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Columnists > Diane Lemieux

Diane Lemieux
Diane Lemieux was born in Quebec and moved to live abroad for the first time at the age of three. That journey continued through 11 countries on five continents during which she collected 4 languages, two passports and several cultural identities. She started her career in international development but decided over 15 years ago to raise her two children and pursue her passion: writing. Today, she is author of four books including 'The Mobile Life: a new approach to moving anywhere' and 'Culture Smart! Nigeria'. For more information see her portfolio at or her blog.

Diane Lemieux

The Hague: An Ideal Place To Learn… English?

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday September 16, 2015 (00:46:08)   (1985 Reads)
Diane Lemieux
The Netherlands scored 23rd place on the Internations survey and 27th in the Expat Explorer ranking of best places for expats. The (less than tropical) weather and the Dutch language are two reasons for the lower rank. But in fact, the weather isn’t worse than London and this country is, curiously, an excellent place for foreigners to learn English.

Aura is from Colombia and her husband is Italian. When they moved to the Netherlands eight years ago, she spoke only Spanish and Italian. Her intent was to integrate: learn Dutch, put her kids in Dutch school. But life had other plans: the Dutch school didn’t work out for the children.    more ...

Diane Lemieux

3 Dynamic Labels For Mobile Women Who Don’t Trail

Posted by: Carole on Thursday June 04, 2015 (11:54:01)   (3751 Reads)
Diane Lemieux
Bernice landed herself a full time job with a Nigerian Internet start-up six months after arriving in Lagos; Susan was the (volunteer) 2015 Chairwoman of Small World, the massive yearly event that raises thousands of dollars for charities around Lagos; Gill came here with the intention of taking a break from her HR career, but is now knee deep in a master’s degree; Alexandra is a full-time, stay-at-home mom, busy raising her four children – which is exactly what she would be doing had they stayed in the Netherlands.    more ...

Diane Lemieux

How A Dutch Dream Came True In Nigeria

Posted by: Carole on Saturday April 04, 2015 (03:44:57)   (1735 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 ...

Diane Lemieux

‘My Way’ Is The Hard Way

Posted by: Carole on Tuesday March 03, 2015 (16:51:26)   (2221 Reads)
Diane Lemieux
In the back of the Land Cruiser, “Claire” and her husband rolled up to the gate of their apartment complex after a dinner out. The driver flashed the car’s lights. They waited. He tentatively honked. They waited. Finally, a guard opened the gate, zipping up his trousers.

Claire was incensed. This is Lagos – it is not for nothing that we have guards. So how were they doing any guarding if they were asleep? She had a good go at them and the next morning reported the incident to the estate manager.

Weeks later, despite her best efforts, nothing changed.

After 9 months living in Lagos, Claire was convinced that:
a) The guards wilfully disregarded the rules
b) The estate manager purposely ignored her complaints
c) The behaviour of both was a sign of gross incompetence    more ...

Diane Lemieux

World Peace - One Friendship At A Time

Posted by: Carole on Thursday February 05, 2015 (06:20:19)   (2738 Reads)
Diane Lemieux
Batool Accad was the only one of the five panellists at the workshop wearing a hijab: coral pink from head to toe that drew attention to her gentle face and striking grey eyes.

Though born in Syria, she grew up in Kuwait. Her parents were members of the well-educated Middle Eastern expatriate community giving her a cosmopolitan and international worldview. She married directly after high school and moved directly as an expat to Nigeria where she has lived her entire adult life.

The workshop, called What’s in it for Me?, was designed to help globally mobile women identify professional (whether paid or volunteer) activities in Lagos that contribute to their long-term personal goals.    more ...

Diane Lemieux

A Band Aid For Ebola

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday December 03, 2014 (06:23:15)   (2622 Reads)
Diane Lemieux
It’s a sad rendition of a song I never liked. I listened to it on YouTube when all the hoo-hah about the rehash of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ started up. Let’s just say that I’m glad I don’t live somewhere where I’d hear it endlessly on the radio.

But the song isn’t meant to be good, right? It is supposed to be a clarion call for raising funds for a well-deserved cause. And that it is. The UN was having trouble collecting enough for its war on Ebola, and this song quickly raised over USD 1.5 million. Where our governments weren’t willing to cough up tax dollars until Ebola patients started showing up in local hospitals, ordinary citizens showed solidarity with people of nations far away.    more ...

Diane Lemieux

Expat Partner Careers

Posted by: Carole on Sunday November 02, 2014 (04:57:25)   (2418 Reads)
Diane Lemieux
Having a paid job is not an economic necessity for some partners of expatriate employees: the salary and benefits earned by the working partner make dual incomes unnecessary.

Not having to work is, in a sense, a luxury, right?

Yes it is, except if you want to work. In this case, the international lifestyle can make it very difficult to find jobs and build up a career: the stability required to build up a network and climb your way up a ladder can seem like a luxury in itself.    more ...

Diane Lemieux

Uncertainty In Expatriation: The Case Of Ebola

Posted by: Carole on Friday October 03, 2014 (16:08:14)   (2300 Reads)
Diane Lemieux
On 25 July, news of the death from Ebola of one Liberian man in a private clinic in Lagos sent shockwaves through the country. The Liberian had withheld from the medical staff the fact that he had been in contact with Ebola sufferers in Liberia. As a result, several medical staff were contaminated, the hospital shut down and an isolation centre opened.

For Nigerians, the horror stories of devastation in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone were terrifying. Though Lagosians are more educated and the health services better developed than in the other countries, the potential devastation to the city’s 21 million, tightly packed residents was very real.    more ...

Diane Lemieux

It’s All About The People

Posted by: Carole on Monday September 08, 2014 (19:15:05)   (2754 Reads)
Diane Lemieux
You can go to the best party in the world, with your favourite music, the most succulent food in the most amazing venue, and still have a terrible time – if you are alone, for instance, or you have a fight with the person you are with. This is because the quality of our experience and the memory of any moment are shaped mainly by the people we share these events with. For example, I came back totally invigorated from a work-related dinner party that I was dreading the other night because of one inspirational conversation I had with a person I met that evening.    more ...

Diane Lemieux

Home Is Where My Hairdresser Is

Posted by: Carole on Friday August 01, 2014 (14:41:19)   (3100 Reads)
Diane Lemieux
Yesterday I went to a newly discovered hairdresser and came home elated beyond what should be normal for a simple haircut and highlights. It wasn’t just the fact that this was the first time in my three years on the Cote d’Azure that I didn’t walk out of the salon repeating ‘it will grow, it will grow, it will grow…’ It took me a while to figure out, but I finally realised that my ear-to-ear grin as I drove home was due to having finally found MY hairdresser.

Looking back on all the places I’ve lived, those where I can still specifically remember my hairdresser were locations where I felt the most settled. It isn’t that I’m hair-obsessed or particularly picky (at least I don’t think so). It is just that having a place I happily return to every other month gives me a solid anchor to the place I live.    more ...

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