Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Ways to Keep in Touch When Living Abroad

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

By Chantal Panozzo

Flying home isnt always a solution

Flying home isn't always a solution

One of the hardest parts about living abroad is being far from friends and family. Mothers moan that they’ll never see their grandkids (never mind if they don’t even have grandkids). Fathers say that your mother misses you (after all, they would never admit missing you themselves). And you can barely keep up with all your family members, not to mention maintain your old friendships. So what’s an expat to do? Here are ways of keeping in touch that have worked for me.

One: Keep a blog

Many expats (i.e. moi) start blogs because they can no longer keep up with their email. A blog can be a great way to let friends and family know what you are up to. And if you don’t want the rest of the world to know it as well, it’s easy to password-protect your blog so only your intended audience reads it. To set up a blog, visit or

Two: Make time to talk

I try to call my family regularly. While we don’t set up actual times and dates, we usually talk about the same time each week. Often, local phone companies don’t offer competitive rates to foreign countries, but other methods, such as using calling cards or Skype, can make calling an affordable option for staying in touch. For calling cards, you’re already on the right site, For Skype, visit

Three: Join a networking site

This goes without saying, since millions of people are already on Facebook. But if you want to know what your friends and family are up to and vice versa, Facebook can be a powerful tool. Just don’t expect it to take the place of personal visits, calls, and emails. Sometimes I find that being friends with someone on Facebook means I’ll actually forgo the personal updates for something much more generic.

Another way to stay in touch is to create your own custom social network by using Ning. or

How do you stay in touch while living abroad?

Chantal Panozzo is a writer in Switzerland who has written for a variety of publications on two continents. She’s the author of One Big Yodel, a blog about life in Switzerland and moving abroad, and also discusses living abroad as a freelancer at Writer Abroad.

Friends Learning Croatian at a Cafe

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010


And the rooster goes Cockadoodle Doo!,” exclaimed Peter.

We all spoke English well, with the exception of Clementino who insisted we speak only in CROATIAN–after all, it was in taking our Croatian class that we met one another. And we were all living in Croatia yet didn’t speak the Croatian language.

One evening after class a few of my classmates and I decided it was time we got acquainted. We agreed to have coffee at the Cafe Luxor, an Egyptian-themed Italian restaurant located inside the Diocletian Palace. The cafe was luxurious and from the moment we stepped inside, we were embraced by the friendly waitress and consumed by the warmth of the cafe’s atmosphere. She took our coats and offered us a table, “I will give you a few moments to look through the menu,” she said in a polite and sweet tone. We looked around at the intoxicating interior design. Directly above us was a ceiling that resembled a small portion of the Sistine Chapel with angels floating on white fluffy clouds. “I wished I had my camera,” I thought. A big black piano sat in the corner of the restaurant as someone wooed us with Italian music.

Our after-class meet up was very international: Peter was Canadian, Clementino was from Italy while his girlfriend Visnja, was Croatian. John was American–from New York–and me, well, from Mexico. Quite a diverse group, right?

We ordered drinks and began a conversation in English but Clementino interrupted, “Govori Hrvatski Jesik. Speak Croatian!” Easier said than done and I could see it by the expression on everyone’s face that I wasn’t the only one who was worried. This was only our 3rd class. I wondered how to say, “This place is lovely.” But I was lost in translation. We all stared at one another for what seemed like an eternity with no one saying a word. Silence. Then we heard, “So Peter how are you adjusting to life here in Split?,” Visnja asked.

“Well, I really like the city…,” Peter answered, but he was quickly interrupted by Clementino who again shouted, “GOVORI HRVATSKI!” And after several more minutes of awkward silence, the strangest thing occurred.

John: What’s the sound of a dog, in Croatian?
Visnja: Vau-Vau
Peter: How about in Spanish?
Me: Guau-Guau
Clementino: Bau-Bau

This was fun. Adults at a cafe in Croatia making animal sounds over coffee. Then I got the question-asking bug and got in on the fun. “What about a rooster?,” I asked. Everyone got a cheerful glee in their eyes and took turns.

Visnja: Cucu-riku
Peter: cockadoodle- doo
Me: Kiki-ri-ki
Clementino: Keek-a-ree -kee

We roared with laughter as we exchanged other animal sounds. People at the cafe thought we were crazy and we gave them reason when we began to sing Old Macdonald with each of us sounding out animal sounds in our native tongue. It went a little something like this:

Old MacDonald had a farm, Ee i ee i oh!
And on that farm he had some dogs, Ee i ee i oh!
With a woof-woof here and a vau-vau there,

here a guau, there a bau, Everywhere a guau-guau.
Old MacDonald had a farm, Ee i ee i oh!

It was an exciting and fun evening although the natives thought we were intoxicated. But we didn’t want to stir trouble since we wanted to return to this cafe. We said good-night and good-bye and promised to do this again–minus the animal sounds but we couldn’t make any concrete promises. So the next time you encounter someone who doesn’t understand English very well, and you need to communicate with them, try animal sounds, it works every time! I’m not sure how that will work out in an emergency, but it’ll be fun finding out!

What silly things have you and your friends done while in public?

In addition to Affordable Calling Cards, Elisa blogs on a daily basis about her adventures of living abroad from the perspective of a non-croatian speaking latin woman, at her website Croatia.

Blogging from the Boot: The Best of 2009 FAQs

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

Earlier this week we announced Blogging from the Boot: The Best of 2009, the blogging contest that is open to any and all expat bloggers who lived in Italy in 2009. We’ve received a great response in the first few days and have been asked a few questions that could be helpful to other expats.

Blogging From the Boot: The Best of 2009 FAQs

Q: How many posts can I submit?

A: There is no limit to the number of posts you can submit in any category. The categories are listed here.

Q: Do I submit my own posts or can I submit posts written by other expats in Italy?

A: You can nominate any post that was written by an expat in Italy and published in 2009. So, if your best blogging friend is a stellar writer with heaps of interesting posts on her blog-go ahead and nominate them. You will use the same entry form to nominate as you would to submit your own posts.

Q: Does the post I submit have to have been published on my blog?

A: It has to have been published on a blog, not necessarily yours. If you wrote a guest post on another blog that fits in one of the categories, feel free to submit it, as well.

Q: Are there prizes for the winners?

A: Oh yea … the first place winner in each category will receive local Perugian chocolate and a banner to display on their websites.

Q: How is the contest being judged?

A: Affordable Calling Cards has secured five Expat in Italy judges who will choose finalists for each category. On February 1 the finalists will be announced on this website.

Between Monday, February 1-Friday, February 5 (at 5:00 PM, Italy time) visitors to this site will vote for their favorite entry in each category. Winners will be announced on Monday, February 8, 2010.

If you have any other questions regarding Blogging From the Boot: The Best of 2009, you can send us an email at

We look forward to reading your entries!

October Wrap-Up

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Here’s a summary of what’s been going on this month on a few of the expat blogs that I follow:

My favorite post from Voices in Español (not an expat blog exactly, but an excellent blog on the Spanish language and has a great podcast): The most annoying phrase in Spanish. Who knew there was a phrase that foreign speakers tend to say that annoys Spanish speakers? I won’t ruin in and tell you what it is– you have to go look. ;) There is also a great post about the phrase “It’s all Greek to me” in English and how that is translated into different languages. For some languages, the incomprehensible language is Chinese, and for some, it’s Spanish!

Frank Alameda makes and sells his wonderful brand of cookies throughout Buenos Aires. His cookies and his blog are called Sugar & Spice, where he talks about his business and raising his children here in BsAs. This month, Frank talks about his 7-year old comparing the life expectancy of a whale to that of Michael Jackson, updates us about where his cookies can now be bought in the city, and a list of other expat entrepreneurs in Buenos Aires.

Paddy in BA is now no longer in Buenos Aires, he’s in Asia, blogging about his adventures hiking in the Philippines with a few side notes about keeping his body hair in check. He always writes with his wry sense of Irish humor.

Tracy has been blogging about love and relationships over on Last Tango in Buenos Aires. She also has a book coming out, part of which can be read online. Congrats, Tracy!

And last but certainly not least, you MUST see Cate Kelly’s photos of the South American Sumo Wrestling tournament that recently took place. amazing. She’s an awesome photographer, and chooses unique subjects.

Julia Evans wrote this article where she blogs about her life as an expat.  She also writes a personal blog Evans’ Gateabout living as an American expat in Buenos Aires, where she lives with her husband.  Comments on both blogs welcome!

Even More Chilean Bloggers

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

I originally started blogging to replace the mass e-mails I’d been sending to family and friends detailing life after the big move to Chile. It seemed like a good way to let people keep up with what I was doing without cluttering their inboxes. As it turned out, barely anyone I actually knew read my blog – or if they did they never commented. But thanks to the blog, I met several fellow gringas in Santiago, some of whom have become close friends. I’ve also found other people whose writing I really enjoy, even if we haven’t met in person quite yet.

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Cachando Chile, written by Margaret Snook, is one of the purest Chile-focused blogs I read. Margaret’s from the US but has lived here for years (18 if I’m not mistaken!), and she’s got some interesting insights onto both the little and big quirks of life in Chile. Plus, if you like her style, she’s now got a radio show on Santiago Radio, and you can listen online.

Bearshapedsphere, brainchild of Eileen Smith, is well-written, well-photographed, and just plain funny. Eileen’s post on 5 places she’s biked from Santiago cracked me up, although I am very glad I didn’t have to take those trips!

Kyle Hepp is back in Chile – yay! I suppose I should add that this is the first Chile blogger I met, and she just so happens to be both my wedding photographer and an honorary bridesmaid. All bias aside, however, the girl’s got some good stories about Chile and the photos are AMAZING.

Abby chronicles her adventures as an English teacher in Abby’s Line. Although I’ve never taught English, I’m in the minority among gringas, so if you’re considering a move down here and want to get an idea of the lifestyle, definitely check out this blog.

Leigh of Crooked Compass is a less regular blogger, but I found her latest post about birth control in Chile really interesting.

Rounding out my list is Colchaguino, written by property agent, house remodeler and funny Brit Matt. He’s recently moved from the coastal city of Valparaiso to the wine country town of Santa Cruz and shares the occasional ensuing confusion. Plus he can help you buy a winery!

That should be enough to get you started on some Chile blogs, but if you’re looking for more, check out my blog roll. And if you find a new one – or are yourself a Chile blogger who I haven’t met – please let me know!

Emily Williams is a US gringa living in Santiago, Chile. She writes about expat life at and on her personal blog, Don’t Call Me Gringa, and loves hearing from readers!

Some of My Favorite Blogs in Italy

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

by Tina Ferrari

I’m fortunate that I live in the era of blogging.  When I first decided I wanted to live in Italy years ago, I joined Expats in Italy and subscribed to every blog I could find written by Italian expats.  I was thirsty to learn as much as I could about Italy from a resident’s perspective.  Blogs are a great source of information for wannabe expats. They provide anecdotes about daily living, advice on things to do in your city of choice, and information on how to avoid a cultural faux pas.  I’ve compiled a list of a few of my favorite Italy expat blogs, and I hope they can help you as you plan your next adventure.

Bleeding Espresso. Michelle lives in Calabria, where she is a writer and the mom of two dogs and three kids (baby goats).  I’ve been following her blog for as long as I can remember.  She offers recipes, great stories about life in her beautiful southern-Italian town, and the most adorable dog and goat pictures you could find.  An inspiring, positive presence on the internet, much like my fellow ACC blogger, Cherrye, who also writes from Calabria!

Calabrisella Mia. Staying with a Calabria theme, Lulu’s blog is a delicious archive of all things Calabrese. It’s so rich and descriptive I keep thinking she is in Italy and not Canada! I’m looking forward to what she has to write when she finally moves to the bel paese. She recently got her Italian citizenship, like me. Would you hurry up and get here, Lulu?

Art and Barb Live in Italy. Art and Barb are a wonderful couple living in Umbria, the region where I live.  I’ve also been following them since my expat wannabe days.  When I left Umbria for a while (a few years) so I could have my Buenos Aires adventures, I checked back to their blog frequently for memories of spicy olive oil and sagre in the green heart of Italy.

Living in Florence, by Melinda Gallo. Melinda is my Italy expat idol.  She lives in my favorite city, and she lives a beautiful life that she created for herself.  She has always been one of my favorite writers on the internet, with wonderfully written pieces on various aspects of her daily life, from bureaucratic adventures to walks around her beloved city.  Her photographs are inspiring and her blog’s design is easy on the eye.  Her blog is a wonderful reference for both armchair travelers and those who are planning a move to Italy.

Figs and Lemons. If you think life in Italy is all roses and lollipops, think again: it’s actually figs and lemons.  Charlie lives in a quaint seaside town that shall remain unnamed, and I have been following her for ages as well.  Her blog is beautiful and entertaining, providing you with delicious photographs that your eyes want to eat up, and a realistic view on life in a small coastal town.

What expat blogs do you like to read?

Tina Ferrari is a translator, writer and tango dancer based in Perugia, Italy. She writes at as well as on her own blog, Tina Tangos. Comments are always welcome!

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