Tag Archives: USA

Guest blog by Jackie Foster- New Holiday Traditions

2 Dec


Introducing guest blogger Jackie from Morning Kawa (http://www.morningkawa.com) a lifestyle blog from an American girl living in Poland. Find inspiration for vacation destinations, ‘Pinspired’ DIY projects and decor details.

Let me start by saying that I currently live in Wroclaw, Poland which has enabled me to meet people from all over the world: France, Sweden, South Africa, Ethiopia, really anywhere – you name it and someone from there probably lives here in Wroclaw! It’s been a great way to open my eyes to traditions and customs beyond that of the US (where I am originally from). However, the story that has most opened my eyes is a fairly recent one and I can’t wait to share it with you to maybe open yours during this upcoming holiday season.

One of my best friends is moving to India next month from America on an expat assignment. While I was at lunch one day here in Wroclaw, someone from India joined our table. In the spirit of starting a conversation and thinking of my friend moving to his home country, I asked him, “What should my friend bring to India when she moves there?”

His answer?

“Just bring an open mind.”

And that was it. Topic over. He didn’t say anything about bringing pots and pans, towels, your favorite makeup – come on, you know you had that list when preparing for your move! Nope, none of that. Just an open mind. And in that simple phrase, I thought about what a perfect response that was. Not just for my friend moving to India, but to anyone moving abroad, traveling to a new country, or just visiting a new neighborhood down the street. Wow. So simple yet it applies to so many contexts – including that of the holidays.

During the holidays, we are so stuck in our own traditions that it is hard to want to start new ones. Sometimes that makes us blind and we begin to focus on what we can’t have in our new country verses what do. For example, here in Poland, we had a hard time finding a whole turkey for Thanksgiving – we were so obsessed with this idea that we searched high and low for weeks to find this turkey to ensure our Thanksgiving ‘tradition’ continued. But if we’re being honest, there is plenty of ham here on every corner.

Would it have been the end of the world to serve ham instead of a whole turkey? No. But we didn’t want to change our tradition. When in reality, being an expat during the holidays is already so far from the typical Thanksgiving tradition that serving ham could have been our new routine here in Poland. We still would have had great friends gathered that we are so thankful for. No questions asked, that would not have changed regardless of what we served.

So all that said, here is my challenge to you this holiday season:

Don’t become consumed by what you can’t have/find/cook/buy in the country you are living in. This year, just bring an open mind to the table and let the new traditions form. Who knows. You might even like them better. This is your chance to find out.

Embrace it.


What visa are you on?

6 Sep


This is a question I ask fellow expats on a regular basis.

It is funny you meet a new Aussie expat and you ask the following:

Where are you from?
How long have been in the USA for?

Then the question:

What visa type are you on?

It is not a question I ever ask to fellow friends in Australia. But I regularly get asked and ask the same question of them.

USA is one of the hardest countries to obtain a visa. I have been on three types of visa- J1, E3 and currently a L2.

Expats live with and arrange visas on a regular basis. So it is for this reason it is discussed on a daily basis.

It is one of those things that you need to arrange, in order to live and work in the USA.

So why is it that we ask others there visa status? It is like asking them if they are married? Where do you live in the Bay Area? or What do you do not work?

Is it because we are intrigued? Is it a a way of bonding together as expats?

Food for thought.

So next time you meet a fellow Aussie expat is this going to be in your top 3 questions?

Confessions of a Shopaholic

2 Sep


Who loves to shop? I DO

Who loves nothing more than the word Sale? I DO

Who loves a good bargain? I DO

Who loves shopping in the USA? I DO

The newspaper arrives with the catalogs, the long weekend starts with a sale, both these events make my heart flutter. Shopping is amazing!

I love nothing more than buying a cute dress, new shoes or a bag. Have you seen the movie “Confessions of a Shopaholic”? I feel I can relate to that movie. Well to the sale, the love of designer cloths and a passion for good fashion.

When I shop, the world gets better, and the world is better, but then it’s not, and I need to do it again.
(Confessions of a Shopaholic-the movie)”
― Sophie Kinsella

Why is it a new dress gives you a little more confidence?
Why is it a pair of shoes can change your life?

I think because if you feel good about yourself then you look good. I have always thought that if your hair looks good then everything looks good.

I can pick out a pair of shoes or a bag in about 5 minutes flat. No seriously I can, my girlfriends can attest. But ask me to make dinner and it takes longer to decide what to eat.

Shopping is good for the soul, it makes a day brighter and a you can’t go wrong with a cute pair of shoes.

On the topic- shoes! Shoes glorious shoes! Love them. You can never have too many shoes, ballet flat, high heels, thongs, sandals and wedges.

Cinderella is proof that a pair of shoes can change your life. It is said that a lot women pick there shoes first and match there outfit second.

So with that said, on this labour holiday go out and shop at the sales. Hunt down a cute top or shoes or even a handbag.

As at the end of the day I love shopping. There is a little bit of magic found in buying something new. It is instant gratification, a quick fix.
― Rebecca Bloom, Girl Anatomy

Food network obsessed = introducing Food Loop Review

29 Aug


I am on this planet to eat amazing food and wine.

From lamb roast, pumpkin ravioli and lobster moray to sweet cupcakes, pavlova, chocolate slice and macaroons.

Food is my soul and I like nothing more than a stunning dinner with a glass of wine.

So when moving to America, a highlight is The Food Network. Watching Ina Garten, Chopped, Cupcake wars, Iron Chef, Diners Drive in and Dives and Masterchef.

I always thought I would become a chef but then I did work experience in a kitchen in year 10 and after a week of peeling vegetables, plucking quail and catching the bomb alaska on fire, I knew I would rather enjoy food and wine than be a chef.

So as part of my expat journey I want to try amazing food and wine in California.

There junk food like animal fries and Taco Bell. Then chocolate from ghiradelli. Then the food I love quality food made with local ingredients.

So as my journey continues I want to visit restaurants and wineries in the Bay Area and surrounds.

I will write a review each fortnight of my experience and it will be called:

“Food Loop Review”

I will post my first review in the coming week. As we get closer to Labor Day Holiday weekend let sit back relax, enjoy good food and wine with friends and have a few laughs, after all:

“Laughter is brightest where food is best”

Expat life, Expat wife, Expat Journey: How to set up and get settled in the USA

29 Aug


Moving to the other side of the world is exciting, invigorating and a start of a new chapter. But it doesn’t come without it’s challenges.

From going to the supermarket, arranging a social security number and driver license, renting a house with no credit history and trying to find a job.

It can be a challenge, or as my Dad says a LE (Learning Experience) or a CB (Character Building)

So the questions I was asked this week is how do you tackle setting up and every day tasks in a new country. Well each country is different but I can speak from my USA experience.

Below are suggestions for setting up and tackling living in the USA

1. Research– I know you hear me say it, time and time again but research is so valuable. Visit expat website, local information websites, buy books on moving to the USA

2. Get a social security number ASAP– In the USA you can’t do anything with a a social security number. So apply as soon as you arrive in the USA.

3. Open a bank account – No matter where you live, you need a bank account. If possible open up an account in the first month you arrive as this will start to build your credit history

4. Join sporting or hobbie groups– This is a great way to meet people, have a taste of home and do something you enjoy

5. Network with other expat– Expat help expats. The best information and advice I have been given has been from other expats. So read blogs, forums, website and join expat groups.

6. Ask questions– If you don’t know how to get a drivers license or where to go to arrange health insurance then ask. Sounds simple but so true. Nearly every day I am asking someone something, today alone I ask the coffee barista about upcoming Bay Area events.

7. Attend information events. Check out sfaussies.com. I have included below the next information event.

AACC Business Seminar
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Venue: Bank of the West
295 Bush St, San Francisco

New to the US or been here for a while – refresh or learn about your healthcare options, credit scores and international tax information – this seminar is for you!

Registration: 6pm, Panel: 6:30pm, Networking: 7pm
Cost: $10 AACC Members, $30 Non Member – RSVP: http://www.sfaussies.com

Are you looking for ANSWERS!

* How do I set up bank accounts? What information do I need?
* How do I get access to a credit card?
* What is a Credit Score and how do I get it started?
* How do I find a place to rent/buy?
* Should I buy or lease a car? How do I go about doing this?
* What do I need to do to get healthcare?
* Should I invest money in a 401k if I plan to retire in Australia?

Living as a expat is a privilege, experience and something you will never forget. So don’t get torn up about the challenge and enjoy it.

As they say:

“It is not about the destination it is about the journey”

Baseball- how you play the game!

29 Aug


So as I sit 4 rows back from the front facing the third base. I ask myself why is baseball so popular?

Is it the cute baseball players?
The atmosphere?
The pump up music?
The giant hot dogs and beer?
Doing the Mexican wave?
Singing the national anthem?
Catching a ball?

Or is it in fact all of it combine? I mean where can you drink, watch sport, sing songs and have a good time. Well some my say at the footy, cricket or the basketball.

So I asked my USA buddy Whitey and his response “it is a time to hang out with your friends, have a drink, watch the game he loves and eat a giant hot dog”

So with that said it is back to baseball. Another American experience to treasure.

Think I might go get a hot dog ….

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