Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Expat Guest Post featuring my friend Gina

 My next guest post is from my friend Gina.  At my house she is referred to as my 'Soul Sister.'  She made the move to London about six months after me and we connected through my blog.  We instantly clicked and after a lunch date we became fast friends.  You've seen her picture around here a few times.   We connect on so many levels.  She also has an adult daughter that is living a wonderful life on another continent which is something really big that we share.  And sometimes when there just aren't words, she know exactly what I'm feeling.
She blogs at Sweet Serenity and inspires me regularly. 

Hello, I am Gina! 

I am thrilled that Selena has asked me to be here and blog a little about my expat experience and how it has changed me. 

She is a dear friend and I certainly would not have been able to navigate my expat journey without her experience and encouragement to guide me along. 

She has a wealth of knowledge about London and travelling {and gin & tonic} but most importantly she has a heart of gold. 

I blog over at "Sweet Serenity" where I talk about my move to London, my expat life, my love of yoga, and my travels {hoping for lots more of that in the future!}. My goal during the transition from one country to another was to maintain "sweet serenity" and not loose my mind {a lofty goal indeed!} while negotiating the move.  It has been quite a journey and I had hoped to navigate it as seamlessly as possible. I have been living just outside of central London in a lovely borough called Pinner for a year now with my husband, 15 year old son, and our sweet golden retriever Bella.  It has not been without it's up's and down's by any means but thanks to a little help from my friends {eternally grateful} I think I am achieving my goal.  

My expat life began when my husband received the opportunity of a lifetime to move our family to London.  I quickly set about finding out  and everything I could about the UK and obsessing over what it would be like to live there. 
After exhausting countless hours on websites full of data and information I was hungering for a more "human" experience which is what led me to expat blogs.  There is truly nothing better than delving into the experience that someone else is having on a journey that you are going to embark on.  It gives you the inside scoop on what it is like to live somewhere else.  As the blogger is exploring you are right along with them going to new places and seeing new things.  You follow the hard times they are going through and the break through moments that are occurring their life.  I would get up in the morning prior to going to my busy day at work and grab a coffee and get my fill of expat blogs.  

After our move here I found myself going through many of the same highs and lows that I had read about countless times.  There was the enchantment at being in such a wonderful place. London is truly amazing and I experienced countless times of exclaiming "I love London!".  I am continuously thrilled with the fact that I am here to see and do all that it has to offer.  There are endless things to do here and so much to see.  I wholeheartedly agree with Samuel Johnson in this quote:

"Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."
— Samuel Johnson

I also came to know the homesickness and ache for loved ones that live so far away.  Our daughter stayed in Canada to complete here studies at University and although I had read over and over how hard it is to live so far away from family nothing can prepare you for how much you miss being able to see loved ones.  

I experienced what I call the "hidden" culture shock that you don't expect when moving to a country that speaks the same language as you and a country which has many of the same traditions that you hold dear.  It is a culture shock none-the-less and takes patience and perseverance to find your footing and begin to feel a "new normal".  Once you get past it, it is exhilarating to know that you have grown and that you are learning and expanding yourself daily.  The knowledge you gain is priceless. 

My expat life has made me a much more tolerant person.  A calmer person.  A more compassionate person. As one wise expat friend once said to me "this experience has made "me" more "me" than I felt I was before".  She worried that I would not understand but I completely understood and what was more I agree wholeheartedly.  

The bravery that it takes to make such a leap of faith and jump into a new life has expanded me and made me grow in so many ways.  

I now believe that anything is possible.
Truly, anything can happen....

The next chapter of this Canadian girl's Expat Life will include lots of travel, travel, travel. I have caught the travel bug after a visit to Turkey last April and I want to see all the wonderful places that I read about on amazing blogs like Selena's. 

I hope that she is having an amazing time on her cruise and look forward to reading all about it and seeing more of her spectacular photos from the places she visits.  


Thank you so much, Gina,  for guest posting and also for just being awesome!
Leave her some comment love, my friends!!


  1. I am following both of you and I must say both of you are just amazing :D

  2. Wow I love how much becoming an expat has empowered you!

  3. It's like you were both meant to be here at the exact same time so that you could keep each other going! I don't know how you two manage being so far apart from your daughters. It breaks my heart to even think about it. Women are made of tough stuff, that's for sure!

    I love that quote...when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life. Good one!

  4. Oh! It must have been so hard to leave your daughter behind. Has she come to visit? How is your son coping being an "only" child?? looking forward to reading more of your expat llife!

  5. 'The bravery that it takes to make such a leap of faith and jump into a new life has expanded me and made me grow in so many ways.' I love this. I feel the same way. I didn't know that this was 'missing' from my life, but it turns out expattery (it's a real word, I just invented it) is just what I needed to help me grow and learn.

  6. I have to agree with Amy about the quote she used there - this is how I have also changed through becoming an expat also. I love the word expattery too!!

  7. Expattery is a great word ~ I may have to steal it. So glad others can relate to me.

  8. It was incredibly hard leaving my sweet girl. She has come to visit and even brought three of her friends to explore London with her. They created this great video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8_U2HsmY9g She is the cutie with blond curly-ish hair ~ so fun! CJ (my son) has been coping with being an "only" child pretty well. It was quite the life adjustment in so many ways for him. I am so happy to be one year into our grand adventure and when I take stock ~ we are all doing fine. whew!

  9. I love the saying that being an expat in London makes 'you' more 'you' than before. That's exactly how I would describe it as well, and why I love living in other countries. But I guess you need to experience it to understand it.

  10. Love me some Gina!!! xx


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