South Africa Diaries: Part 4 – On To Cape Town [Dec 1990]

James King
Columnists - James King

Out of Transkei

As Umtata disappeared behind us in the early morning mist I breathed a sigh of relief at escaping the rawness of this part of Africa. It was, indeed, a short and unique experience and a vastly different environment from the Durban I had left a week ago. At the time I wondered if this was just a taste of what was to come and how I would receive and deal with the many facets of life in South Africa if I stayed for long. In the ensuing years I was to experience the vastness and diversity of this great multi-tribal and multi-cultural land.

I suspect South Africa is the only country in the world with eleven official languages – Afrikaans, English plus nine African tribal languages.   more ...

  A Taste of Home

Rosemary Border Rabson
Columnists - Rosemary Border Rabson

Here in rural Burgundy you know where your food comes from. You see your vegetables and fruit growing, often in your own garden. In the field behind our house white Charolais cows suckle their calves or enjoy the attentions of a self-satisfied-looking bull. Local shops and market stalls offer tempting pâtés, terrines and other charcuterie, a bewildering variety of cheeses, and delectable tarts and cakes without an E number in sight. All this and wine too! It seems perverse, therefore, for expats and their visitors to crave the tastes of home; but some of us do.   more ...

  Like Waking From A Deep, Deep Sleep

Toni Hargis
Columnists - Toni Hargis

I saw an article yesterday reminding everyone that London’s iconic “Gherkin” building is ten years old. I’m not familiar with it at all. Oh, I know what it looks like, where it is and that its real name is its street address, 30, St. Mary Axe, but it’s not part of my London. I left in 1990, so the Gherkin, along with the Shard, the new St. Pancras station and many others (not to mention numerous new tube lines) weren’t there when I lived in London.

For four years of my working life I lived in Wimbledon, and these days, despite visiting various friends each year, I can barely navigate my way around. The train station had no shops, and the dreaded one-way system didn’t exist; the only thing that looks remotely familiar is the village High Street.   more ...

  Settling In At "Home"

Susanna Perkins
Columnists - Susanna Perkins

Those of you who’ve been following my column for a while know that, after 2-½ years in Panama, my husband and I have returned to the US.

It was a combination of family concerns and a job opportunity that brought us back.

Settling in, though, has been much harder than we expected. Harder even than getting established in Panama when we first moved there.

You see, we’re not back in our old stomping grounds in Orlando, where we lived for 25 years. Instead, we’re in South Carolina.   more ...

  Tales from a Spanish Village: Two Old Fools And Another Fiesta

Victoria Twead
Columnists - Victoria Twead

When we moved to our Spanish mountain village ten years ago, we soon became familiar with the families who lived here. All of them were friendly and charming and we enjoyed watching the kids grow as the years passed. Little Paco next door had a friend, Miguel, who once tapped on our door, eager to show us his white rabbit. The rabbit hopped around our living room and was only evicted when it threatened to nibble through the TV cable.

Every passing year is marked by the village fiesta in October and the weather has always been kind to us. This year, however, as fireworks exploded in the sky at midday to herald the start of the fiesta, we looked up to see ominous grey clouds gathering above the mountain tops.   more ...

  It Must be Nice Being an Expat Wife in South Africa

Marla Sink Druzgal
Columnists - Marla Sink Druzgal

“It must be nice being an expat wife. I mean, you get to have like a 2-year vacation, huh?”

I was surprised and a little more than hurt to hear these words from a South African I’ve gotten to know. But I tried to imagine my life from her perspective: she sees me several times a week at a local coffee shop, where I read, write, use my laptop or chat with local workers. I could see she thought my time in her country was one long tea party.

I considered asking her to actually read what I write, to see that the books, chats, observations and photography influence my work and I hope that I, in turn, influence my readers to see South Africa differently.   more ...

  A Month in the Life of an English Writer in Tuscany - September Reflections

June Finnigan
Columnists - June Finnigan

The continuing adventures of June Finnigan, her Man, and Farty Barty the cat.

Benvenuti to all my Loyal and New Followers

Big fat juicy grapes, noisy tractors and trailers thundering past the villa, the air full of the smell of grapes being crushed and the smoke of bonfires burning the debris. That just about sums up September in our little bit of the Chianti hills. Hang on a minute, I jest, there is actually a lot more to tell you! It was the very last week in September when I finally got a photo of a trailer full of grapes. I could hear the tractors coming towards the villa, but never quite got myself hung out the window in time with my camera ready.   more ...

  Expat in a New Country? My Top Ten Survival Tips

Nicole Webb
Columnists - Nicole Webb

I've been living in the middle of China for almost a month now.

It's my second expat posting, so while I'm not a newbie to "expat life", having bandied about the term 'culture shock' on this column many times, I've got to say, in all honesty I had rather naively forgotten how confronting moving to a new country could be.

Arriving in Xi'an, North West China last month, I knew no one - not a single soul, bar my husband and 3 year old daughter.
We arrived at the Westin Hotel - our new home, in the middle of a grey, wet night.   more ...

  Positivity In European Property Market, But Still Some Way To Go

Simon Hilton
Articles - Financial

by Simon Hilton, senior foreign exchange consultant at World First and official Expat Focus foreign exchange partner

Let’s start with a stat. Two thirds of Europeans say house prices are too expensive. That’s according to a survey of over 12,000 European consumers by ING Bank.

It’s very possible that you’re reading this in the UK, and wondering whether that 66% have ever taken a look a property prices in the UK, and if they know how lucky they are!   more ...

  10 Websites Expats Need To Visit Before Moving To Panama

Articles - Panama

Panama has become a popular expat destination in recent years. The reasons for moving here are varied. Some relocate to Panama for business, while some simply want a change of lifestyle. The country also attracts many retirees looking to make the most of their retirement years. For those thinking of moving to Panama, here are 10 websites that may be helpful.   more ...


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