Tuesday, December 06, 2011

I'm not a tourist, I live here

It is a funny old life, being an expat. I suppose when you tell people you are an expat it gives the impression that you have chosen a life of fun, excitement and adventure by choosing to wear the expat hat, when in some (namely my own) cases you were simply offered an opportunity to leave your country of birth and hopefully ended up somewhere better. I came to Baltimore, USA eleven years ago without much of a clue as to where I was moving to. The locals told me 'Baltimore grows on you' which sounded much like an unwanted wart on the sole of my foot! But I have to say I did grow to love Baltimore more with every passing year. It has a real community feel to it and pretentious people are thankfully few and far between. In fact, I was reading through the The Expat Explorer survey (The largest survey of its kind. In 2011 over 3000 expats answered questions relating to their finances, quality of life and even what it's like to raise children abroad) and must say it's a really fascinating read.

It has a neat little function where you can compare and contrast two countries to see which one is the better deal. I typed in the UK and the US and you can see the results here. It did feel great to find out that in most ways I was doing better in the USA. I also have still not gotten over the fact that people here say 'has anyone ever told you you look like Kate Winslet?' The answer is 'No, well no one outside the USA.' The Americans here hold the Brits in high esteem are always gushing about my 'cute British accent.' I don't want to burst their bubble by saying, 'Yeah I am pretty unique, there are only about 60 million of us back home!' What I'm saying is if you become an expat you become a somewhat unique person in your host country especially in a smaller place like Baltimore where I have only met maybe 30 other Brits.

But what about the rest of the expat world? If you are an expat check out the survey and see how your new country compares to your old and if it is doing better then give yourself  a slap on the back.

And remember, if you are a bored expat sitting by the pool idly fiddling with your iPad that our fabulous book Cocktails at Naptime - A Woefully Inadequate Guide To Early Motherhood by Gillian Martin and Emma Kaufmann is now available for download worldwide. It can be downloaded to an Apple device such as an iPad or iPhone at the ibookstore here.

The book is a laugh out loud guide to the first year after birth and is the funniest book about childbirth since the New Testament. So what are you waiting for? Download it now! And if you want to know how two authors wrote a book in cyberspace go here.