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A Traveler In The Foreign Service: The Best Foreign Service Blogs, by Dave Seminara.

Guest Post by Dave Seminara

smoking huge joint womanThe World Wide Web is saturated with amateurish blogs created by people who’d be lucky to command the devoted readership of their immediate family members, let alone the wider public. There are scores of blogs managed by Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) and while many of them are worth reading, some aredownright bizarre. This post will steer you toward some Foreign Service related blogs that are well worth your time.
I started this series nine months ago to help people get a better understanding of what life in the U.S. Foreign Service is like. Many of the posts have been about my experiences but I’ve also introduced readers to an intrepid, single female diplomat fresh off of tours in Syria and Pakistan, a diplomatic courier, a USAID Foreign Service Officer currently serving in Afghanistan and others. But spend some time at the sites listed below to get a flavor of what it’s like to represent the U.S. Government in The Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Bolivia, Pakistan and dozens of other exotic locales.

One major caveat here is that FSOs have to be careful what they write because free speech only takes you so far in the precarious, uber-cautious world of government service. Most FSOs have disclaimers on their sites warning that the views expressed are their own, but many still tend to steer clear of tackling political issues or anything controversial.Peter Van Buren, a now retired diplomat who wrote “We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People,” was effectively driven out of the Foreign Service partially because he posted a link to a cable on WikiLeaks and made some disparaging remarks, which he later apologized for, about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on his website.There’s no doubt that his experience has had a chilling effect across the board, so visit the sites below to get the low-down on the Foreign Service lifestyle and the travel opportunities, not the dirty underbelly of how diplomacy plays out overseas.Some of the blogs below contain little, if any biographical info, and I wasn’t able to read each one in its entirety, so my apologies in advance if my impressions of these blogs below miss the mark. That said, I would invite the authors of these fine sites to tell us more about themselves, if they dare, in the comments section.DiplodunitDomani Spero has no U.S. government connection and thus has the freedom to write about the world of diplomacy without having to worry about his career. Diplodunit is as close as you’ll find to one-stop shopping for a candid look at what’s going on in the Foreign Service community.

Adventures in Good Countries- Getting Along In The Foreign Service

I love this blog. The author, apparently a single female public diplomacy officer who, “doesn’t date outside the visa waiver program,” blogs with style and passion about life in Japan, Pakistan, Jordan and elsewhere, coping with Multiple Sclerosis and whatever else pops into her head. How can you not like a writer who offers advice to protesters on how to construct a good effigy? (“Don’t just throw something together with the rationale that you’re only going to burn it anyway – take some pride in your work.”)

We Meant Well

You might not agree with Peter Van Buren but you will want to read his blog, which is sometimes offensive but never boring.

Third Culture Children

This blog, which details the lives of a family of five living in Recife, Brazil, La Paz, Bolivia and elsewhere, is one of the very best Foreign Service related sites out there. It’s a particularly good resource for parents who are wondering what the overseas experience will be like for their children.

amy gottlieb usaidAmy Gottlieb’s Photography & Blog

Gottlieb is a doctor and a USAID FSO currently serving in Vietnam. Her portraits from Jamaica, Nepal, Vietnam, South America, Africa and beyond are as good as any you’ll find anywhere.

Adventures Around the World- A Foreign Service Officer’s Tales of Life Abroad

The author of this refreshingly candid and well-written blog is currently in Kabul and has previously served in Iraq and Nepal. Here’s how she described the “honeymoon” period at a new post: “The honeymoon period is the time frame after moving to a foreign country where the excitement of being somewhere new overshadows certain harsh realities of living in a foreign country. People burning piles of trash in the street give the place ‘character’ and bargaining with a taxi driver is part of the ‘adventure.'”

Worldwide Availability

This is a stunning photo blog from an American diplomat who was born on a farm in China and is currently serving in South Korea. Visiting this site is the next best thing to booking a ticket to Seoul. Also, for those who are curious to know how long it takes to join the Foreign Service, take a look at his instructive personal timeline for some clues.

Wanderings of a Cheerful Stoic

Anyone who features a photo of themselves (I presume) with a Gambian poached rat on their homepage is all right by me. This is a blog from a FSO posted in Conakry, Guinea, a place where “you tend to find yourself without a really specific reason.”

The Slow Move East- Thoughts on Being an Expatriate

Hannah Draper, a FSO currently serving in Libya, might be a “Type-A bureaucrat who professionally pushes papers in the Middle East,” but her writing is compulsively readable.

Where in the World am I? Notes from the Streets of Hyderabad, India

A FSO in Hyderabad who previously served in Burundi blogs about food and life overseas with gusto.

Cross Words- A Blog About Writing and Anything Else That Comes to Mind

Ted Cross, a FSO currently living in Budapest who apparently just signed up for Facebook last week (Friend him!), tells us on his homepage that his “dream is to be a published author.” I like someone who isn’t afraid to tell the world what he wants. He’s into fantasy and science fiction, neither of which interests me, but his blog is unique and his writing is lucid.

Four Globetrotters- The (Most Likely) Incoherent Ramblings of a Sleep-Deprived Single Mother Living Overseas with her Trio of Kiddos

Anyone who can pull off being a single mom in the Foreign Service is someone I want to meet. This blog, written by a former Foreign Service brat, isn’t nearly as incoherent as advertised.

Beau Geste, Mon Ami- The Chronicle of my Journey to and through The Foreign Service

Even a quick breeze through this visually appealing blog will give you an idea of how varied and interesting life in the Foreign Service can be. If nothing else, do not miss the photos of the tribal warriors in Papua New Guinea.

Zvirdins at Large- Jamie and Andrew’s Excellent Adventures

If you want a slice of life from the Marshall Islands, this is the place to go. I love this blog but I couldn’t bring myself to click into the video entitled “Pig Shooting” in a post on “Pig Butchering.” Yikes.

Let me know in the comments section if you think I’ve missed any great FSO-related blogs and if you’re the author of ones of the sites mentioned above, tell us a bit about yourself.

Read more from “A Traveler in the Foreign Service” here.

(Photos courtesy of Amy Gottlieb)

Read more from “A Traveler in the Foreign Service” here.

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This year’s April issue of the Foreign Service Journal (FSJ, April 2012) discussed the Family Member Employment, and the search for meaningful work overseas. Reading through the whole edition, you’ll find great stories about living and working as a Foreign Service spouse. Several FS spouses shared their experiences and impressions regarding working overseas. It’s an honor to be one of the contributors to this edition. Congratulations to all who contributed to that month’s issue. Here’s the link to another FS blogger, also sharing her impressions about family member employment.

Giving expats a hand

A Traveler In The Foreign Service: A ‘Trailing Spouse’ Speaks Out (gadling.com)

Career options overseas (anagentswife.wordpress.com)

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7 Comments

Posted by on March 12, 2014 in expat, foreign service, TRAVEL

 

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2013 in review – according to the WP Stats Monkeys!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 49,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 18 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on December 31, 2013 in BOLIVIA, foreign service, TRAVEL

 

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What’s up with 1,337?

 

ImageSo, just got a note today that this blog had achieved [the mark of] 1,337 followers… Strange number, right? Not round, not exact… far from cabalistic… But, hey, I’ll take it… For whatever reason it is, WordPress people decided it was worth to send out the note… :o Oh, well, I do appreciate the ‘achievement’, and welcome any positive thoughts towards this blog’s way!!! 

Thank you for reading [and following!] <3

 
15 Comments

Posted by on April 24, 2013 in TRAVEL

 

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23 months of blogging, with over 120,000 visits… Thank you!

120,000 hitsMarch 2011 marked my very first blogpost: shared impressions from the world’s largest street carnival. It was obviously in Brazil, the country that lives and breathes popular festivities, and our assignment with the foreign service from 2010 to 2012.

From that point on, blogposts began to come out quite often, increasing the number of subscribers, comments, Facebook Page fans [over 230], Twitter followers [over 350], and blog followers [now at 983]. Being picked to be Freshly Pressed a couple of times by the WordPress editors was definitely a good burst on the social part of it, coupled with the recent popular vote for best Expat Blog about our current home, Bolivia; and the mention of being one of the best parental/family blogs for families wondering about life with kids in the foreign service, according to Gaddling, the world’s top travel blog. Many thanks! 

Screen shot 2013-02-27 at 8.40.18 AM

Today, another milestone was reached, having me surprised and pleased, finding out that our ‘family travel & photoblog‘ displayed over 120,000 visits.

Being passionate about your life experiences, sharing images and impressions, reporting what one sees happening around, somehow, pays back. At least, in the blogsphere… I’m inspired by the several bloggers who take part at the writing prompts, Weekly Photo Challenges, FrizzText and Jake Austria, probably being my very first inspiration (thank you both!); as well as, all the beautiful ideas shared by Ailsa, from ‘Where’s my Backpack?‘, with her travel theme challenges, and The Island Traveler, a parent, like many of us, who decided to share some beauty from their regular lives with the world…

Thank you all out there, parents, expats, bloggers, friends, for reading, commenting, following, and for offering a great deal of inspiration… blogging is fun! :o
What is your NEXT MILESTONE? Your Blog Milestone? Share here, if you care! Thanks!♥
 
12 Comments

Posted by on February 27, 2013 in expat, LANGUAGE

 

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2012 in review, according to the WordPress stats helper monkeys…

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 68,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

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A look back at 2012: why people came to this blog? At the end, we’re all stats junkies!

2012 will be over in a couple of days!

A very intense year, in many levels, scenarios… Our family moved several times throughout the year… we got to live in 3 different countries [Brazil, USA, Bolivia}, lived out of suitcases for a long time; kids had to say goodbye to their dear friends, and say ‘hello‘ to the ones becoming their new friends and teachers, adjusting to a new school, new cultures, and now, we’re happily settled in Nuestra Señora de La Paz, capital of Bolivia

Expat Blogs

At this moment, looking back at 2012, and preparing the ‘retrospective’: popular posts, interaction with other bloggers, popular searches/forums… good discussions… Good therapy, some may say – and I’m glad to agree :o – when it came to blogging, got a lot done this year, sharing our experiences, challenges regarding parenting, multilingual living, cultural adjustments… work… expatriate and family daily life…. So, why visitors, readers, commenters, came to this blog? Most of them are expatriates, like our own ‘nomad family’, some belong to the Foreign Service community, and are well familiar with the challenges faced by the 5 of us. Others, are parents, travelers, adventurers, looking for images, photos, tips about travel options, or simply… curious eyes in search of a good reading, or a funny/intriguing/amazing image from our travels and/or not-so-fantastic daily life!

Now, I find myself with some time after the Christmas holidays, and with a chance to pull together the ‘highs and lows’ of 2012, displaying my gratitude to the readers, commenter, frequent visitors, who always enrich this blogging journey! A big thank you to all!

For a ‘visual summary‘ of 2012, please hop over to this other post, especially crafted for WordPress‘s weekly photo challenge, the last one of 2012: A year through images!

For all the ‘fellow stats junkies’ out there [don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about! :o] here it is, this past year, through numbers… Who came in, looking for what, and the most popular posts… 

Top visitors {countries}: 

United States

Brazil

United Kingdom

Canada

India

Australia

Popular Posts/Articles

Highlights of 2011: Blogging one day at a time… Thank you for reading!

About us

UPDATED: “Moving is the 3rd most stressful life event”…

Why “3rd Culture Children”?

Scientific investigation during Carnaval 2012…

The Supermoon and Cinco de Mayo

2012 displayed an average of 246 blog comments/month, averaging 186 views a day.

Here are the ‘top commenters‘ [thank you for the very positive interaction!] :o

journeyman1977 – Lucid Gypsy – colonialist – eof737 – fgassette – travelgardeneat 

And which ones were the most commented posts? The ones with the strongest human interaction? [Again, my deepest gratitude for all the feedback received!]

Post/Page

Comments

about us

157

Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrast

86

Weekly Photo Challenge: Through

77

Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

70

Weekly Photo Challenge: Down

67

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sun

66

Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects

64

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hope

63

Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects [as one composition]

60

Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration

59

See you all back in 2013! Let’s all have a great, peaceful and successful New Year! :o

Thanks for stopping by!

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…so, the blog morphed into more than just a quasi-travel and photo journal. I liked the idea of organizing not only our travel notes, but also providing resources for other parents, and encouraging an exchange of ideas through comments, questions and suggestions from viewers. The name for the blog came from the term itself: “3rd Culture Children” (TCKs, more information here) are children whose parents come from distinct cultures, and grow up under a hybrid environment, experiencing diverse cultural growth. 

Travels in Brazil, posts related to outdoors activities, cultural events, such as attending the world’s largest open air theater for the Re-enacting of the Passion of Christ, as well as the ones showing scientific investigations and natural discoveries, seemed to be quite popular! 

‘Adventure‘ popular posts:

Visiting the Archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, swimming along with marine dolphins (Brazilian Atlantic coast, World Heritage Site, according to UNESCO)

Builiding a Hanging Garden using Recycled PET Bottles – teaching the importance of respecting the environment.

I’m grateful to Ruth Bailey, for the recent nomination – the 7 x 7 Link Award, where one’s supposed to highlight 7 recent important blogposts. Many thanks to Cyclingrandma, for offering the Good Apple award.

Nominated by a couple of bloggers in 2011 & 2012

Thank you, ClaudiaJohnson, for the nomination!

For a working mom, juggling with the work-life balance, in charge of anything from grocery shopping to planning trips, I’m honored. I’m so pleased to share with other expatriates, parents, and traveling families, the beauty and excitement of traveling, exploring nature (I’m a biologist!), languages (we’ve got Spanish, Portuguese and English in our household!), social/cultural adjustments, and our not-so-professional advice as “parents-on-the-go“ – imagine hauling this family of 5 around, raising multi-language TCKs, and keeping the passion for photography and story-telling?! 

 
 
14 Comments

Posted by on December 29, 2012 in expat, foreign service, post a day, TRAVEL

 

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Twenty months of blogging, and the 100,000 hits milestone is reached. Thank you!

Credit: Google Images

http://sassandbalderdash.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/one-lovely-blog1.jpg?w=227&h=270&h=270 March 2011 marked my very first blogpost: shared impressions from the world’s largest street carnival. It was obviously in Brazil, the country that lives and breathes popular festivities, and our assignment with the foreign service from 2010 to 2012. From that point on, blogposts began to come out quite often, increasing the number of subscribers, comments and blog followers. 

Today, a great milestone was reached, having me surprised and pleased, finding out that our ‘family travel & photoblog‘ displayed over 100,000 visits.

Being passionate about your life experiences, sharing images and impressions, reporting what one sees happening around, somehow, pays back. At least, in the blogsphere… I’m inspired by the several bloggers who take part at the WordPress writing prompts, Weekly Photo Challenges, FrizzText and Jake Austria, probably being my very first inspiration (thank you both!); as well as, all the beautiful ideas shared by Ailsa, from ‘Where’s my Backpack?‘, with her travel theme challenges, and The Island Traveler, a parent, like many of us, who decided to share some beauty from their regular lives with the world… It’s great to have wonderful people out there, to look up to! I’m very grateful for all the support, and couldn’t have found a better time to show my gratitude [Thanksgiving just around the corner!]

Thank you all out there, parents, expats, bloggers, friends, for reading, commenting, following, and for offering a great deal of inspiration… Now, moving on to the next 100K visits… blogging is fun! :o

Now, now is it, for you all? What is your NEXT MILESTONE? Your Blog Milestone? Share here, if you care! Thanks!♥

 
20 Comments

Posted by on November 8, 2012 in expat, foreign service, LANGUAGE

 

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Best Wednesday night ever! [weekly photo challenge: foreign]

We’re all foreigners here in Bolivia… most of us, from the USA, some coming from mixed-culture parents, one from New Zealand, one from Brazil (myself!). But this event brought us all together, as one ‘party nation’, enjoying another foreigner’s performance (he’s Cuban-American).

Several nations under one roof (correction, there wasn’t really a physical roof, since we’re at a soccer stadium!) – were we really foreigners at that moment? Frankly speaking, even though we had different languages being spoken around us, the passion for music (and fun!) transcends all borders… We went from being totally foreigners to feeling completely at home! :o

Backstory: Armando Christian Pérez (born January 15, 1981 in Miami, Florida), better known by the stage name Pitbull , is a Cuban-American rapper signed to his own label, Mr 305 Inc. The Give Me Everything (Tonight) Songfacts reports that he adopted his canine moniker because, “They bite to lock. The dog is too stupid to lose. And they’re outlawed in Dade County. They’re basically everything that I am. It’s been a constant fight.”

Once in a while, it’s good to feel like an adult, again… In great company, we could enjoy a fun and safe presentation, with the so-called… Pitbull!

Rent a Party Bus! – check!

Buy the Super VIP tickets [oh, so worthy... It does feel great to be so close to the stage!] – check!

Call and confirm the baby sitter for our 3 children – check! [thankfully!] 

Group of over 10 adults trying to get back into the ‘fun scene’ (even if it’s only for a couple of hours!), totally organized and in full gear – check! check! check! :o

Whatever reason he’s got for his life choices, I don’t really care… Just had a fantastic time at his concert! :o

 
 

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Big, big storm coming this way!

Although it’s Spring in La Paz, here and there, the weather changes – and a cold snowy front comes up… Beautiful, big, and majestic!

According to Sara Rosso, whose photograph was portraited as this week’s photo challenge inspiration at WordPress, “BIG. It’s larger than life, it’s unexpected, it’s the protagonist in a scene”. 

And for you? What is big? :o

 
21 Comments

Posted by on October 13, 2012 in ART, BOLIVIA, photography

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Big.

Big: The Supermoon over the Coast of Brazil. In May 2012 (when these pictures were taken), the supermoon appeared even bigger and more glorious than the previous year.

According to Sara Rosso, whose photograph was portraited as this week’s photo challenge inspiration at WordPress, “BIG. It’s larger than life, it’s unexpected, it’s the protagonist in a scene”. 

Click below for original post about the Supermoon over the coast of Brazil.

The ‘post-supermoon’, May 7th 2012, Brazil.

And for you? What is big? :o

 
33 Comments

Posted by on October 12, 2012 in ART, photography

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine [for the love of chocolate].

A very interesting comparison. Last week’s photo theme was “Solitary”, and this week’s challenge is to find a photo that says “mine”… very introspective, and I’m almost saying, a bit selfish. Well the word “mine” seems to be part of my household with three little kids, being said, repeated, several times a day, and often times, more than once in the same sentence!

But my impression for this week will relate to myself. ‘Mine’ is for me

- sorry kids! :o

A nice afternoon by myself, kids in school, decided to venture the local market in La Paz, and found a great stand, for the love of chocolate – Bolivian alfajores (almost sinful caramel sandwich cookies!), and chocolate-made shot glasses, to enjoy your favorite liquor, after a well-deserved coffee… and, the best part: all mine! :o

And here, a few impression of “Mine”: WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE : MINE « beyond toxicity Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine | A Little British Pea … Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine | The Daily Post at WordPress.com « 2012 – ON THE BENCH Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine « Insanity at its best! Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine | Lonely Travelog Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine | Wind Against Current These are a few of my favorite travel things « Galang Pusa Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine | R Shad Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far « picture-bandit Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine « picture-bandit This is My Place « bukaningrat ™ Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine « britten Weekly Photo Challenge : Mine « Memories are made of this Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine « Fenland Photos weekly photo challenge : mine | bodhisattvaintraining Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine | a hectic life Weekly Photo Challenged: Mine | JenineSilos Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine « The Laughing Housewife Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine | My Sardinian Life | La Mia Vita Sarda Weekly Photo Challenge : Mine | aysabaw Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine « Jinan Daily Photo Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine « Ruined for Life: Phoenix Edition Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine « Bouncing Beardies Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine | The Serenity Space Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine | Autumn in Bruges Weekly Photo Challenge – Mine | Chittle Chattle Weekly Photo Challenge – Mine | Just Snaps WordPress Photo Challenge: Mine « A year in the Life
 
9 Comments

Posted by on October 1, 2012 in ART, photography

 

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Weekly photo challenge: Solitary.

According to Cheri Lucas, whose photograph was portraited as this week’s photo challenge inspiration at WordPress, “Solitary. I love capturing a person in a quiet and often unexpected moment. These kinds of images can be reflective, mysterious, or even sad, conjuring strong emotions and stirring up stories in my head… We were strangers—yet alone, together. A solitary moment, frozen with my lens.”

And here, my few impressions of solitary:

 

 
9 Comments

Posted by on September 23, 2012 in ART, photography

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life

From

This week’s photo challenge is guest hosted by Jon Sanwell of Without an H. Read on for more about this week’s theme and his photography tips!

“Everyday Life. This challenge is all about people and the things they do every day: working, eating, drinking, chatting, dreaming, walking, exercising, or any of those things we do all the time without really thinking about it. Take a walk around your neighbourhood, or around the streets where you work or study, and take a look at the people you see. You might think that your neighbourhood isn’t very interesting, but imagine that you’re giving a guided tour to someone from the other side of the world—what’s normal for you might be extraordinary to them”.

A few interpretations for the idea of everyday life:

Simple pleasures of life. From a toddler sneaking in, and climbing up on the desk, to adults enjoying a bottle of wine with homemade dinner, from getting ready for your first day in school, to being a ‘kid veteran, posing for a shot at your new school… or simply spending time playing outside, a collection of ‘everyday images’.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

See what others have to show, for this week’s photo challenge!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « Express with Photos ¡A por un café matinal! « La Mandraka Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « Flickr Comments Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « e-Shibin Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « MaanKind Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « Ruined for Life: Phoenix Edition Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life – Joy and Woe Weekly Photo Challenge – Everyday Life | Alastair’s Blog Trying to Keep Balanced « Broken Light: A Photography Collective Everyday life: Rainy day (weekly photo challenge) | Cardinal Guzman Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « Jinan Daily Photo WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « A year in the Life weekly photo challenge : everyday life | bodhisattvaintraining The Weekly Challenge: Everyday Life – Elderly Advice « What’s (in) the picture? Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life | A Little British Pea … weekly photo challenge: everyday life « Curls n Skirls Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life | Humbled Pie Friendly faces in unknown places « Detours by Deepali Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « Fenland Photos Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « Beijing Daily Photo 2 Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « The Other Courtney Weekly Photo Challenge : Everyday Life « Les Petits Pas de Juls Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life | Cee’s Life Photography Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life | acieartikulasi Weekly Photo Challenge – Everyday Life « The Urge To Wander Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life | Wind Against Current Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « wingrish Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life… a day in the life | A barbaric YAWP across the We  WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: EVERYDAY LIFE « Francine In Retirement Next Stop … | Beyond the Brush Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life On the job « patriciaddrury Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « Jag gör världen vackrare Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life « The White Pumpkin Light Photo Challenge: Everyday Life (Loving Aachen XVI) « A Happy and Beautiful World  | 50 Year Project « AbstractUnknownBoy « Rois « A Happy and Beautiful World | Creativity Aroused
 
24 Comments

Posted by on September 14, 2012 in children, FAMILY, photography

 

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How sweet! The Super Sweet Blogging Award!

I simply love cupcakes – even shared before a personal recipe for “Margarita Cupcakes“, with and without alcohol, for little ones… :o
Although I love baking them, especially for my kids’ birthday parties, this year, I’ll take a break – beginning this October, I’ll be BUYING ALL SWEET TREATS for my ones special’ special day… And why? Just because I’m realizing that, between the sweetness of all the planning, and the crude execution, assembling, decorating, there’s  pretty STRESSED PERSON – somebody who ends up changing from a sweet mom into a CRANKY, TIRED, bossy, baker…
And from this point on, I’ve decided: I want the ‘sweet, kind mommy’ back into my kitchen! My kids deserve better than a stormy mother running around the kitchen, before breakfast time! And their dad deserves a caring partner, instead of a screaming wife, telling him to get the decorations ready, while she’s finishing up with the toppings! :o
That said, I’m retiring from my “home-baking goods mommy business” – at least, until one of my girls, now aged 4 and almost 2, are able to jump in and help mom in the kitchen. Until then, dear ‘commercial bakers out there’, I’m all yours! :o
Coincidently, right after I had this ‘realization’, I found out my blog had been nominated for a SUPER SWEET BLOG AWARD! 
Maybe, it’s the sign I was looking for: I can still write, share experiences and images, discuss with other parents about the challenges of raising TCKs all over the map, and enjoy celebrating my kids special days… with ZERO STRESS! Loved it!
So, here is the award, its rules and next steps: Enjoy! ♥

Thanks to Catherine, from Mezzaphonically Speaking for being super sweet and nominating me for the Super Sweet Blogging Award!  I appreciate this special honor and opportunity!

Rules for this award include:
– Thank the super sweet blogger who made the nomination.
– Nominate a baker’s dozen of other bloggers:

They are bloggers talking about life, food, kids, adventures… All in all, a ‘treat’ to read! Go check them out – they’re some of the examples of readings that keep me going!

And answer five questions:

  • Cookie or cake? Cookie
  • Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla
  • What is your favorite sweet treat? Brazilian Dark Chocolate (the tiny ones with caramel!)
  • When do you crave sweet things the most? Night
  • If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? Cupcake! 

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18 Comments

Posted by on September 11, 2012 in expat, FOOD, LANGUAGE

 

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Weekly photo challenge: near and far.

near & far in Africa

This week’s photo challenge is guest hosted by Brian Cooney. Read on for more about this week’s theme and his photography tips!

Near and Far. We’re excited about this week’s photo challenge, near and far, and hope it inspires you to play with perspective, which can give sweeping images of beautiful locations more oomph and power. Perspective is what makes a flat two-dimensional image, such as a photograph, appear like it is three-dimensional. To create this effect, you can use features like diagonal lines, which converge within the frame and literally suck in the viewer.

A few interpretations for the idea of near and far: perspectives in 4 different scenarios, 4 countries, one family affair…

near, the flowers…. far away, the Andine mountains

the girl and the Brazilian coast island …

wedding couple placed  against the US Southwestern mountains

See what others have to show, for this week’s photo challenge!

Joy and Woe  « Flickr Comments El sonido del bronce español « La Mandraka « Form Your Troika  Chittle Chattle Just Snaps « The Great Escape » Life from behind a lens  A Little British Pea … Cardinal Guzman Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far « britten « beyond toxicity Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far « e-Shibin Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far « Fenland Photos Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far « thegirlinthesunglasses Photo Journal – «  (With the Wind) « A drifter off to see the world Travel Challenge; Near and Far « So where’s the snow? « Connie’s World « A year in the Life Near and Far | Figments of a DuTchess  | nirvanatrails Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far « wingrish  « The Other Courtney Near and Far « bukaningrat ™ Weekly Photo Challenge : Near and Far | a weirder fetish Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far | Wind Against Current Weekly Photo Challenge – Near and Far « mtlawleyshire Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far « Jacob Marchio Miles Away (Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far) | Noke Yuitza Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far « Olivia May Photography Photo Challenge: Near and Far « Detours by Deepali  Mondrak’s Blog \ acieartikulasi « Queen’s Gems

 
36 Comments

Posted by on September 7, 2012 in photography

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Active Summer

Surfing in Fernando de Noronha

This week’s WordPress photographic theme is “Summer“. Considering I had a few “pics to spare”, from our sort-of-large collection of paradisiac places in Brazil, here’s a second part of the original post… Hope you all enjoy the images as much as we did! :o

Hiking trail

Exploring the open waters

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in beach, photography

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Brasília, Unfocused

The illusion of two hands together reaching up to the sky creates the Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia

The founder, President JK

The capital of Brazil is well-known for its unique architecture, and the use of other media, like the water, to create architectural and sculptural illusions. Here is a bit of the city, showing that, even with the lack of focus on the main feature, the city constructions and its urban art remain unique, powerful and fabulous!

The Cultural Center

Detail from the JK Memorial

This is an experiment in blogging motivation from the folks atWordPress.com. Every week, they post blogging ideas and tips to help you get the most out of the blog. This week’s photo challenge from WordPress is UnfocusedAccording to Sara Rosso, from WP, “Unfocused”. You may curse or cheer this week’s theme. We’re looking for that picture which is unfocused. It may be completely intentional, or accidental. You might have thought about trashing it, but in the end it definitely conveys something“.

What other bloggers are sharing?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused | Street Cat Weekly photo challenge: Unfocused « Musings of a librarian Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused | Chronicles of Illusions Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused « AbstractUnknownBoy Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused « Reflections in a Puddle Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused « R Shad Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused | Long Exposure Zooms « samjgreen WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: Unfocused – woven decor Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused « Canadiantravelbugs’s Blog Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused « Simply Charming Weekly Photo Challenge – Unfocused « superkendy Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused « Colour Me Happy Weekly Photo Challenge (2): unfocused | Het is goed Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused « Misk Cooks Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused | Perpetual Learner Unfocused – Unscharf « picturebandit Photo Challenge : Unfocused « a weirder fetish tunnel « primo piano WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: UNFOCUSED. | Colonialist’s Blog focus pocus « yi-ching lin photography
 
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Posted by on May 9, 2012 in TRAVEL

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects

“Two Subjects”. That’s the inspiration for this week’s photo challenge from WordPressThis “theme” is more of a composition challenge, than the usual single themes we’re used to post about. Let’s see how this week’s compositions turn out… mix of natural and man-made two-subject themes…


Other posts from WordPress bloggers

Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « e-Me Photo Challenge: Two Subjects monochromatics | La mandrola de la Mandraka Weekly Photo Challenge: Two subjects « « The Great Escape » Life from behind a lens Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects (2) « e-Me Two Subjects « Broken Light: A Photography Collective Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « Pathfinder: MotherWifeStudentWorker Two Subjects (Weekly Photo Challenge) « Cardinal Guzman Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « jeff sinon photography Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects | Lonely Travelog Two Lights, Two Subjects | Nature in the Burbs Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects | Figments of a Dutchess Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « Inside Out Cafe Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « Fenland Photos Weekly Photo Challenge: 2 Subjects | Jumbled Contents Of My Head Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « weird & cool stuff seen while out & about Weekly photo challenge: Two subjects « Connie’s World Double Your Pleasure ~ Two Subjects « Spirit Lights The Way Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « Mystiic Weekly Photo Challenge : Two Subjects « Hurtled to 60 and Now Beyond… Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects | Creativity Aroused Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects | fluffy flurries WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « A year in the Life Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « Mike Hardisty Photography Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects | Wind Against Current You don’t see many penguins in Oxfordshire | Pseu’s Blog Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « The Urge To Wander Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « Sin Polaris Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « The potato blog WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge..Two Subjects. « thepurpledogpaintingblog WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE : TWO SUBJECTS « 2012 – ON THE BENCH Weekly Photo Challenge: Two subjects « Alice through the Macro Lens Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects | Children’s Books & More Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects | Ingset’s Blog Weekly Photo Challenges – Journey & Two Subjects – Just a lil’ lost… Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects | mothergrogan Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects | Jaajaabor Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « Ink. Photo Weekly Challenge: Two subjects | Autumn in Bruges Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « R Shad Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects | Heart Renovation Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects | Even A Girl Like Me Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « YSalma WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: TWO SUBJECTS « Francine In Retirement Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects | Chronicles of Illusions Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « Changeversations Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects | heartfelt images WordPress Photo Challenge: Two subjects « right in front of me A Picture with Me in it | Empire of Lights Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « Heart’s Home Weekly photo challenge: Two subjects « rondomtaliedraai Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects… | Mirth and Motivation Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « My Sardinian Life | La Mia Vita Sarda Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects #2 « My Sardinian Life | La Mia Vita Sarda Weekly photo challenge ~ Two Subjects | holistic complications Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects… | The Blog Farm – A Growing Blog Community Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « Eclipse Of The Moon Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects | Four Deer Oak Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « acieartikulasi Weekly Photo Challenge – Two Subjects | Aspiring Creativity pavlov « yi-ching lin photography Elmo’s Gnome Gnotes « Misk Cooks Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects « Simply Charming Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects #3 « My Sardinian Life | La Mia Vita Sarda
 
 

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Highlights of 2011: Blogging one day at a time… Thank you for reading!

A big THANK YOU to all the visitors & readers! 2012 will be here before we know it! That’s also my perception regarding this family/travel photoblog – before I could really understand the true nature behind blogging, I was completely immersed into it – and totally in love with this incredible journey! I’m passionate about sharing our travel pictures, telling stories, discussing our challenges and the discoveries we’re making along the way – people and places.

The New Year is coming!

Nominated by a couple of bloggers.Thank you(s) to come! :o

I initially began this blog to share my impressions, observations and along-the-road experiences with our families and friends, and later, with other expats experiencing similar challenges/adventures. So, the blog morphed into more than just a quasi-travel and photo journal. I liked the idea of organizing not only our travel notes, but also providing resources for other parents, and encouraging an exchange of ideas through comments, questions and suggestions from viewers. The name for the blog came from the term itself: “3rd Culture Children” (TCKs, more information here) are children whose parents come from distinct cultures, and grow up under a hybrid environment, experiencing diverse cultural growth.

“The result of this transcontinental growth can never be taught or learned or fully understood by anyone who hasn’t actually experienced it. The developing child takes the culture of their parent’s passport country, or their first culture, to a foreign land. The child (and later on, the adult) adopts the qualities of the Second Culture into their preexisting First Culture, creating a unique cultural perspective known as the Third Culture”.

Blog of the Week, Dec 2011.

As an expat who is now raising 3 children, all aged 6 and under, the titled fit naturally!  I’m so pleased to share with other expatriates, parents, and traveling families, the beauty and excitement of traveling, exploring nature (I’m a biologist!), languages (we’ve got Spanish, Portuguese and English in our household!), social/cultural adjustments, and our not-so-professional advice as “parents-on-the-go“ – imagine hauling this family of 5 around, raising multi-language TCKs, and keeping the passion for photography and story-telling?!

This is our intense life, and we’re lucky to have a very supportive environment, with good friends, family and exciting new places to visit and discover!

Thank you, ClaudiaJohnson, for the nomination!

Thank you for the double nomination!

Getting positive feedback from other families in the Foreign Service. was definitely a breakthrough. After blogging for a little less than four months, saw one of my posts, about Brazilian Folklore and the integration of expatriate children, featured by WordPress. Features also included picks made by EcopressedPopPressed and The Social Moms network. For a working mom, juggling with the work-life balance, in charge of anything from grocery shopping to planning trips, I’m honored.

the greatest partner...

I’m ending this first ‘blogging year’ bordering 250 posts, with almost 130 followers and over 180 curious tweeters – and yet, blogging remains very fun, intriguing, exciting and challenging – thanks to the ongoing inspiration from PostaDay2011 & PostaWeek2011. Proof to that, is the passion brought by the Weekly Photo Challenges – what a ride!

    

Still need to thank all the fantastic readers & bloggers for all this year’s nominations! I promise it’ll get done – first thing in 2012!

Now, leaving 2011 with a smile… If I had to define my favorite part of blogging I’d say it’s the ability to convert ideas, impressions and images into stories, shared advice, resources to other parents/families/travelers. The excitement of spotting a routine event and transforming it into a surprisingly positive post. I’m a traveler, a researcher, an author, a mom. With an endless desire to learn, discover and share… Happy New Year to all of us, and a very successful 2012 – “keeping us posted“! :o

Related post: Daily Post WordPress

Another fellow blogger, coming to join our post in Brazil!

 

 
21 Comments

Posted by on December 30, 2011 in expat, post a day

 

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9 Mountains in 4 continents

Brazil

Table Top Mountain, South Africa

East-Timor, with ongoing construction of a smaller version of the Christ the Redeemer

East-Timor

Along the West Coast of Brazil

Burgundy Mountains in Brazil

view from the top of Table Top Mountain, Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

Mid-West of USA

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