I stumbled on a website called Expat Women earlier today and now here it is after midnight, and I just…can’t… stop… clicking…
I know you know what I mean.
It started innocently enough, on a page called City Experiences. I clicked into the “Cairo” link and found a helpful (and surprisingly comprehensive) overview from an expat – where to live, household help, utilities, local employment, transportation, etc. Nice.
Well, that was easy – let’s kick it up a notch…ah, here’s Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I learn that the typical rent in popular expat areas runs between $950 and $2000, it’s easy to own a car, gyms are expensive, and that the tap water is supposedly safe to drink, but everyone filters or buys bottled. English is widely used, and a live-in maid can make your life easier for $120 to $250/month.
I also learn that, after three C-sections, the author says she can personally vouch for the hospitals. Did I mention these profiles are comprehensive?
I'm excited - I want to read about Mozambique, Hyderabad, Sri Lanka. But this virtual tome deserves more time than I have right now, so I set a bookmark, and on the way out I spot the interviews with expat entrepreneurs.
One woman runs a touring club in Italy, with a fleet of vintage 1950’s and 1960’s Fiat 500 cars. Another started a greeting card business in Venezuela. A lady in the UK publishes a family magazine, and a very busy-sounding American in Spain runs a massive business networking group, in addition to her own PR firm. These women are not messing around.
At some point – I’m out of control now, completely lost - I enroll for the Expat Women newsletter and qualify for a free e-book called Expat Women Winning Stories. I can’t recommend something I haven’t actually tried out, so one click later I’m reading funny, interesting tales (though not necessarily top shelf literature) that deserve a shout out for their honest approach and good-humored revelations.
Several stories later, I turn around and spot a Stories & Blogs link. Blogs! How can I leave now?
There’s Desperate Hotel Wife – Life Behind the Glamour and her stories about hiding from rampaging mobs in Bali. Something called Beth, Abroad – the Nibbling Marmot Goes Expatriate, reporting from Cambodia. Pickings are slim for the Caribbean (though I’m drawn to the family of eight missionaries from Minnesota working in Haiti, where I once visited a Club Med, oh so many years ago.) There’s nothing from Tuvalu, Nauru or Kiribati, but nine women write from Saudi Arabia, and a whopping 68 find time to tell us about the weather, the food, the traffic, and the accents in the UK.
I’m signing off now – really I am. But I’ll be back. And next time I’m bringing trail mix.