Tag Archives: Texas

Lessons from a hurricane

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.

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Beating the location blues

houston-at-night-final

It would be fair to say that Texas and I have a slightly fraught relationship. It hasn’t been an easy location for me in many ways but we’ve made it work. On the whole, I think that Houston and I have a healthy respect for each other these days.

Yet last week I found myself falling into one of expat life’s psychological traps. I like to call it ‘comparison roulette’. It’s a dangerous game and it’s highly likely that someone will get hurt. Continue reading Beating the location blues

Of dogs and expats

Freya dog - from shelter dog to world traveler
Freya dog – from shelter dog to world traveler

Our expat adventures have been dominated by discussions about dogs.

When we made the decision to begin this craziness, one of the hardest decisions was whether to take our dog, Mackinaw. At the time, she was a lady of a certain age, with a heart condition and dodgy hips. We had just begun to think about what life might be like after she’d gone. Moving to a country where the winter temperature was far below what any of us was used to and a shortage of dog friendly housing and landlords posed a real dilemma for us.

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Soul sisters

Soul sistersI love Kirsty Rice. I’ve never met her but her blog – 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle – was an absolute lifeline when I found myself in Norway wondering what on earth to make of this strange new life.

One of the things that Kirsty sometimes touches upon in her writing is expat friendships. Recently she posted something on her ‘4 Kids, 20 Suitcases and a Beagle’ Facebook page that struck a chord with me. She was wondering about the thing we gain and lose by moving around the world so much.  Continue reading Soul sisters