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June Finnigan

Expat Focus Columnists

(meet all our columnists here)


June Finnigan

June Finnigan

A Month In The Life Of An English Writer In Tuscany - March Reflections

by June Finnigan, Friday April 17, 2015 (20:16:11)   (226 Reads)
June Finnigan
The continuing adventures of June Finnigan, her Man, and Farty Barty the cat.

Now you probably think that life in the Chianti Hills in Tuscany is very quiet and relaxing. Well, sometimes it is, that is as long as we are not being shaken by an Earthquake, which is so violent that you sleep walk out of the villa and take refuge in the car! Yes, the first week of March greeted us with an almighty rumble and a nerve racking hour sitting in the car, waiting for things to settle down. When we gingerly returned to the villa we were lucky enough to find only little bits of masonry on the landing that had fallen out from between the ceiling tiles.

Then the following night the tempest hit. Horrible strong cold winds that rattled the shutters and brought down trees.   more ...

Nicole Webb

Nicole Webb

Why Every Expat Needs A Blind Date

by Nicole Webb, Wednesday April 15, 2015 (20:48:34)   (488 Reads)
Nicole Webb
Those dam butterflies in my stomach… they're persistent buggers!

I try to catch my breath, inhaling, deeply… as our car crawls slowly in and out of lanes, jammed with thick Saturday evening traffic.

We are late. Naively forgetting about the headache of weekend traffic in China, we've severely underestimated how long it will take to get to our destination, normally a 20 minute drive across town.

This was going to make it harder to arrive 'inconspicuously' let alone the nagging fact, the small, subtle bunch of flowers we'd ordered for the birthday girl was China-sized, China-decorated. This means big and garish. Even less opportunity to slide in, in low key style. I breathe.   more ...

James King

James King

South Africa Diaries: Part 8 – Back For Good

by James King, Sunday April 12, 2015 (12:04:54)   (159 Reads)
James King
Cutting the ties

On October 22nd 1995, at the ripe old age of 53 and following a two week cheap package holiday in Malta, I left England’s green and pleasant land for a new life. My destination was Cape Town, a city I had grown to love over the preceding four years on several short visits and longer stays. In anticipation of planting some new roots and finding a new home I had packed and stored my worldly goods and chattels at my mother’s home in Nailsea near Bristol. My travel bags were stuffed to the gunnels with as much as British Airways would allow without requiring mid-air refueling and I was off with no intention of ever returning.   more ...

Ivanka Di Felice

Ivanka Di Felice

My Love Affair With Italy Begins

by Ivanka Di Felice, Thursday April 09, 2015 (20:55:52)   (149 Reads)
Ivanka Di Felice
I FELL IN LOVE WITH Italy the minute I spotted that peach-colored swing coat in Florence more than twenty years ago. Though it was ruinously expensive, I had to possess it. Being nineteen at the time certainly helped me decide. I handed over my MasterCard, put on the coat, and pranced out onto the beckoning cobblestone streets of Florence. This coat was indeed so lovely that it caught not only my eye, but the eye of Canada Customs as well. Hence, the coat’s price tag became even more preposterous.

Nonetheless, from that moment on, I was enchanted with a country that could produce such an exquisite item. Thus began my long-standing love affair with Italy.

My next inevitable step was to marry an Italian, for Italians, too, possessed an enchanting air. They were dark, handsome, and stylish beyond any North American’s dreams.   more ...

Dr Allana Da Graca

Dr Allana Da Graca

Living Abroad - Take One Day At A Time

by Dr Allana Da Graca, Wednesday April 08, 2015 (19:48:47)   (330 Reads)
Dr. Allana Da Graca
I feel like I have been on an extended vacation. It has been a month and a half since I have been in Lisbon, Portugal and my sense of visitation has evolved.

I always knew that I wanted to live abroad. The idea of walking by the river and smelling pastries from the local bakery was something I always dreamed of. I cannot tell you how many international travel shows I watched to understand the plight of those who dared to move abroad. The dream of eating pastries, touring historic neighborhoods, tasting an array of seafood, and tasting fresh cheese has been a delightful experience. In addition to this, my Portuguese greeting has been perfected and I am able to interact with some of the local vendors.   more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

Shopping For Expats In France

by Rosemary Border Rabson, Wednesday April 08, 2015 (18:48:19)   (156 Reads)
Rosemary Border Rabson
We emigrated to the Morvan in 2005 from rural Suffolk. By the time we left, shopping in our nearest town, Woodbridge, was no fun at all. The town had for various reasons – rapacious rents, scarce and costly parking, and a retail park a few miles away - lost many retail businesses. Corbigny, 10 minutes' drive from our new home, was a revelation. It still is.

Parking is plentiful and free and browsing is a joy. I have the feeling that this town is 40 years behind the times (thank goodness!). Corbigny bustles, except on Mondays, when almost everything closes to make up for Saturday opening, and lunchtimes – most businesses – apart from eateries, of course - close from noon until 2 pm. The long lunch break has always been observed, but the Monday closing has a lot to do with les trente-cinq heures .   more ...

Derek Knight

Derek Knight

Clang, Clang, Clang Went The Trolley

by Derek Knight, Tuesday April 07, 2015 (19:21:42)   (191 Reads)
Derek Knight
An exciting new development has started here in St Louis, as work on the Delmar Loop Trolley gets underway. I’m sure there have been other films set here, but “Meet me in St Louis” is certainly the most famous. Like many of these films that “everybody has seen” it seemed to pass me by entirely, and it was only recently that I actually got to see the whole film. Within this famous film, perhaps the most notable tune was the Trolley Song, taking excited people to the Great Exhibition in Forest Park, and the new trolley will also go there, recreating a scene not seen here since the 1960’s. This new development set me thinking about an interesting discovery I made about this city.   more ...

Diane Lemieux

Diane Lemieux

How A Dutch Dream Came True In Nigeria

by Diane Lemieux, Friday April 03, 2015 (22:44:57)   (137 Reads)
Diane Lemieux
Micky Nijboer strides through the Saddle Club with contagious enthusiasm. ‘Let me show you around this little piece of paradise.’

The 9-hectare oasis lies in the pounding heart of Lagos – one of the world’s most densely crowded megacities. Outside the perimeter wall, car horns, street hawkers and truck motors screech and roar. But tranquillity blankets the horse-riding club this Wednesday morning. A gardener splashes water on the grass surrounding the white picketed riding arena; birds call out from a riot of tropical trees. The mini forest shelters two deer, a family of Grey Duikers (miniature antelopes), wild monkeys and squirrels.   more ...

Ivanka Di Felice

Ivanka Di Felice

Close Encounters Of The Fowl Kind

by Ivanka Di Felice, Tuesday March 31, 2015 (20:44:47)   (2834 Reads)
Ivanka Di Felice
As we drive down the winding mountain road, I see the national military police up ahead, signaling us to stop. David hits the brakes of the ancient BMW 320. The sudden jolt sets off a round of clucking from the chickens in the backseat. The bamboo stalks roped to the car’s roof slide forward but don’t fall off.

“Documenti,” orders the carabiniere with a sinister glare.

David reaches for the insurance papers in the glove compartment and hands them to the officer, who carefully examines them.   more ...

Clara Wiggins

Clara Wiggins

Accompanying Spouse: What Is It?

by Clara Wiggins, Wednesday March 25, 2015 (23:50:18)   (443 Reads)
Clare Wiggins
I’m basing this month’s Expat Focus blog on one of the search terms that someone used to find my blog – the Expat Partner’s Survival Guide. I love it when I’m allowed to see search terms (unfortunately it seems pretty random as to which you can and can’t see – Google and Wordpress mostly want to conspire against me and not let me see any of them…). Some of them make perfect sense, like this one, and “why is travelling with kids so important”. I get confused by others – why did someone who asked “Indian real mom” end up on my blog? I am not Indian and I don’t really write about either mums or moms. I guess I am real – but I’m not sure if I am “real”!
Anyway, Accompanying Spouse What is it? has been my favourite so far because it makes perfect sense. And because it is a question I have so far failed to answer on my blog, despite the fact that it is aimed squarely at accompanying spouses. Or trailing spouses. Or even expat partners, if you like.   more ...

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