It was a Facebook message from a stranger that finally made me break down completely.
When I look back on our Harvey experience, what I remember most is the constant anxiety – watching the water rise in our neighbourhood, getting closer and closer to our front door; the almost constant tornado alerts; the panicked messages at 6am one morning as we tried to work out if the evacuation notice for our area was mandatory or voluntary.
Even now, a month later, it is hard to put the events of that week into any kind of chronological order or to give the experience a neat narrative storyline. Key moments stand out – waiting for evacuated friends to arrive while watching the water getting higher and higher, only to get a phone call to say that they’d spent more than an hour trying to find a passable route to our home, and with that the realization dawning that we were marooned. The text message from a colleague showed a photo of the view from his rescue boat. The stories of colleagues and families sleeping in offices or strangers’ homes, the last-minute escapes – friends leaving homes, not knowing when they would get back or what they would find when they did.
Continue reading Lessons from a hurricane
One of the things I love about my expat life is its unexpected twists and turns – the extraordinary opportunities that pop up if you’re open to grabbing them.
I had one of those amazing, ‘pinch me, how did I get here’ moments last week. I had lunch with Denise Brown, one of the warmest and most genuine women I’ve met in a long time. You might not have heard of Denise but I’m pretty sure that you will have heard of her sister, Nicole Brown whose ex-husband was O.J. Simpson. Denise was the special guest at Fort Bend Women’s Center first annual Healing and Hope lunch and I was lucky enough to spend time with her ‘backstage’ as well.
Continue reading No more secrets – talking about domestic violence
Its fair to say that I was passionate about the value and benefits of volunteering long before I became an expat. In my old life, I actually worked on a couple of campaigns that promoted its benefits to both individuals and society as whole.
Perhaps it was inevitable that in my new expat life with a bit more available time I would become an active volunteer. And while I knew about some of the benefits, the impact on my new expat life was greater than I anticipated – even when the work was scrubbing down dirty dog kennels!
Here’s my top 5 reasons to become a volunteer while you’re an expat, helping yourself while also helping others.
Continue reading What’s in it for me? 5 reasons to volunteer as an expat