Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Enjoying life. A foreign concept.

An American friend recently returned from a six-day trip to Belgium and France (because only an American would fly a total of 10,000 miles for less than a week’s vacation) and came back amazed.

“Now I get it,” she said.

“Get what?”
An American with a newspaper, a coffee, and a
relaxed outlook, oh my!

“How hard it must be for you to be back.”

When asked to clarify she said, “I mean, people over there, they actually take time to relax and enjoy life!”

What a concept. Too bad most Americans find this concept foreign.

Nothing demonstrates this concept more than Starbucks. In the U.S., Starbucks has a drive-through. What does this say about our culture?

The Frau refuses to go to a Starbucks drive-through even though she loves Starbucks coffeehouses because they are pretty much the only place she can go to eat or drink in her American town that doesn’t try to rush her out the door the minute she puts her fork down.

Needless to say, The Frau is dreaming of her old Swiss haunts, like her vacation rental in Locarno. (Pictured above)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Redefining motherhood one continent at a time

Going from mothering in one culture to another isn't easy.
Here's something that often goes unnoticed unless you move between cultures: your beliefs are shaped by them. Sounds obvious, but experiencing it can be a shock. 

Because The Frau became a mother in Switzerland, she gradually adopted Swiss parenting ways only to realize that they made her awkward as a mother in the U.S. 

All it took was a small "food fight" at her local American library to question everything she believed as a mother. She wrote about her multi-continent parenting issues for the New York Times yesterday. 

How does culture impact your parenting?

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Birth in Switzerland and American Citizenship

Once The Frau became a mother in Switzerland, she realized something: Some Americans giving birth in Switzerland didn’t want their children to have U.S. Citizenship. 

Photo by Brian Opyd
They don't really have a choice, since in most cases, a child born abroad to at least one American parent is American by default. However, there is a trend of not registering these children with the American government. The Frau researched this story for over two months and talked to expats around the world. The result? This piece in The Wall Street Journal.

Anyone else notice this trend among American expats in Switzerland (or the world)?

Also, if you’re interested in expat issues and are not already part of the WSJ Expat Facebook Group, The Frau highly recommends becoming a member. 


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