today, and you have given me that, along with so much more.

And, if you’re reading this and still feel cynical, my friend over at The Necessary Cruelty found himself in the midst of the march today, and writes about his experience far more eloquently than I have here, though it would seem we took a similar emotional journey, a couple of ocean’s apart.

Here’s to happy endings – may they find us where we need to be found.

Vacation Reading

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I recently wrote about my desire to get ever more stamps In the passport, and we’re off to do so, hence the blog is going on vacation for the week while we’re in Bali. But, I’m going to leave you with some reading material because that’s how much I care.

Actually, it’s also because I was recently going through all my old posts to put up the ones for my The Sydney Side page, and I found some that I thought could use a revisit lo these many years later. So, here’s a few early posts that might be of interest.

  • I got a kick out of re-reading “A Bird in the Bush,” (2010) where I talked about all the birds I was seeing and hearing – mostly hearing – around Sydney. I remember clearly my first puzzling encounter with the noisy ravens, and have subsequently heard them called the “vomiting baby” and “dying baby” birds thanks to the awful screech they emit. They haven’t gotten more charming, I’m afraid. Oh, and one edit. The lorikeets are noisy, too. I was too generous to them because they’re cute.
  • Also from 2010 is “The Case of the Missing Penny,” which I wrote after I realized that something was missing in Australia (spoiler alert – it’s the penny).
  • Have I Got a Tip For You” is a post from 2011 where I explored the history of tipping after getting curious about why Americans tip and Australians don’t. My friends contributed some interesting comments and theories, as well.
  • And finally, I have always loved this post, “Postcards From Vacation Part 3,” by my one and only guest blogger, none other than Mr Partner-in-Crime, who wrote in true P-i-C flourish about our first trip to the Hunter Valley wine region.If any of that interests you, then I wish you happy reading. And, I’ll see you on these pages in a week or so with some tales of Balinese adventure.

Between Roots and Wings

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homeI am so excited to be turning over a new blogging leaf. Yesterday, I was In an Opal Hearted Country, and physically I still am; but today, I’m Between Roots and Wings.

In February, when we did the Expat Blog Challenge, one of the prompts was to write about what we wish we’d done differently when we started our blogs. I had a number of wishes, including the wish for a different title and to have my blog hosted on Word Press with its own domain name. After writing that, I put a lot of thought into this blog – where I wanted to go with it, if it was going to be part of my future, and how I plan to move forward with it. I arrived at a couple of conclusions:

  • I want to keep writing, and I want this to be the place where I continue to grow my writing and creativity. If anything, I’d like to get more serious about this project.
  • I want a place that reflects my life now, and that will grow with me.

Moving over to Word Press and settling on a nice, clean template was an obvious first step. Changing the name was the challenge. When I started this blog, I was very clear that I wanted it to be an expat blog, and that I would stay on theme. There have been plenty of things that I’ve deemed unsuitable topics for this blog because they were not expat related. While I think that will remain the primary focus, I’ve been living away from home long enough that it doesn’t consume my entire life, and limiting myself to only writing about “Yank Down Under” concerns is beginning to feel limiting. When I became pregnant, I declared that this blog would never be a “mommy blog,” and it won’t, but frankly, my life is very domestic right now, so to not ever write about motherhood and other “home” issues is not a reflection of who I am and what I care about. Finally, I didn’t want to make the same mistake I made before and find myself limited by my title somewhere down the road. I don’t know how long we’ll live in Australia, so I went away from anything to do with “Down Under” or other Aussie themes.

i scrolled through poetry and listened to a lot of song lyrics to try to arrive at a new title, but finally realized that the phase I’m at in my life is not one that poets and songwriters find terribly captivating. I’ve reached my mid-30s. I’m just so happy to stay home, take my kid to the park, read a lot of books, maybe go out to dinner with my dear husband now and again. Yet, at the same time, there’s always this little thing saying, “see more!, do more!, learn more!, experience more!”. I want to build a home, but a little part of me doesn’t want to get too settled or comfortable, because I don’t feel done with going and with doing. And, so where I feel these days is in between two magnets – spreading my wings and putting roots in the ground. Between roots and wings.

So, that’s where I am. Where I’m going with this blog, for now, is more and, hopefully, better.

  • Weekly posts
  • A monthly post on motherhood abroad
  • A monthly post on exploring Sydney

Like my macro theme in life, I’m hoping this new blog space is going to be a place where I can settle in, and also stretch out a bit. Thanks for joining me over here.

Day 18: Blog Love

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Prompt: Another blog I admire.

You may guess, and rightly so, that from working in the theatre for most of my life, I have become acquainted with some marvelous characters. Theatre people, by and large, are not a batch of insecure divas with weird dressing room requests and a martini always at the ready to toss in some offender’s face. Rather, in my experience, they are intellectually curious people who thrive on collaboration and build communities wherever they land.

One person who embodies this model is an actor who I’ve had the pleasure of sharing space with, professionally, on two or three occasions. His “day job” (in quotes because I am quite certain that it is far, far more than a “day” job. Or, even just a “job” job) is working as a tour guide in New York City. I’ve never been on one of his tours, but I feel absolutely certain that he’s very, very good at this calling, and we should all be so lucky to tour with him. Of course, one meets all sorts in that line of work, doesn’t one? And so, he has quite a lot of stories. He also has an incredible gift of storytelling, and I do not exaggerate when I tell you he is one of the best writers I know. The fact that he is not regularly featured on NPR is an oversight on the part of our National Public Radio.

He often posts the stories privately, and people constantly encourage him to write a book, but as he wisely notes, how can he share stories of the tourists he encounters and still work another day. Thankfully, he found a compromise, and writes anonymously at The Necessary Cruelty.

His writing is colorful, surprising, and full of unabashed snark. You know his characters, and you can laugh along, secure in the knowledge that you would never be that tourist! For instance, from one of my favorites,”Slaughtering Marie“:

Marie is rather tall, made taller by a tuft of blondish loose curls that float above her head like the marabou feathers on a muppet. She makes the mistake of lining her lips with a darker shade of the pinkish red she uses as a lipstick. This makes her moving mouth even more animated and brash. I imagine she was a very lovely woman in her youth, but decided to claw on to that memory with her painted fingernails rather than slide into ‘handsome,’ as is certainly her prerogative. But she doesn’t quite pull it off. Her smeary foundation and spackled eyeshadow give her the desperate look of the unwilling.

I really suggest you read the whole thing, as Marie comes to a pretty brilliant fate.

We also get dispatches from life in New York City. The “Real ads as I search for an apartment-mate” are so good that you have to believe that they cannot be made up:

“I am looking to move back to NY! And now is the time to just jump in
and begin to live the dream. I am a theatre person; however, my life doesn’t necessarily revolve around that. I love meeting and co-existing with all types of people. Sort of like the Bohemian lifestyle in RENT (Haven’t seen RENT? Check it out at New World Stages Off-Broadway)”
My thought: And what, ‘Maureen,’ would you say your life DOES revolve around?
********
“Nice man. non-smoker, non-pet guy, guest house worker, occasional nudist, chill dude, home type guy.”
My thought: Uh, UMM, I’m sorry. Go back two?
********
“I am a married father of a 2 year old. I’m moving because I am sick of constant complaints about the baby being noisy.”
My thought: Oh for God’s sake then, come on OVER!

And then, sometimes, he surprises you with something downright sweet, like this piece.

Of all the blogs I read, I’m most excited to read something new from NC. I know that it will be full of life, vivid, brilliantly naughty, and completely truthful in the Big T “Truth” sort of way. Read him at The Necessary Cruelty, and if any of you work for NPR, get him on the air!

Day 11: Mistakes Were Made

blogging, expat blog challege

Prompt: When I started my blog, I wish I had…

Picture credit here.

Starting this blog nearly four years ago was a haphazard endeavour. People at home seemed to be interested in the pictures and dispatches I was sharing on Facebook from having recently arrived in Australia, and I thought that I could go further on a blog. Also, I’d taken up reading some expat blogs of Americans in Sydney, which was helping me with the idea of living here, rather than just being a tourist. I thought maybe I could pay it forward. Finally, when I first arrived, I was on a tourist visa, so I couldn’t work, and I had a lot of time on my hands. I was in desperate need of a creative outlet. And so, one day on a whim, this blog was born.

I didn’t give much thought to a plan, style, or the best platform. Most of the blogs I read were on Blogger, so that’s what I went with. In hindsight, it was a silly choice because my professional web page is on Word Press, so I already knew how to use it. I’ve since had another professional project on Word Press, as well as worked with it on a website re-design project at my job at the historical society. For those of you who don’t deal with the sort of thing, the difference in platforms is that Word Press gives you a lot more freedom, you can have your own domain name (not with the oh-so-professional sounding “.blogger.com” in it), and it’s just way, way sexier to look at. I desperately wish I’d started over there, but now it seems like a lot of work to migrate. I periodically research moving this blog to a Word Press site, and I know it’s do-able, but for now I keep tossing it into the ol’ too hard basket.

Another thing I did poorly was break a pretty essential rule of storytelling. I never introduced the character. In part, I probably thought that most of the people who were reading this blog would know me. But, also, because Partner-in-Crime is a very private person (despite being the King of the extroverts), he preferred to not have me say to much about our whys and wherefores and whos and whatsits on a public Internet site. It took me over two years to write the post I should have written on day one. I’ve been learning since the beginning how to walk the fine line between sharing true things and maintaining your privacy.

Finally, and this really falls under the “what was I thinking?” category. The title of this blog. Ugh. I hate it! Being all literary-minded and stuff, I spent a good couple of hours on my first day of blogging plowing through a book of Australian poetry that we’d picked up from an op shop. I wanted the name to be poetic, and decided that book was the place I was going to find it. I found fewer name candidates than I’d hoped. I really wanted to name it “In a Sunburnt Country,” which is from the same poem, “My Country” by Dorothea Mackellar but Bill Bryson had already used that for his book on Australia. So, I settled on the first line of the last stanza, “An opal-hearted country.” Granted, it is poetic and lovely imagery, but I doubt it means anything to pretty much anyone. It hardly means anything to me. Again, had I thought about style or my audience, I would have chosen more wisely. One of these days, in a fit of frustration/inspiration, I may just up and change it because, hey, it’s my blog, and it’s not the boss of me!

More reading material? Another American in Sydney blog that I have gotten to know through this challenge is Granite House on the Hill. Jackie and Josh came to Sydney just over a year ago. She’s an exceptional writer who I have loved reading this month. Definitely pop over. 

Day 4: The 5th Entry

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Prompt:  Look at the 5th post you ever wrote on this blog. In hindsight, what do you think about your frame of mind and your style of writing?

If there’s a prompt that proves that I didn’t “fix” this challenge to work to my benefit, this one is it. I picked the fifth post as the one to look at because it wouldn’t be one of those very first “this is my blog and why I am here” posts, but still early enough that everything about the experience, or at least writing about it, was probably pretty new. Today, I found the 5th post on my blog from March 27, 2010. The title of the post is “No Worries,” and I felt a little embarrassed reading it. 

I wasn’t actually embarrassed about the content or some naivety, but because it is so very close to the post I wrote very recently for the Expat Blog writing contest, “How to be as Laid Back as an Aussie in 9 Easy Phrases.” 

My 2010 post is fairly short, talking about the Aussie phrase “no worries,” the variants, and a sort of cute story about encountering the phrase “too easy” in a restaurant. From the entry:

The most popular phrase in the lexicon is “No worries” (i.e. – “Can I get a Diet Coke?” “No worries!”) I hear “no worries” at least 50 times per day. It does begin to give one the sense that there is little to be worked up about. It’s the perfect expression of the easygoing Aussies.

Variations include

No drama
No stress
-and my new favorite, too easy

And from my recent article:

1. No worries: It’s like “you’re welcome,” but with sand between its toes and a James Squire Golden Ale in its hand. May also mean, “I can do that for you.” Add a “mate” at the end for the total package. No worries is more than a phrase, it’s a way of life, so much so that the next four phrases are all variations on the theme.

Example:”Thanks for inviting us to your BBQ. It was a ripper!”
“Ah, no worries, mate.”

 
The next four phrases are “no dramas,” “too easy,” “she’ll be right,” and “she’ll be apples.” 
 
Apparently, I have no new ideas!
 
I thought about this for awhile, a little bummed about how unoriginal I am, but I realized that the first entry was pretty surface on the topic – sort of like, “here are some new phrases I’ve learned. How fun are they, right!?”. The recent post, though light hearted goes deeper into the cultural aspects of the Aussie expressions. I don’t think that I could have written the second post in 2010. 
 
So, I decided to look at the first post as sort of a pencil sketch, a preparation for the fully realized work of art to emerge from my canvas when I, the artist, became sophisticated enough to complete her masterwork! 
 
Guernica, sketch and painting. As you can see, I am like the Picasso of expat blogging.
Sketch image from here. Full image from Wikipedia.
 
I kid, of course, but it’s interesting to see how long I’ve been mulling over the same idea. 
 
And on the topic of style, I was struck by what a short and sweet little piece my entry was. These days, I’m always looking for something profound to write about, and it’s a reminder that there’s something nice about a quick little bite-sized blog morsel. Something to carry with me post-challenge. Look for some Hershey Kiss sized posts in the future.
 
And now, may I introduce you to another expat blog challenger. Yesterday, I recommended a friend from college, Kelli, and today I’ll introduce another friend from college, Kimi, who is currently living in Bangladesh. Kimi was a couple years ahead of me, and I first met her when I went to visit our college as a high school senior. She and her dear friend/soulmate were like a comedy duo, and I was so taken with them. I’m very glad that Kimi’s picked up blogging for this challenge. Her personality shines forth in her writing, and I know you’re going to love reading her blog The Three Little Birds… (Las Picharditas).


Expat Blog Challenge Prompts – February 2014

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Welcome to the Expat Blog Challlenge, beginning 1 February 2014.
 
I set up these prompts as an exercise for myself to write every day. I invited other expat bloggers to join, and now we have a bit of a group going. Hop over to Facebook if you’re an expat blogger and want to join the party.
 
We will write each day in February based on the following prompts. Each blogger should post their entry prior to midnight in their time zone. Every blogger is entitled to one “Get out of jail free card,” which is the option to forgo the day’s topic and write on something of their choosing.
 
Challengers who are registered on the Facebook group who complete the month according to the rules above will be entered into a draw for a $20 Amazon gift card. In addition, challengers who post a substantive comment (more than just “great job”) that is published on a fellow participant’s entry will be entered into a draw for a $10 Amazon gift card.
 
Without further ado, here are the prompts!
 
Click here for larger version
Each day of the week has a theme, as follows:
 
Saturdays – Where I live
Sundays – Quotes
Mondays – Photo prompts
Tuesdays –  On Blogging
Wednesdays – For fun
Thursdays – Expat life
Fridays – Food Fridays

 

Saturday 1 February – The view from where I write

 

Sunday 2 February – Respond: Not all those who wander are lost.”  ― J.R.R. Tolkien

 

Monday 3 February – Photo prompt: An object that makes me feel at home

 

Tuesday 4 February – Look at the 5th post you ever wrote on this blog. In hindsight, what do you think about your frame of mind and your style of writing?

 

Wednesday 5 February – I was at the airport, and…

 

Thursday 6 February – I would/would not move to another country after this

 

Friday 7 February – Since moving abroad, my pantry looks different because…

 

Saturday 8 February – I will never get used to…

 

Sunday 9 February – Respond: “‘Expat Syndrome’ is a condition whereby many expatriates see mostly either the best of their own nationality & the worst of the locals, or see the opposite.” -T Crossley

 

Monday 10 February – A day in photos

 

Tuesday 11 February – I wish that when I started my blog I had…

 

Wednesday 12 February – An open letter

 

Thursday 13 February – Something I left behind

 

Friday 14 February – A restaurant review

 

Saturday 15 February– What the tourists never see in my town that they are really missing out on

 

Sunday 16 February – Respond: It is a bitter-sweet thing, knowing two cultures. Once you leave your birthplace nothing is ever the same.” ― Sarah Turnbull

 

Monday 17 February – Photo: Something I never would have seen if I’d stayed home

 

Tuesday 18 February – Another blog I admire

 

Wednesday 19 February – My accent

 

Thursday 20 February – The trait I possess that most equipped me for life abroad. OR
The trait I possess that held me back the most. Or both.

 

Friday 21 February – Tastes like home

 

Saturday 22 February – Something I still haven’t seen in my expat country

 

Sunday 23 FebruaryRespond: Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” ― Terry Pratchett

 

Monday 24 February – Photo: A hidden gem

 

Tuesday 25 February – Revisit an old post that you now have more to say about

 

Wednesday 26 February – Recognize someone who has made your expat experience better

 

Thursday 27 February – A tradition I maintain

Friday 28 February – A toast to … (the future/the journey/the end of this challenge … your choice!)

Happy blogging, everyone!