Bloom where you are planted (Life the Expat way)
Are you contemplating a move abroad?
From culture shock to capable, from language barriers to lifelong friends, and from foreign land to the familiar. Being hurled into life in a strange new place can be daunting and overwhelming, but it can also be exciting and enjoyable.
Rich with tips on how to expat like a boss, Lasairiona McMaster’s “Bloom where you are planted”, takes you on a journey from packing up her life in Northern Ireland to jumping in at the deep-end as an expat in two countries.
An experienced expat from a decade of living abroad, her honest and uncensored tales of what to expect when you’re expatriating, are as funny as they are poignant, and as practical as they are heartfelt. If you’ve lived abroad, or you’re considering the move from local to expat. If you’re looking to rediscover yourself, or simply wondering how on earth to help your children develop into adaptable, resilient, and well-rounded people, this book has something for you.
As an expat myself twice over (UK-born but since 1992 I’ve lived in Ireland and then France), I couldn’t resist this book. It’s always fascinating to learn about other expats’ experiences and this one promised to be not only entertaining but helpful too.
I wasn’t disappointed on either account. The author has a lively, chatty style that’s a real pleasure to read. She shares her warts-and-all experience of expatdom, never hesitating to mention the grittier side of it and her own mistakes, but always aspiring herself and encouraging us to make the most of such an opportunity. She makes very valid points about how you need to be extra-organised and flexible, how you have to allow yourself settling-in time, how to cultivate friendships and cope with culture shock. Take your rose-coloured spectacles off before you embark on such an adventure.
Lasairiona takes a very practical and pragmatic approach. There will be good things, there will be bad things living the expat life – you have to take the rough with the smooth. Compromise is key, both with your partner and affected family members, and also with the country you move to. You have to realise that it will be better in some ways than in your native country, but almost certainly worse in others. But you need to take the overall view and not focus on the negative unduly.
I honestly think she covers everything you need to consider when contemplating life as an expat, from packing, making friends, coping with stressful foreigness, struggling to fit in, homesickness, issues that concern your Third Culture Kids (= nationals of one country through birth but living in another) and maintaining your sanity and identity. There’s a collection of tales from other expats at the end, which are enlightening and add a few more tips and tricks to absorb.
The book is a must-read for all expats, but even if you’re not now, never have been or ever will be an expat, you’ll still enjoy this book. No, actually you’ll love it! It’s not didactic – do this, do that – rather the instructive element emerges indirectly through the ordeals and general discussion that Lasairiona presents. You’ll laugh and cringe, but the over-riding emotion you’ll feel is admiration for this valiant author, who’s had the courage not only to embrace expatdom but share her ups and downs with us.
An excellent and very entertaining read.
About the author
Lasairiona McMaster grew up dreaming of an exciting life abroad, and, after graduating from Queens University, Belfast, that is exactly what she did – with her then-boyfriend, now husband of almost ten years. Having recently repatriated to Northern Ireland after a decade abroad spanned over two countries (seven and a half years in America and eighteen months in India), she now finds herself ‘home’, with itchy feet and dreams of her next expatriation. With a penchant for both travelling, and writing, she started a blog during her first relocation to Houston, Texas and, since repatriating to Northern Ireland, has decided to do as everyone has been telling her to do for years, and finally pen a book (or two) and get published while she tries to adjust to the people and place she left ten years ago, where nothing looks the same as it did when she left.
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