Saturday, March 06, 2010

What an Expat Leaves Behind

Tonight at 10 p.m. a week ago, that is February the 27th I enjoyed a conference call with nine women from around the globe. When I dialed in on Skype to enter the conference call the first voices I heard were of American expats artist/writer Rose Deniz, who as initiator of dialogue2010 would chair the meeting, and founder of expat+HAREM Anastasia Ashman, who hosted the conversation.

For me this conference call was a first, and a little unsettling in that you could hear people "enter" what in my imagination was the foyer of a home or studio, while I myself sat alone at my desk, staring at the document on the computer, that held my answers, correct that, my notes in response to questions Rose Deniz posted Online previous week.

Meanwhile one after the other announced her arrival at the virtual meeting place. Another American expat Tara Agacayak, and Irish Catherine Yiğit said hi from Turkey. Sezin Koehler dialed in from early morning Prague, Karen Armstrong Quartarone from Italy, Elmira Bayrash from New York, Joslyn Eikenberg from Idaho and Catherine Bayar whom I thought to be in Turkey at the time, announced that she and I were both in the same timezone, for she called in from Berkeley, California.

Rose made the introductions and made sure every one of us got a two-minute moment to say something about living in a foreign country. The first question we focused on was what we left behind in order to make the most of our hybrid lifestyle. Hearing all the comments, I pictured thoughts about the expat hybrid lifestyle forming an audible cloud, similar to the tag or label cloud you see in the sidebar of many blogs.

What I jotted down while listening, but forgot to say: The opportunity to see the children of friends and cousins grow up, being part of their developments, that's what I left behind and missed out on.

What (notion) did you have to leave behind in order to live your life abroad to the fullest?
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