Category Archives: writing

My 2014 Resolutions

Expat Life 2014  Resolutions

Thank you for everyone’s sweet wishes on my 9th Blogiversary on this weekend past.  Words cannot express how much I appreciate all the out pouring of love I received on the blog and across social media.  Thank you for making the past year an especially rememberable one in the blogosphere.  Last week I shared How to do your 2014 Resolutions and today I want to share the ones I have made for myself this year.authenticity

My resolutions for the year seem to surround one of my most favourite words: authenticity.  When I sat down to think more about this word and what I wanted most for 2014 similar ideas sprung to mind.

Genuineness | Simplicity I Realness | Unity | Dependability | Openness | Directness | Assertiveness

To me it is more about being just true to yourself and honest with others.  It is about living a life that in all areas you can devote the same level of authenticity, heart, mind, and soul.  I was born a passionate being who loves to jump in and give 100% of herself into what I am doing.  It is so easy to be swept up into that sea of creativity, work, family, and all the other aspects of life and realise later that some areas are failing.  2013 was a growing year for me in blogging and I learned a lot about time management through the months.  I give too much of myself and devote too much time to blogging, all that goes into preparing, writing, sharing a blog post, and the social media aspects (twitter, facebook, instagram, etc) then my family members get less of me and a less authentic version of myself and who I live to be.  On the other side of things if I go ‘unplugged’ and spend days away from the blog (even with pre-published posts ready to go), the blogging work starts piling up and the connections with friends and followers starts to fall to the side. Which always brings more stress as I then have so much to catch back up on by way of catching up on social media interactions, answering messages, responding to comments, reading blogs, and commenting on blogs.  It is not a pattern I wanted to continue or relearn in 2014.


(source: my 30 Day Photo Challenge from 2011)

Blogging. My resolutions for 2014 in regard to blogging is continue with being prepared, working to deadlines, and keeping to time requirements.  I will be authentic as giving exactly how much of myself I have said I would give and not compare myself or my blog to others for those that may give more or less of themselves and their lives on their blogs. I see growth coming this year through keeping things simple.  To continue to be be honest and authentic as I share my life as a Third Culture Kid, an Expat, and a photographer living in England.

Simplicity. Just as I want to focus on simplicity on ACR, I want to work at this through out all areas in my life to work toward living an Authentic life in 2014.  In regards to my profession and the work I do outside my home.  Simplicity to the relationships in my life of family and friends and to the work and activities that goes on in my house.  I have the personality type where I like to do it all, jump in head first, and act out the biggest, creative, and grandest ideas that I can think up.  That is a true part to my being and I do not want to stop embracing that energy.  I just mean to focus myself towards a direction of keeping things simple.  To let the things in my life that I love and spend time with to grow and flourish.  To be as authentic as I mean to be without letting other things jeopardize or get in the way of the goal.

Authenticity. I do not claim to be the only one coming up with this goal for 2014.  I have heard many people addressing their need to live more simple lives and to keep more focused on what matters most in their life.  To embrace a more holistic approach to all aspects of living.  This is how I want and will be moving forward this year.


  • To simply all aspects of my life from home to work and beyond.  I want to have the most time available for my husband and my children. 
  • To keep working towards a holistic life from what we eat, to exercise, and to health. To continue doing without shampoo and conditioner (read: no poo) as I am now 7 months going strong!
  • To continue every month with scaling back and cleaning out things we do not need and help my kids learn to adopt the same principals.
  • To work even harder this year with home education with my children.  They both go to schools, but I feel it is important to continue their education outside of the classroom.
  • To not let my love of photography take over my life by staying on top of backing up and organization of my personal photography from camera phone to cameras.  To work towards getting past years photographs simplified from folders of files into presentable yearbooks and slideshows for our family to enjoy.
Images custom to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2014 All Rights Reserved |

Blogtember: Fictional Short Story

Blogtember | Thursday, September 19: 

Creative writing day: write a (very short) fictional story that starts with this sentence:
“To say I was dreading the dinner party would be the understatement of the century.”

That simple thought entertained her mind between the mundane daily activities.  Her mother had made sure her tutors had seen to keeping to the regular schedule, despite Zee’s many requests for taking the day off.  While she sat in the classroom of solitude to write out the comparisons of life in modern times to centuries past, the world was busy without her.  The entire compound was alive with bustling activity to prepare for the evening’s feast.  The manor’s normal cold setting had been dressed up in in an occasion for celebration.  Banners waved from the concrete walls of the compound and flowers decorated every space within.  A constant flow of footsteps could be heard up and down the stairs of the five stories in the main house.  In the center of it all, her mother like the queen bee, gave orders to everyone under her roof.  
Zee sat with her books, her eyes gazing out the windows wanting to be anywhere but inside.   Her tutor, a tall wiry man in his late fifties with no patience for daydreaming tapped his his cane on the wooden floor beneath her feet.  With a slight jump, Zee regained her attention and focus to the task at hand.  She recited the facts she had been taught to remember of wars, vengeance and victory. It all seemed like a bloody fairytale and surreal to her life behind fortified walls with guards.  The line of men in her family had sacrificed much to give the future generations of successors the power to live comfortably without fear.  It was in irony that Zee was made to feel like a prisoner within her city.  The only place she had ever known to call ‘home’ and yet she yearned for something more.  To have a voice and will away from guilt. 
The dinner that was held that evening had been meticulously planned over the year past, each detail arranged by her parents.  It was her rite of passage, a coming of age party to which everyone in her family had when they turned eleven years old.  She had been told to be proud and to know the purpose of duty she carried as a member of the Daveed family. However nothing of this event, nor the dinner party seemed at all to interest the girl.  While she admired the addition of the flowers it was only because they reminded me of the outside world. A place she would rather roam free and explore than bare another moment of etiquette lessons and history lectures.  
Zee sat tall in her seat at the long table in the great hall of her the family manor.  She sat flanked by her cousins Eli and Gabe who were older than her and home only for a couple more weeks of summer holiday.  They talked on either side of her about their mischiefs at school, and their plans to win the tournament starting that autumn.  It was only bits and pieces that she heard as she was lost in her own thoughts, creating art out of her food with her fork. It was then that that the doors opened loudly with  urgency and purpose. With their disruption to the the dinner party a man ran in carrying what looked to be a letter addressed and still sealed in wax.  It was given to her father who was siting by her mother, previously discussing with her uncle about the feast at hand.  He ripped open the seal and had only managed to read a few sentences himself when his wife reading over his shoulder had blurted out, “Zee!”
Her fork hit her plate with a clang in a room that felt silent at the piercing yell from her mother down the table.  She looked up as the heat flooded to her cheeks and a sickening anxious feeling tightened in her gut.  She did not know what was happening. It felt as if the whole world was staring at her and in this moment everything would be going horribly wrong.  For a girl who prayed at night for change for a way to escape this prison sentence of a life, it was in the throws of change that she felt real fear for the first time in her life.  
Her mother did not have to speak a word further to let Zee know that she requested her presence immediately at her side.  She knew her mother too well to read each syllable in one of her looks.  Her chair pushed out from behind her, Zee stood up and walked down to where her parents were sat at the end of the table. Each step she made on the hard floor made a clicking sound and like a second hand of a clock she felt the ticking clicking foreboding to what was to come. She came close enough, swallowing hard hoping for something she could not anticipate as the fear of unknowing was readily taking her in whole. The letter was now pushed at her by her father as her mother’s lips pursed in anger.
Zee’s eyes fell from her mothers to the letter, holding it now in her hands as she began to read.
…to be continued.

TCK & Expat: 10 Steps to Keeping in Touch with Friends

This is the third part to a series about Third Culture Kids (TCKs) and friendships. In the first two parts,  TCK: Saying Goodbye to Friends Pt. I and TCK: Saying Goodbye to Friends Pt. II the focus was on the effects a nomadic life has on friendships.  While some friendships can remain intact, many and most slowly slip away with each move to a new location.  When facing the cycle of continual loss, how can you recover and maintain your social circles?

“A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture may be assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background.” – Wikipedia on the Definition of a TCK

Nomadic children and ATCK (Adult Third Culture Kids) are also joined by the Expat adults when it comes to having to say goodbye to friendships and hello to new ones.  Having to constantly make new relationships as an adult has already proven itself as harder than when we were kids.  You are no longer in an education system forced to spend hours every day with your peers.  You are in the work place and in the community where friendships now have had time to really grow for those who do not move away.  It can prove challenging to break into social groups.  However challenging it opens you up to a new world of relationships and experiences.  So what do you do now when you have to say goodbye and move to another city, country, or continent?  What about the friends you leave behind and how do they adjust to your departure? Is there a way to return to old friendships after you get busy with your own separate lives?

My tips for keeping in touch with your friends:

1. Use the Phone.  Whether your friend is in the same or different country you can more than likely keep in contact every month with the phone.  There is nothing like hearing the voice of your friend and even a quick five minute call can do wonders for a long distance friendship. If you are unable to phone your friend, due to long distance charges, there are many smart phone aps that you can use to converse with your friend. Send free messages and calls with Viber, send free messages with Whatsapp, and send free messages and video chat with Skype and Google Hangout.  The point is to keep that open channel of communication.

  1. 2. Write letters. By this I mean get actual paper and write a letter to your friend that you can send through the mail.  Email is great because you can quickly send something off and it will be received instantly. While that is perfect for social networking and business it can really lack the personal touch that can help a friendship flourish.  If you ever had a penpal when you were younger you can remember how great it was to recieve a letter in the mail and find out what your friend has been up too.  Just remember to send the letter after you write it. It can be too easy to put off taking it ot the post office and letting the contents of the letter become old and irrelevent.  Sometimes when you have not written a letter in a while it can be hard to get it started.  Just think about what you would like to know about the friend you are sending it too and share that bit of information from your life.  Let your friend know what you have been up too.  Pretend like you are talking to them when you write your letter and do not worry about being boring.  Just put your personality and how you normally talk in conversation into the letter and talk from the heart. 
3. Send Cards and Care packages. Surprises in the mail are the best, so why not surprise your friend with a nice note card from your local stationary shop? Or better yet put together a care package full of items that remind you of your friend and local delicacies from the place where you are currently living.  It is a great way to show to your friend that you care and are thinking of them.  Plus sending them items from your current home can help connect them to your current life.  If they use to live where you live now, getting a care package with some of their favourite and now hard to get items will certainly brighten their day. Just remember that sometimes it is the littlest things (ie inexpensive gifts and trinkets) that can show how much you care.
4. Use Electronic Mail. Of course  make sure you both have each other’s e-mail addresses so you can keep in contact online.  As great as ‘snail mail’ can be, it can also be great to just quickly check in online with your friends.  Especially during stressful times and during hardships, being able to get a quick message or make sure your frined is okay shows how valuable email can be.   
5. Chat Online. You can also use instant messenger services online.  For example with MSN, AIM, Yahoo, and Google you can talk with your friends and do so all at once in a chat. There is nothing like turning on your computer and checking your inbox for updates from your friends.  
6. Video Chat.  Face time can be some of the best time shared between friends who are separated by distance.  There is nothing like being able to see your friend and watch their reactions as you talk.  Video conferencing now a days is even better than when it was first available to the public.  Using services such as Google Hangout you can talk to more than one friend all at the same time.  Depending on the quality of the connection it can be the next best thing to seeing your friend in person. 
7.  Make Plans.  It is easier to keep in touch with friends when you know you have plans to see each other.  Before it use to be hard to return back home because in the nomadic community that means the home you once knew may not be the same one to where your return.  It becomes not only the question to how you will get there, but where will you stay, where will you go when you get there and what do you do with your things when you do? Using the website Friends of Friends Travel, you can plan your next trip to see each other or even travel together to a new destination. The best part of FOF Travel is that you keep your travel network within your friends and their friends so when you travel you know that you are safe.  Within your travel network you have many different services you offer and take advantage of complimentary. Be it a place stay, a change to meet up with a trustworthy and friendly local, somewhere to leave your stuff, and access to travel advice and tips.  If you become a premium member at FOF Travel you get access to a whole line of travel services that include (and not limited to) flights, travel insurance and tour packages.  No longer do you have to reminisce about the good time and wish you could go back to the places you once lived and where you have traveled.  The world is at your fingertips with your social travel network at FOF Travel.  All you have to do then is make a plan to see each other.  Where you go from there is up to you. 
8. Be Assertive.  Step up and contact your friend.  Do not wait on them to make the first move, for them to check up on you, or to get a letter from them.  Make it your responsibility to keep in touch. Friendship is a two way street, but sometimes all it needs is a jump start from one end to revive itself.
9. Ask questions.  It is so easy to share information about our own lives. Make sure to think about questions a head of time and even write them down if you need too.  Keep your friendship strong by making sure the relationship is not all about you.  Even if you have known someone a long time, by asking questions you are letting them know you care and letting them be open with you about how they feel about a certain subject.  In turn they are letting you into their life, sharing themselves with you and furthering the bond of trust in the relationship.  The important part is to make sure your friend knows that you care about them. 
10. Go with the Flow. Friendships and relationships all have peaks and valleys.  Do not get strung out or dramatic when at times things dont seem to be the same as they used to be.  Just go with the flow and work on the above steps to keep your friendship refreshed.  
*See this Article on Friends of Friends Travel:
**For more information on Third Culture Kids, TCKs, and ATCKS
***Photographs and wording belong to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All rights reserved |