Returning to America after four years in Europe

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Comic Relief for the World Cup Widow

It hasn't even started but I'm already sick of the World Cup.

Europe's great neutral nation seems to know this about those of us with x-y chromosones and has launched a fabulous ad campaign.

Yum. This World Cup widow is already planning her next vacation!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

1 Year + 1 Day

One year ago today, I was starting my first full day back in the U.S. It was a horribly uncertain period - I was back in my dad's house, with no job and little money. I had no idea what I was going to do next or how I was going to start a whole new life. Had I made the right decision to throw away my life in Holland with only my gut telling me that it was right thing to do, however painful.

If I would have been able to see today, a mere year later, I wouldn't have worried a bit. I have a great job with fanastic, if sometimes slightly crazy, colleagues. I have re-connected with old friends and made a few new ones. I have made a comfortable home in the most gorgeous apartment I've ever lived in. And I met a man who is easily the best boyfriend in the world.

I am, for the most part, re-adjusted to life in the U.S. but still often miss Europe and my friends there. But the near-constant existential crisis is gone. I have found my home, and my peace. Who would have ever guessed that I would have to go on such a roundabout - albeit extraordinary - journey only to end up where I started?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Do You Realize??

I'm enjoying the new Flaming Lips these days. But my favorite remains "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots."

And "Do You Realize??" always moves me.

Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes

Let them know you realize that life goes fast

It's hard to make the good things last

You realize the sun doesn't go down

It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Monday, February 20, 2006

Speaking of psycho chicks...

Turns out Mary Todd Lincoln is not a nutter after all. In honor of President's Day, the New York Times vindicates Abe's Old Lady - about 125 years too late.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Modern Love

One of the first things I turn to in the Sunday New York Times is Modern Love in the Style section.

The weekly column - by various authors - always resonates, whether it's about Internet dating or buying a dog to save a marriage.

This week's piece I found particularly impactful. "Loved and Lost? It's O.K., Especially if You Win" by Veronica Chambers validates every person who has ever desperately drunk dialed an ex-lover or taken a last-minute flight to make a last-ditch effort at a doomed relationship.

When my father was 17, he moved half way around the world to be close to the girl he loved. He showed up at her door, without notice, and she rejected him immediately. It would take him another 20 years and two failed marriages to find true, lasting love. But he did and they've been happy for 25 years.

Of course, there can be a fine line between romance and restraining order and I'm still working out the guide posts on how that line is drawn.

Still, I applaud Ms. Chambers for taking a stand for heart-on-your sleave-cry-your-eyes-out love.

Top 10 Reasons I'm Really an American Again

10. Drinking during the day is deviant.

9. I put ice in my soda.

8. I drink soda.

7. Two words: Netflix subscription.

6. Supersizing sometimes seems like a good idea.

5. Tipping 15 percent feels cheap.

4. I've been reading the same book for two months.

3. I think I pay a lot of taxes.

2. Working 50 hours a week is normal.

1. I own a Swiffer.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


Back in the U.S. for six months after four years out of it (feel free to joke amongst yourselves), I’ve been thinking about home, and its definition, a lot lately.

Repatriation has not brought relief to the near-constant sense of contradiction and conflict. In some ways, I feel as foreign ‘back home’ as I did abroad. Though I can’t shake my wanderlust, I am oddly envious of those who have laid roots. And despite my lack of place, I find myself feeling ever so ‘at home’ in many different locations: watching fireworks in a Salt Lake City suburb; having drinks in an Irish bar on Manhattan’s Upper West Side; and going for an Italian dinner in LA’s Larchmont.

The only through line I can identify is the people, the sweet friends and family that are at once close, and scattered about. Being able to go for a Saturday afternoon movie with a college friend is an indulgence I haven’t had for too long. But I still pine for a drunken, late-night grilled cheese sandwich with Wiggle in our Prague flat.

I have resigned myself to an ever-present state of missing someone. It is the blessing and curse of expatriation-repatriation – that one can find themselves in so many new places and yet still wonder, almost ceaselessly, where is home?

Autumn often exacerbates this mild existential crisis. The cooler climes and shorter days push me inside to pad around in wool socks. Still antsy from the summer, I find myself pulling out old photo albums and journals, flipping the pages in search of I know not what. LA’s feeble attempt at any sort of season seems to only make matters worse - as I try to compensate for the lack of meteorological change and push for some sort of breakthrough, some sort of answer.

The only thing I can conclude about home is that I’ve either found it, or I will be looking eternally. Both conclusions seem rather grim so, perhaps, I will instead just try to enjoy the present.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Speak Up, Ladies

The Female Expat Project has added an audio blog component.

Creator Joelle Dietrick at UC San Diego has invited all of us one-time or current female expats to speak our minds and hearts on living abroad.

I received this from Joelle today:
"As you know, when we hop around the globe, our understanding of place and self are completely transformed. I’ve recently set up an audio blog (http://www.female-expat.org/audioblog/blog) where you can record your comments about expat life directly into your computer without having to download any software. It’s completely free and just an opportunity to gather ourselves in a virtual space since we are so far apart. There is a more traditional forum connected to the site at http://www.female-expat.org/_exp_respond/fepforum/index.html, but hearing the variety of voices filled with pauses filled with meaning seem more powerful. If enough women participate, maybe we can gather the audio for a documentary video or artwork about life overseas."