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Rosemary Border Rabson

Expat Focus Columnists

(meet all our columnists here)


Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

'Paperasserie' - The French Equivalent Of Red Tape

by Rosemary Border Rabson, Wednesday October 01, 2014 (10:23:18)   (2 Reads)
Rosemary Border Rabson
After nine years living in rural Burgundy, we are philosophical about paperasserie – the French equivalent of red tape. French bureaucracy has an appalling reputation, but some French paperasserie is actually easier to deal with than British red tape. Let's have the good news first.

John makes our joint tax return online here, thanks to our friendly tax inspector, Monsieur Picy. When we first arrived in France, M Picy gave us several hours of his time in the imposingly named Hôtel des Impôts at Clamecy, patiently going through the implications of the double taxation treaty intended to ensure expats did not pay twice: a subject dear to our hearts, although the documentation does not make for riveting reading. While our dog dozed under his desk, M Picy read aloud from his files.   more ...

Linda A. Janssen

Linda A. Janssen

An Extended Stay

by Linda A. Janssen, Friday September 26, 2014 (09:25:33)   (299 Reads)
Linda A. Janssen
Let me be frank: repatriation is harder than you think. I’m learning firsthand that when it comes to repatriating, there are many hurdles to be faced: some are expected, others not. We’re busy building a new life in what is assumed to be a familiar place in which it’s easy to navigate supposedly known social, political and cultural climates.

Yet one of the most difficult aspects is dealing with the thought that our days of living in another country and culture may well be over. To some this may be welcome news, as we embrace the knowledge that we finally can put down roots, establish friendships and become part of our newfound community, all without the ticking clock of an expiration date lurking in the back of our mind.   more ...

Susanna Perkins

Susanna Perkins

The Culture Shock Of Repatriation To The USA

by Susanna Perkins, Saturday September 20, 2014 (07:52:26)   (274 Reads)
Susanna Perkins
“Repatriation is a bitch,” I’d been warned. Somehow I suspected it might be.

After two and a half years in Las Tablas, Panama, my husband and I and our two dogs arrived back in the US. It wasn’t something we really planned on doing, but some opportunities opened up, the stars aligned, and here we are.

We’re in South Carolina. It’s our first experience living in the “real” South. (Florida isn’t the “South” in any meaningful way, it’s only “south” because of an accident of geography.)

In some odd ways, our time in Panama was good preparation for what we’re finding here.   more ...

Susanna Perkins

Susanna Perkins

The Culture Shock Of Repatriation

by Susanna Perkins, Saturday September 20, 2014 (07:51:59)   (265 Reads)
“Repatriation is a bitch,” I’d been warned. Somehow I suspected it might be.

After two and a half years in Las Tablas, Panama, my husband and I and our two dogs arrived back in the US. It wasn’t something we really planned on doing, but some opportunities opened up, the stars aligned, and here we are.

We’re in South Carolina. It’s our first experience living in the “real” South. (Florida isn’t the “South” in any meaningful way, it’s only “south” because of an accident of geography.)

In some odd ways, our time in Panama was good preparation for what we’re finding here.   more ...

Toni Hargis

Toni Hargis

The Special Relationship

by Toni Hargis, Tuesday September 16, 2014 (22:50:09)   (301 Reads)
Toni Hargis
At some point during World War 2, the United Kingdom and the United States of America put aside their previous military differences and announced that theirs was a “special relationship”. In truth it’s been a rather tortuous rivalry ever since they first chucked our tea overboard, but what the heck; let bygones be bygones. Only recently we saw Hillary Clinton (as Secretary of State) pointing out that the relationship “stands the test of time”, even though said “time” has only been a matter of decades. Now, various polls show that a majority of Brits think the USA is quite good, and Americans return the compliment with similar, positive numbers.   more ...

Marla Sink Druzgal

Marla Sink Druzgal

There Is No Man In The Moon In South Africa

by Marla Sink Druzgal, Tuesday September 16, 2014 (14:09:55)   (922 Reads)
Marla Sink Druzgal
2014 saw its final supermoon of the year. A “supermoon” of course, is when a full moon, or new moon, happens at the same time the moon is closest to earth during its orbit, appearing so large it can seem as though it sits on the horizon. It’s simply mesmerizing when you have a clear view.

Pretoria affords that view consistently. Before moving here I never saw so much of the night sky. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is not far behind the infamous Seattle, Washington in number of overcast days per year. My home there is beautiful with its changing seasons and green on green rolling hills, but skygazers like me had to hold our breath for a chance at a clear sky. We learned to find our passion in enjoying the way all those clouds cast an eerie glow on the night of a harvest supermoon.   more ...

Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead

Tales from a Spanish Village: Two Old Fools And Wildlife Photos

by Victoria Twead, Monday September 15, 2014 (22:11:29)   (497 Reads)
Victoria Twead
After 10 years in our Spanish mountain village, we know what to expect in summer. The village fills up with people we haven't seen for a year as families arrive to escape the heat of the cities. Children, a foot taller than last year, run wild in the streets and the jasmine-scented air is heavy with the sound of our neighbours' guitar music.

In summer, the swallows wheel high overhead, snatching insects on the wing. House martins return to claim and refurbish the nests under the eaves that they use every year.

This year has been slightly different, and we don't know why. The swallows arrived, but there were far fewer than previous years, and our house martin pair never showed up at all.   more ...

June Finnigan

June Finnigan

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

by June Finnigan, Monday September 15, 2014 (21:23:45)   (398 Reads)
June Finnigan
The continuing adventures of June Finnigan, her Man, and Farty Barty the cat.

Benvenuto to all my Loyal and New Followers

Here in Beautiful Tuscany, August is the month for winding down a bit. Nevertheless, it remains busy from a tourist point of view, despite the fact that eighty percent of shops, restaurants and café bars are closed as the owners disappear off to Il Mare (the seaside) or the mountains. It’s a peculiar thing, Italians never think to take advantage of the potential trade as they are too driven by tradition, and in August off they go again. It is particularly evident once Ferragosta begins on the fifteenth, the celebration of the summer’s toil before the Vendemia (grape harvest).   more ...

James King

James King

South Africa Diaries: PART 3 – Launching the Transkei Lottery [Dec 1990]

by James King, Monday September 15, 2014 (18:55:03)   (367 Reads)
James King
Score-a-lot

Mvezo village, Umtata, is the birthplace of Nelson Mandela who was only released from prison in February 1990. Nine months later the main square in the centre of Umtata had been decked out with gazebos, a massive stage had been erected, loads of bunting and enough plastic chairs to seat the nation were in place. This was a big occasion and there was feverish excitement over the launch of the Transkei lottery ‘SCORE-A-LOT’. Hundreds of black and white footballs, the Score-a-lot signature, were placed around the square ready for the ‘kick-off’.   more ...

Helen Aurelius Haddock

Helen Aurelius Haddock

When Living The Dream Needs A Helpx Hand

by Helen Aurelius Haddock, Thursday September 11, 2014 (15:09:29)   (2370 Reads)
Helen Aurelius Haddock
I moved to France over ten years ago, as part of the burgeoning army of those who wanted to set up home in a country where we had spent many wonderful holidays. I came with my eleven year old daughter, with my husband doing a weekly commute to London , and my elder daughter studying at university. We had a lovely new home, projects a-plenty, paid work and a wonderful lifestyle.

What could possibly go wrong?

Simply put, six years ago I was diagnosed with a genetic condition called Hemochromatosis.   more ...

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