From dog grooming to making mosaics – finding ways to escape the expat bubble.

We’re all guilty of it. Meeting friends for a coffee. Chatting at school pick up. Organising weekends away. Who are the people we are most likely to do these things with? Other expats.

Now I’m not one of those people who condescendingly heap scorn upon anyone who has no locals amongst their group of friends. From personal experience I know how hard it can be to get close to the natives when you don’t work. Not necessarily because of your own attitudes but often because of theirs: why should they be your friend when you’ll probably be off in a couple of years? Even worse, why should they let their children get close to yours when those friendships will be broken just as they finally trust each other enough with the name of their latest crush? Additionally, you’ve probably got a lot more in common with other expats who, like you, have left behind their home country and culture to strike out on a grand adventure. Even if your expat friends aren’t the same nationality as you (and to me, meeting people from all over the world is one of the best things about this life), they are still likely to have more in common with you than someone who has never left home.

So no I am not against having expat friends. I say grab whichever friendships you can – especially at the start. Loneliness and isolation is a very real and not always acknowledged part of this life, so never feel guilty for making a friend with someone just because they are not a host-country native.

However.

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How do I get out of this bubble?

This does not mean you should never leave that safe, expat bubble. After all, isn’t one of the reasons you moved to another country the opportunity to explore a new culture? Won’t you feel slightly cheated if you go home having never stepped out of your comfortable little world? But I know that sometimes doing this can be harder than it sounds. As already mentioned, most locals are not going to be desperate to be your best friend. They will already have circles of friends and/or family and as you get older and more settled, reaching out to new people isn’t always that high up on peoples’ agenda. So don’t expect to immediately gain a whole new circle of best mates from the local populace. It may happen eventually (or it may not, depending on where you are) but you could find it hard to get close to people other than fellow expats in the first year or two.

So, how do you get out of that expat bubble? Well – this is where you need to get a bit creative. Literally, in some cases. What you need is to find something that brings you into contact with nationals from your host country where you will all be focused on doing the same thing and where chat will naturally flow. Something like….ok, this is going to sound weird, but dog grooming. Yes you read that right – and had someone told me even a few months ago that I would have been doing a dog grooming course during my time in South Africa, I would have thought they had been drinking too much of the Kool Aid. But hear me out.

When we first got our puppy Miniature Schnauzer Cooper, we knew that he was a dog that needed a lot of grooming. His hair doesn’t fall out but it grows – fast. He can turn from a perfectly turned out shorn boy to a yeti in what seems like a matter of a couple of weeks. So we got in touch with a local man who comes to the house and does a wonderful job making Cooper look like he’s just stepped out of the puppy parlour. But while we can afford to get this done on a regular basis here, I know that when we return to the UK this is going to eat deep into our pockets. So when the chance to learn how to do it myself came up I jumped at the chance.

And it was so much fun! Run by the professional breeder who sold us Cooper the course was basically a load of middle aged South African ladies (and me) laughing our way through the day. We were each presented with our own dog to practise on and there is nothing like chortling at your sheer ineptness to bond you with a bunch of strangers. Although I was the only “outsider” there, and there was the occasional break into Afrikaans for me to contest with, the fact that we were all there for the same thing meant I was just as included as everyone else. And even though none of those women were ever going to be my lifelong friend, for one afternoon I was emerged in the local culture completely and could almost forget I was even an expat.

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My very patient guinea pig….(yes I did that!)

Similarly aother friend (you know who you are) started mosaic classes with a local art teacher. Classes like these mean that with everyone focused on art and not on each other it doesn’t matter whether you were born and bred five miles or 5,000 miles away. Barriers break down and over time real friendships can be formed.

For my children too I have found a great way to get them away from their international school bubble – local swimming classes. Both of my children train at  the high performance centre at TUKS, which is the University of Pretoria’s top class sports facility. So top class that a 2016 Olympic gold medallist also trains there! But most importantly, the girls are surrounded by South Africans. With most of their friends being Americans, Scandanavians, Germans, other Brits etc it’s great to see them  both swimming alongside and chatting with South African children. And sitting as I was with them at 7.30am at the swimming gala on Saturday morning I really got to feel I was taking part in something very South African!

We’re only here for another 8 or 9 months and I still feel like I am just scraping the surface of this country. I know I am unlikely to ever really blend in. But while I am here I am trying to understand the local culture (or should I say cultures – this is a country made up of as many people as any I have ever lived in). I know I could be doing  a lot more – I could volunteer with a local charity or vow to seek out as many local friends as possible. Yet I have to be realistic. There are only so many hours in the day and most of those are taken up with work, looking after the children, shopping, cooking, dog walking – you know, day-to-day stuff. But whilst I realise I won’t ever be completely immersed in this country, I will always have my day of dog grooming!

So get out there, look for those opportunities. And if you find something or if you are already taking part in an activity that helps you to immerse in the local culture please let me know in the comments section below. I’d love to hear what you lot get up to 🙂

A Day in My Expat Life: Nairobi

Welcome to the latest post in the Day in My Expat Life series. Today we are back in Africa – but this time up from me a bit, in Kenya. Although Kenya is a long way from South Africa, there are a few things which feel very familiar  – in particular the bars on the doors and the keep. Please welcome Mahua, who blogs at nyc2nairobi.

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I’m a New Yorker and a User Experience Strategist and Designer. My husband and I have moved to Nairobi for his job with the UN a little over a year ago. We plan to be in Nairobi for several more years. We are lucky in that his post is open ended to a degree because we really love it in Kenya.

On my blog, I post about the more interesting or exciting things in my life. Someone might read it and think that life in Nairobi is all about the excursions and travel and fun. There’s plenty of ordinary life as well. Dare I say it, a day in my life is actually a bit boring.

The day starts with security. We disarm the security system and unlock the safe haven gate every morning. This is a common thing in Nairobi. Houses have safe haven gates (a strong iron gate that prevents anyone from getting to the bedrooms upstairs) and most homes have a security system and/or askari (guard).

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We get dressed and eat breakfast. My husband goes to work at his office. Our house keeper arrives around 8 am and I’ll talk to her a bit about anything she needs to know for the day. And then I go into the usual routine.

My day to day actually varies. Some days I don’t leave the house. I try to plan something outside of the house for once a twice a week. This could be getting together with a friend, something work related, or even just an errand or mundane appointment. When I go out, I need to plan it.

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We have one car. Sometimes I’ll take it for the day. Other times I’ll use our regular guy who drives us – not a full time driver, just my usual go-to guy. I’ll need to make arrangement for anytime I want to leave the house. I’m not trapped, but I do have to plan.

Also, if I leave the house and no one is home, I will arm the security system. Most days, unless it’s a holiday, our housekeeper will be around so I won’t need to arm the system.

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Most days, my day involves working from home as an independent consultant. What does that mean? First of all, yes, I really am working. Secondly, it’s flexible in working hours. Kenya has very strict rules about work authorization. You can’t even volunteer without a permit. Much of the work I do is tied to U.S. companies and I work remotely. I also work with Kenyan companies, but they need to get me the authorization first.

Outside of assignments, I’ve also done some pro bono work (again for firms outside of Kenya). I’ve started writing some professional pieces. I’ve done one speaking engagement and I plan to do a few more. These are things I didn’t have time for when I worked as staff in any company (either in Kenya or in the U.S.). It’s nice to be able to do these things now.

I also work on my blog. It’s fun and I enjoy it. However, it’s something that is starting to shift more and more into the realm of work for me. It’s not just writing the posts. I plan out an editorial schedule so that there are always posts. I take and edit the photos that go up. I work on making sure to syndicate the content and drive traffic via Twitter, Flipboard, and Instagram.

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I also make sure I eat lunch. When it’s nice out, I’ll eat my lunch outside.] Actually, if it’s nice out, I’ll take my work outside unless I really need to use my large monitor. If it’s warm and sunny and I can get away with just the laptop, it’s the outdoor “office” for me!

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The other item that is part of my day to day is fitness. It’s really important to me. I look forward to my workouts. I enjoy doing them. I feel great afterward. Sometimes I can do this during the day to break things up. Sometimes it’s more in the late afternoon or at the end of my day.

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How all those things happen varies day to day. But, it’s fairly certain that on most days I am in front of a computer working away, with a break for lunch and a workout. It’s that routine in activity even though it changes in timing and occasional outing.

Most days, my husband gets home around 5:30 or 6 pm. At that point, my brain is fried so I’ll shift into some hobbies while my husband does his workout. (Yes, we are a fit and active couple.) I’ve got a little studio in a spare room downstairs where I’ll draw, paint, or knit. I’ll do that for a bit before I make dinner…by make, I should note that I rarely make dinner. Sometimes, yes. Many times it’s reheating food that our (once a week) cook makes for us.

After dinner we’ll relax and watch some tv. Then it’s time for bed.

The day ends as it began, with security. We lock up the front gate, arm the house alarm, and lock the safe haven before bed.

Thank you for this insight into expat life in Nairobi. It’s always good to remind the world that our lives can be quite ordinary too. Please remember to check out the other posts in this series, and let me know if you would like your expat life to be featured on this blog.

 

A Day in My Expat Life: Sweden#2

I’ve already featured Sweden in my Day in My Expat Life series but as someone who has lots of Swedish friends and has Sweden high on my list of places to visit soon I say we can never have too much Sweden! So here we go – please welcome Sara!

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I’m Sara. I was born in Portugal but I left ten years ago. In the meantime I have lived 3 years in Poland, 3 in Brazil and 2 in the Czech Republic. Now I live in Sweden. I live with my boyfriend. He is Swedish. He has also lived in different countries, including Brazil and the Czech Republic with me.

You can find my blog at http://asvoltasnomundo.blogspot.se/

1- window

1. My window 7.30 I get up and usually I stare out of the window for a couple of minutes. I check how the weather is, go through my to do list mentally and judge how awake I am. I’m a morning person, so I am usually fully awake after a few minutes. This is one of the good things of being unemployed… I have time to stare out the window.

2- breakfast

2. Breakfast 8.00 I have breakfast in the kitchen. Most mornings I eat porridge with cinnamon. Occasionally, I add a spoon of jam or apple puree. And black tea in my favourite cup. I love black tea in the morning! I read or check social networks in my phone while a eat.

3- my corner

3. My corner 8.30 After doing this and that (make the bed, clean here and there, you know what I mean) I sit in my favourite corner. It almost looks like a small office but it’s a corner of my living room. It is from here that I blog. The colourful post its have notes about what I want to blog about. From here I write, edit photographs, I read other blogs, I search and apply for jobs, etc. Note my favourite cup again with my second cup of tea. Usually, I turn on the radio for company. Portuguese radio. I can hear the news from my country and most importantly, I can hear my own language!

4- run

4. Run 10.00 I love running and I do it almost everyday. If I want a fast run I just go on the streets and in the pedestrian path along the road, because it’s flat. If I’m looking for a challenge I go up to the forest near my flat, where I find many hills. Of course the surroundings are nicer in the forest and the sound of the birds encourages me to keep going. Afterwards, I stretch for a few minutes at the entrance of my building and I go home and have shower.

5- cookbooks

5. Cookbooks 11.30 Since I had a few minutes to spare I went through some of my cookbooks to get ideas for dinner. I started collecting cookbooks when I started travelling more. I have always been interested in food and I really enjoy trying different dishes and new ingredients. I started buying a cookbook in every new country I visited and now I have a nice collection. I have more than one cookbook from certain countries. From Italy, for instance, I have 5! You guessed right… I love Italian food.

6- lunch

6. Lunch 11.45 After running I’m hungry so I need to eat some lunch. I either heat up some leftovers from the day before or eat a sandwich with salad. One of my favourite combinations is sill in lemon sauce with boiled egg. Sill is herring (a fish) and in Sweden you can buy it marinated in different sauces. Sill is always present in different Swedish festivities celebrated all over the year. I actually enjoy it quite a lot and as it makes an easy and fast meal I eat it for lunch sometimes

7- school

7. School 12.30 I moved to Sweden in the beginning of the year and I spend roughly 3h a day learning Swedish in school. It is called SFI (Swedish for immigrants) and it is a free course for foreigners. Foreigners who do have a job can also take the course, but it is usually only once a week. Our teacher is great and full of energy, which is very motivating. It’s fun and I really enjoy sharing that part of my day with people from all over the world.

8- library

8. Library 15.45 After dropping the school books at home, I take my bicycle and cycle to the library to return a book. I love the library! It’s huge and has a large selection of books in english, and a lot in many different languages! I finished Be careful what you wish for, from the Clifton series of Jeffrey Archer and I took Sushi for beginners, from Marian Keyes. I have 3 weeks to read each book, but the time can be extended through my online account. Usually I don’t have to extend it.

9- supermarket

9. Supermarket 16.10 Afterwards, I also went to the supermarket. I always have a list because my memory is not the best. The supermarket is huge and it only takes me 5 minutes to get there from home by bicycle. I am a member of their club and I can use the self-scanning machines. I scan my own groceries and I pay on my own at the end. It makes it so much faster! One can get a random check and be penalised if not all products are scanned. I have never failed… yet. Today is a bit later than normal, so my boyfriend Johan meets me at the supermarket and we go home together.

10- sofa

10. Sofa 17.00 Johan is usually tired after a long day at work and he enjoys laying down a bit in the sofa, reading or surfing the web in his tablet. Usually, I’m back in my corner to do my homework and study Swedish on the internet. Once he suggested me to read children’s books in Swedish to practise my reading. We brought his collection of books from his parents house and now and then I read for him. The interesting fact is that he often does fall asleep! The brain reaction is still there… 30 years later.

11- dinner

11. Dinner 18.00 – 20.00 We usually have a lot of fun cooking together and one of the things we make often is fresh pasta. Today, I found a pasta recipe that uses one of my favourite combinations: gorgonzola and walnuts. We have tried it in pizza, together with pear, but never in pasta. Since we really liked the recipe, we will repeat it and I will take better photographs of the dish, so I can post it on my recipe’s blog, the Swedish and the Chef (link: http://the-swedishchef.blogspot.se/)

12- bedtime

12. Reading 20.00 – 00.00 After dinner, I go back to studying Swedish because I have a test in two days. Sometimes I blog instead, or chat on the internet with family or friends. When I get tired I join Johan in the sofa and watch a bit of TV or read. Around 23.00 we go to bed and I keep reading as much as my eyes allow me. It varies from a couple of pages to an hour straight.

Thanks Sara, I really enjoyed reading about your life and seeing your photos. That pasta looks great! Remember to check out my other posts in this series – and please let me know if you would like your expat life featured on this blog.

A Day in My Expat Life: Abu Dhabi

Welcome to another Day in My Expat Life and again this is a special one because Keri, of the website Baby Globetrotters, is a blogger I have been communicating, coordinating and collaborating since we both started out about the same time a couple of years ago. I have never actually met Keri – even though she came on holiday to South Africa at one point since we have been living here – so was curious to find about a bit more about her life. I also love the fact that even though she has three children, she still manages to have time to do her own thing: so important for us expat parents.

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6.19am(1)

6.19am Our day normally starts when the first child wakes up; this can be anywhere between 5.30am and 7am on really lucky days! On a standard school day though we need to be up and at it by 6.30am Not a bad view to wake up to though, we live in a fairly new beach front development “off island” in Abu Dhabi, Al Raha Beach. This is the view from the top floor of our townhouse (4 floors high!)

7.25am

7.25am We have 3 kids to try and usher out the door for school by 7.25am if we can. The International school the oldest two attend is only a few kilometers away but traffic lights are rubbish and we spend 15-20 mins every morning sat in the school run queue. We have rather a large car to fit our collection of kiddy seats – and kids (they are sadly not compulsory in the UAE but no way we’d go anywhere without them). Our littlest one is only 1, he attends the British nursery near the school.

8.35am

8.35am My favourite part of the day once the kids are dropped off! I start my working day by heading down to the beach front for a coffee. Here I catch up my overnight emails and social media. It’s too hot now for sitting on the beach itself but it’s a great, friendly little place – and makes me love my work from home jobs!

9.25am

9.25am Walking back to my house – it’s a mixed development along the man-made Al Raha Beach (slightly inland from the Persian gulf coast) with apartments, townhouses, villas and some commercial buildings – Etihad Centre is right behind our house. It comes with the convenience of a little supermarket and a few shops. The only real hassle here is parking.

10am

10am Where the work gets done! Back to my desk for the next few hours until kiddy pick up times. Once or twice a week I might be at client meetings but mostly working at home in front of the PC, three mornings a week while my youngest is at nursery.

12.30pm

12.30pm Lunch is just something quick and simple like toast or sandwich. NB note the kitchen only looks immaculate as we have a full time helper. She cleans the house while the kids are at school which is *amazing*

2.45pm(1)

2.45pm School pick up run starts again around 1.45pm when I leave our house, then with staggered finish times over two locations – at least if I am not picking up extra kids, dropping off for play dates etc – it takes about 1.5hrs to get home again. As you can see our cars are big (to fit all those car seats!) but having a 4wd or “Mummy Tank” is fairly standard issue here.

3.15pm(1)

3.15pm Today is slightly special and different as it’s my middle boy’s 4th birthday. We always get a special cake and treat on our actual birthday, he will have a pool party on the weekend with his friends. Afternoons while it’s hot they will generally stay in the playroom or play in the pool until dinner time.

5.45pm(1)

5.45pm As a special treat we let the kids pick birthday dinner and we all go out, including some of my husband’s relatives who live in Abu Dhabi too. We are very lucky to have this connection here and make things like birthday celebrations special – they love their Uncle Sean! My Master L will basically only eat pasta so he picked Carluccio’s at Eastern Mangroves, another fairly new waterfront development.

6.30pm(1)

6.30pm The high life when you have kids! All done by about 6.30pm to be home in bed around 7pm. This is the view from the gorgeous Eastern Mangroves marina back to some of the high rises on Reem Island. There really is no ‘centre’ of Abu Dhabi, just lots of awesome little spots to explore.

 

Thank you Keri for that look at your expat life. Please check out our other posts in this series if you haven’t already done so and let me know if you would like your expat life to be featured in a future post!

My expat depression article in the WSJ

Last week I had an article published in the Wall Street Journal about expat depression – and in particular about how it affects accompanying spouses. I was extremely grateful to the four women in the article, who agreed not only to be interviewed for the article about their struggle with depression but to do so openly, using their own names. Each of them did so with the hope of helping others in the same situation as there are or were in.

Ms. Pogir has lived in South Africa for eight years and due to family circumstances sees her time in the country as indefinite. This feeling of being trapped just adds to her sadness. She said she looks around and sees a wonderful house and garden, a good life—but said: “I feel my happiness is the price we have to pay for all of this.”

This is such an important subject and I am so happy that it is getting the attention it deserves by being featured on such a well-read media outlet. I have had lots of visits to this blog on the back of the article, as well as seen it shared over and over on Facebook with – so far – not a single negative comment (pretty rare these days, I have been finding!).

If you are affected by this issue then please read the article, look at my other blog posts on the subject, and get help if necessary (one of my posts gives details of some places you can start to look for this help). And if you know someone you think might be suffering from depression, consider sharing the post with them as a way to help them take the first step towards getting help.

This is too important a subject to ignore.

A Day in My Expat Life: Zambia

Today’s Day in My Expat Life comes to you from sunny Zambia. I am still on holiday in the UK and really starting to miss the sights and sounds of Africa so have enjoyed looking through these photos.

In this entry to my series, Annie Wright of A Wright Adventure (also on Facebook and instragram at awrightadventure) takes us through a day with her three beautiful boys, from sun up to sun down. I can hear those cicadas and smell that dusty road from here!

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6:30 : Sun rise walk / run to drop big boys of at school bus.

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7:00 : Breakfast with my baby blue. Although most of his seems to go on the floor.

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8:00 : Baby blue gets as many toys out as possible!

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10:00 : Outside play with Baby blue. Picking our strawberries.

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12:30 : Pick up middle man from nursery. Red dirt roads and Blue skys.

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14:00 : Lego boy comes home on the bus and bounces with Baby Blue.

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17:45 : Beautiful sun set but it means it is time for insect replant.

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18:00 : Homework time.

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19:15: Lego boy reads me a bed time story.

If you want to read more Day in My Expat Life entries then please click here – and let me know if you would like to feature in this series!

A Day in My Expat Life -Sweden

Welcome to the latest look at a normal day in an expat life and today we move to Europe and Sweden where we meet Lisa Ferland and her family. Lisa is a U.S. citizen who has lived in Sweden since 2012. Together with her husband, they have embraced the Swedish lifestyle and according to Lida are currently “raising a five-year-old Lego-lover and a two-year-old Pippi Longstocking fanatic”. Lisa also recently published the anthology about birth and parenting as an expat called Knocked Up Abroad featuring a chapter by yours truely and can be reached on Facebook and Twitter@knockdupabroad.

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Lisa 1

7:45 am—8:00 am Our morning began with a deer sighting in our backyard. The kids did their best to scare it away but this deer was experienced in the ways of shouty children and stayed to munch on our grass.

Lisa2

The golf course behind our house has a herd of sheep grazing in a fenced-off section of grass. We decided to go check them out before school.

Lisa3

No fish are in that pond. My son checked it out—all clear.

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I’m not sure if the kids were impressed or bored with the sheep. Things got fun when the kids started shaking their rumpas at them. The sheep were a bit nervous with the display.

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Very nervous sheep.

Lisa6

8:15 am – 8:30 am Time to head to school

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Every bridge must be inspected for trolls. Troll-checking is a time-consuming activity but it’s for our safety, so it must be done.

Lisa8

Nope. No trolls here. No snakes either, despite a sign clearly depicting the presences of snakes. The kids were a bit disappointed.

Lisa9

Finally, we are on the way to school. A moped drove by and we stopped to wave hello.

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Finally! After a long walk of touching every slug in sight, we make it to school relatively on time.

Lisa11

With the kids at school, I need to run some errands. First up—filling up the gas tank with diesel fuel. This is always a costly errand but we only use the car once or twice a week.

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Total cost: 720.90 SEK for 55 liters (equivalent to $6.04/gallon—much cheaper than the $8.50/gallon we saw when we first moved to Sweden.)

Lisa13

Acquiring a Swedish driver’s license is incredibly difficult and expensive (for non-Swedes and Swedes alike). This sign says that you can park for 3 hours M-F 7 am-11:30 pm, Saturdays 7 am– 7 pm, and Sundays and holidays, 7 am – 7 pm. You must display a P-skiva on your window shield.

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The P-Skiva

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I received this notice that I had a package arrive and I can only retrieve it at the local post office, which is near the grocery store in town. Unless the package can fit within the dimensions of your mailbox, every package is kept at the central post office regardless if you live in a house or apartment.

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The outdoor center of the shopping mall.

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Inside the shopping mall—stores don’t open until 10 am, except for the grocery store and post office.

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Ah, this box was larger than I anticipated. I had to carry it awkwardly through the grocery store while I did my shopping. Oh well.

Lisa19

I always check out the pastry section when I’m in the grocery store. I can’t help myself.

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Delicious fikabröd or pastries for coffee breaks/fika

Lisa21

Due to my one arm being full of awkward box, I left with a pastry, a Swedish table top maypole flag (midsummer is coming up), and fun bandaids for my kids who like to use them as body art instead of covering cuts.

Lisa22

Swedes remove their shoes in the entryway. Sock fashion is very important in the winter.

Lisa23

9:30 am – 3 pm Sitting at my desk in my home office with a little treat and some coffee and I’m ready to work on my writing.

Lisa24

3:00 pm – 5:30 pm I picked up the kids from school at 3 pm and we are ready to go off in search of new playgrounds.

Lisa25

We pause at a construction site because they are dynamiting the granite rocks and the kids love the big booms

Lisa26

A new-to-us playground is nearby in a newly constructed neighborhood. This one made excellent use of the local rocks and they are perfect for climbing.

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To reach the swing at the top, kids must climb up the hill.

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A fun little hut that housed many spiders so the kids opted out.

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Banana break in a shelter at the next playground

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The last stop on our afternoon adventure was an outdoor exercise space that is the epitome of Swedish training. It is situated among the woods with a horse riding school nearby and people train by lifting logs on a fulcrum system.

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The climbing wall was still under construction but we tried it out anyway

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This exercise made me a bit dizzy as the logs went quite high.

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Hey there, horsey. The local horses are always fun to watch.

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More climbing

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And dancing on rocks

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On the way home, we saw a cat sitting in the woods. Cats are given free range in our neighborhood and we see them all over.

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5:30 pm – 6:00 pm So, what was in that large box that I picked up earlier? A wireless keyboard courtesy of my mother. Now I can get to typing up my second book!

Lisa38

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm For dinner, we had stir fried rice with eggs from our neighbor’s chickens. The entire day was spent outside playing in the beautiful weather. The kids were exhausted and collapsed into bed around 8 pm. Tomorrow begins another day of more of the same.

Thank you to LIsa for that glimpse into her life – those pastries in particlar look delicious. I am loving the fact that so many of these Days in an Expat Life have so much in common eg walking to school, yummy food and working at a lap top – even though they are all in very different places! If you want to see more posts in this series please click here, and if you would like your own day to feature then please comment below or email me clara@expatpartnersurvival.com.