Category Archives: abroad

Mothering Sunday

Today is Mothering Sunday in England.  
Let me wish all the new mums in England a wonderful first Mum’s Day!  
(Shout out to Lauren at Aspring Kennedy
This morning we had a delicious paleo breakfast of eggs, bacon and avocado with our tea.
In the typical rush fashion of getting the four of us ready for Church,
we arrived late fashionably on time.  
I do love walking briskly up the road as the church bells beckon us near.
Ronan and Maddox were asked to be in the morning procession, 
with Ronan carrying the cross towards the front.  
Maddox, in younger brother mode, made some sort of silly face 
as he followed up behind.
I was really touched seeing Ronan, my eight year old, pass out all the flower bouquets
to the mums in church today.  He is growing up to be such a sweet gentleman.
Its hard to believe that I’ve been a mum for eight years now.
So many friends of mine are having babies and my youngest is nearly six.
I would be lying if I said I did not have baby on the brain. 
Children are such a blessing and I cannot imagine life without my boys. 
A little shout out also to my mum (aka ‘Nonna’) who gave birth to me thirty years ago
in Oxford, England and paved the way for this expat living abroad. 
My mum is spoiled.  She gets Mothering Sunday with me
and Mother’s Day with my sister Zoë.
Love you mum. 

Expat Living: Highs & Lows

It has been a busy week for this expat living in Bath, England.
If you follow my instagram you may have seen the budding flowers. 
I am so happy about this that its hard to walk down the street
without snapping a photo of the signs of Spring.
I had been asked by an Expat Blog to do an interview about my life living
abroad and advice to other expats and those hoping to cross over the pond. 
In this I realized that there is only really one thing that gets me down.
Life in England is a little more expensive than if we had chose to live stateside.
I have friends who own their own two story houses with basements and land.
While that looks nice in photograph, I would not give up my tiny washing machine and
drying my clothes over the heater to not seeing the views I have outside my window.
With our 10 year Vow Renewal coming up, I look forward to sharing those views
as the backdrop to our ceremony and photographs. 
I have however found out that life does not have to be so expensive in England and 
hopefully within the next couple of months things may start becoming more smooth 
as we continue our transition into our new home here in Batheaston. 
Anyone interested in seeing a house tour of where we live?
While I was out with my friend Libby yesterday having one of the best Chai lattes,
we discussed going out weekly to try out different venues in our Bath area.
Which would be great because there is somewhere special that I hope to share
with all you blog readers next week. 
Speaking of surprises.
I was suprised this week to find out that I was chosen to be a VIP blogger
for Britain Style Bloggers at Bristol Fashion Week. 
 I added the official button on the side bar and wil be tweeting on Twitter about it.
Look for the hashtags: #BFWSS13#BristolFashionWeek
Until that awesome time later this month I have a special guest blogger
to share something special with you. Something else to look forward to next week!
Thank you to all the new readers and if you found me from Across the Pond
Thank you and I’m glad you came this way. 

Living in England during the Gulf War

Part of being a Third Culture Kid (TCK) is how the memories of your developmental years shape the rest of your life.  There have been two periods of my life as a young girl where I lived in England. My father, a USAF officer, was stationed in England for three tours for a total of nine years.  Two of those were at military bases of Upper Heyford in Oxfordshire and Lakenheath in Norfolk.  During his years at Lakenheath AFB, we lived on the economy in a small village called Saham Toney  All the other American children I knew went to school on base, while I went to the primary school in the village.  My mum has recollected how being the only American family in that village was a positive situation for us while the Gulf War, codenamed Operation Desert Storm, took place.  It was a time period in 1990 to 1991 where my father was absent from my memories of Norfolk, England.

I remember the day my dad walked me home from school and talked to me about the war going on in a place that seemed so far way.  I would have been about eight years old, the same age my son Ronan is now.  We discussed about the other missing fathers and mothers who were off fighting the war already.  He held my hand as we walked and began to tell me he would be going away too.  I was so sad and did not want to believe the news.  I remember asking about my mum and how she took the news.  What would we do while he was away at war?  Did he really have to go?

He did.  I understood it was part of his job in the military.  Something I accepted as all military dependents do.  I could not have asked for a better place to be during that time than in that small village going to school in a place that seemed so far away from all things war related.  I was the only child whose parent was off fighting in the war.  I did not have to be reminded daily by seeing other military men and women in uniform or by the tearful eyes of other families missing their loved ones.  We were so taken care of by everyone at that primary school and by our friends in the village.  Even the kindness of strangers by those who lived near by and knew of the American family who lived at that farm house.
It is a period of great memories and I am today facebook friends with classmates of mine from that time.

What really helped was having my friends at school and being involved in activities like Brownies (version of girl scouts).  I remember putting on a play for our Brownie troop with my friends with a script based off of the American Girl Doll, Molly, who grew up stateside during WWII.  We used to have it on video, and watching an american play with us little girls all in english accents was priceless.

Most of my favourite memories are from years growing up in Europe and many of them include my dad now that he is really gone.  One of the best memories I have is when I was finishing up a day from school.  It was the afternoon and I had just completed a game of field hockey with the other girls and we were now changing to go home for the day.  A classmate ran into the room and exclaimed to me that my father was outside.  I remember shaking off the news with out a care because I knew my dad was not there.  He was a world away. He was in a desert.  He was not in England and certainly not at my school.  Grabbing my belongings I left the school building to be proven very wrong as my eyes met  my fathers.  I remember the way he looked. He looked so tall (from my short stature of being a young girl) and so tanned.  I do not remember my father every looking so dark. He was smiling and I dont remember if I dropped my bag or ran with it under my arm. But I ran all the way to be greeted by his arms in a hug.  To be honest my eyes are filled with tears as I write this because it was such a happy memory.  Times when I wish I had my father now I wish I could just close my eyes and open them again to see that same smiling face.  To be able to give him one more hug. To hear him say ‘I love you’.

That would not be the last time my dad would be away.  More reasons and situations would call him away and more memories without him would be made. However my memory of him being gone so frequently is outweighed by all the wonderful and beautiful memories we shared together during his life. Many of which involve my land of birth, England.

Travel Thursday: Be Smart with your Vacation Photos

Ryan and I on the funicolare in Napoli, Italy taken by my friend and photographer,  Liisa Roberts.

I have always considered Napoli, Italia fondly with a special place in my heart.  I had the pleasure of living in this historical city twice in my life during my childhood.  For a total of six years Napoli, also known as Naples, still holds the ranking title of the longest place I have lived in my lifetime.  I begin this travel post in this way to explain quite clearly why ‘I should have known better’.  That was a statement I said quite frequently after having my phone stolen.  It is pictured here in a newly acquired (but not for long) case from one of the amazing markets in downtown Napoli.  

When I go on vacation I travel with my DSLR, which I carry like my baby and protect with my life.  However I have not always been as smart with that precious item either.  Whether you plan to take photos with your phone, a small point and shoot digital camera, or a higher end DSLR with a range of lenses, these would be my tips for traveling with said items.
Be Smart with your Vacation Photos:
1. Be prepared.  Decide which camera/s you will be taking and make sure you bring all the necessary accessories.  Depending on what is normally in your camera bag, pack accordingly.  Make sure you travel with your battery (and spares), your charger, memory card/s, and a memory card reader. I would also suggest your lens cloth to clean your lens.  
2. Be smart.  For those with multiple lenses a tip I would share is making sure your lens caps have an elastic attachment so that when you take them off they are still tethered to the lens.  Its really easy to lose a cap or look like a target for a thief when you are juggling many items. I’ve nearly dropped and lost a lens cap or two trying to capture a photo in slightly dangerous spot.  The less you have to worry about can be the better.
3. Be cautious.  Do enjoy your vacation and do not allow negative stimgas to ruin a memory.  But with that said remember this ‘everyone is suspicous’.  So if you are in a more crowded area, tighter space like a train, or just out in a busy part of a city be aware of your surroundings.  I lost my phone while I was holding my DSLR tightly but then snapping a photo of a delicious Neapolitan pizza.  My phone was quickly and easily grabbed from my hand and it went on a chase with a thief who jumped on the back of a moped and was gone in a flash.  I was too comfortable being ‘home’ and should have really been more cautious. Lesson learned.  
4. Less is More.  Piggy backing off of the previous tip I have learned that less is more in regards to the digital age.  When I lived in Italy before I was taking photos by film and new exactly how many exposures I had left on that roll of film. No I can easily take hundreds of photos in a day with both my phone and my camera.  I will use my camera for certain shots and my phone for less conspicuous and more artsy shots with fun filters.  I would say rely on one camera for one moment and don’t get so distracted by capturing that you miss out on the moment or let someone take advantage of your touristic endeavors. 
5. Keep it safe.  Back up at the end of every day when you are on vacation.  Clear those photos off your phone and onto your hard drive.  Load them online to a drop box, flickr account, etc.  Its best to have your photos saved and stored in more than one place.  If you do happen to get something stolen or lose a bag, you can rest assured that your photos are safe.
My favourite thing about traveling is being able to reminisce the moments and memories in the years to come and share with my family and friends.  I have lost photos from my phone being stolen and from back up cds being lost in a move.  Enjoy your travels and be smart when taking and saving your vacation photos.  
An extra word of advice: Do not let your photos collect dust inside your computer to not see the light of day.  Photographs are getting lost and forgotten in this digital age.  If you are going to take the time to capture your experiences, print them and display them in your home.  
What advice or lessons have you learned why traveling with your camera?  I would love to hear your stories, comment down below. :) 

Diagram of a Third Culture Kid

I found out about the term Third Culture Kid while I was in University and after I was married.  Since this time I have continued reading, researching, and searching out more answers about being a TCK.  Not only for sharing with others or for understanding of myself but because I now raise two of my own sons in a cross cultural world.  

I like to write and share about my experiences growing up in my nomadic lifestyle because I hope to reach out to another person, whom like me years ago had no idea what it was to be a TCK.  Nor how life impacting being a TCK was to every facet of their life.

It is all part of who I am and who I have become as a mother raising her two sons.  It is why I love to move and travel.  It is why I feel more comfortable in an airport than visiting family relations who have never lived abroad.  


Here is my story of my realization of who I am and where I truly belong. 

FALL 2003
Newlyweds and currently attending Harding University, my husband and I were excited about attending our first missions forum as we were keen to do mission work upon graduation.  This was my answer to how I would get to live overseas again and I may have been a little more excited than Ryan. So excited in fact that I mistakingly I locked and shut the passenger door of our car.  Which would be fine except that Ryan had stepped out to go to the bank and the car was still running with our keys in the ignition.  Not to mention the bus from the University was presently waiting for the last of us stragglers to get on board to leave for the mission forum.  Campus security was not going to be able to get it unlocked with the coat hanger technique and there was no spare key back at our on campus flat.  The university faculty member attending the mission forum was now overseeing our ‘break into the car’ situation.  He at this time was carrying his daughter’s car keys which he did not normally have on him.  The were to a completely different make and model car than my husband’s red saturn coup. However the professor thought to try it and in one quick moment the car was unlocked.  It was a miracle.  To this day I can see no other reason for it.  Perhaps it was God’s way of telling us that this weekend would be more important than we would truly realize that weekend.    

Since Ryan and I had started dating were inseparable.  Yes we were one of those obnoxious couples.  As newly married I still do not see why we split up to go to different sessions at one part of the missions forum.  But for whatever reason Ryan wanted to listen to one speaker and I felt strongly compelled to hear another.  It was a young woman talking about growing up on the mission field and it was lead by a former missionary kid (MK).  I sat near the front of the room and listened to what I thought would be an interesting foresight on being a missionary family.  She started talking about her life and about the term TCK and her reactions to moving to the US.  In the missionary circle, this term TCK I would learn soon after was widely known.  I however grew up in a military circuit where its more uncommon to grow up on military bases overseas and not return the the US after one tour. TCK meant nothing to me until she started to explain what it meant for her ‘returning to the US’, to the home of her parents’ culture.

When she was finished I was doing all I could to hold back the tears. I remember what it was like moving to the US, and how a lifetime of moving never prepared me for how hard it would be to try to fit into that world.  My own parents did not understand why it was so hard on me.  After her lecture I composed myself and went to talk to her about what she had said.  I told her how finally it had clicked and I felt like I knew who I was or where I belonged.  That knowing I was a TCK was more impacting than I would have ever thought.  She gave me a lot of comfort and information on Third Culture Kids. From there I practically ran to find my husband so that I could share with him this revelation of my life to him. I cannot remember if tears finally were shed at this moment or not. But there was definitely a release of emotion felt. I just let it all out and shared to him everything that was racing through my brain, my heart and my soul. 

From then on life and the understanding of it changed for us.  It is kinda hard to explain unless you have gone through the same sort of experience, whether you are a TCK or not. It was like going through life thinking I knew who I was, though I never really belonged to a country or culture fully. I never fully felt excepted by an country or culture. Moving back to the states I felt isolated, alone, and as if I was a ‘nobody from nowhere’. Now all of a sudden there is a spotlight on me and I can see clearly. I know who I am and I belong somewhere, even if it is not a ‘place’ per se but belonging to a small group of people. It was a tremendous weight lifted from my shoulders. Even though I still had a lot of emotional baggage and looking at my life to do, I felt I finally had a sense of direction to go from.

Though I had grown up as a TCK, this was the beginning of my journey as a ATCK (Adult Third Culture Kid).  

The rest of the weekend was insightful and blessed. We got in touch with a group called Let’s Start Talking which sent us to Bangkok, Thailand that summer to teach English and build relationships with the Thai people.  It began our life together as a married couple who would eventually keep traveling overseas until we finally made our home abroad.

Romantic Getaway to Paris

The infamous lock bridge in the Paris, France
Happy Valentines Day to all my readers!  To celebrate the day for ‘Travel Thursday’ we will look at a romantic trip to Paris.  Having grown up in Europe there are many places that I wish to return to now as an adult.  Getting to return to Paris on the arm of my husband was the perfect beginning to a romantic two days in the city of love. While you do not necessarily need a reason to go, we went this past August for our 9th wedding anniversary.
“In French, you don’t really say ‘I miss you.’  ‘You say ‘tu me manques,’ 
which is closer to ‘you are missing from me.’  
I love that. ‘You are missing from me.’ 
You are a part of me, you are essential to my being.
You are like a limb, or an organ, or blood.
I cannot function without you.”
– unknown
Using the website Airbnb we rented a studio flat in the Belleville, Ile-de-France.  This beautiful neighborhood is about a twenty five minute commute by public transport to the Musée du Louvre.  We really enjoyed in the parisian flat in lieu of a room at hotel because we felt like we were living in Paris and could not easily spot another tourist in the area.  The neighborhood was peaceful and the view from our window was beautiful as it overlooked Parc des Buttes Chaumont.  The nearest metro station was minutes away and we were able to purchase fresh bagettes and french cheeses at a nearby shop.
Parc des Buttes Chaumont includes the belvedere of Sybil, which sits atop of the 30 metre peak of the island in the park’s partially surrounded lake.  The other sights include several English and Chinese gardens, a grotto with waterfall, and bridges.

We were recommended by the owner of the flat to check out the park at sundown to see the spectacular views from on top of the highest point.  We enjoyed a dinner one evening doing just that and having a picnic together on the gentle sloping hill. I would also recommend taking photos at the belvedere of Sybil.  It is a Corinthian-style monument, modeled after the ancient Roman Temple of Vestain Tivoli, Italy. I think it makes a beautiful backdrop and so I had my husband model for me.

I brought a pair of heels to wear for our anniversary. But to be fair I knew we would be doing quite a bit of walking on our anniversary and so I opted to wear flats.  My husband and I love going out on walks together and walking around Paris taking photographs of the beauty around us was just heavenly. 

Also I might add that we went to the famous cemetery in Paris where it seems everyone who is someone is buried.  I will blog about this at a later time because I took quite a lot of photographs.  It was a short walking distance from our flat.
After our walking tour to see the parisian sights we spent our 9th wedding anniversary having dinner at the Le Pre aux Clercs.  I will say this was the most expensive meal we had on our trip but it is Paris and it was a special occasion.  Besides the amazing service, nice atmosphere  it was the food that won me over. To this day I had one of the best steaks I have ever eaten in Paris, France.  It was a perfect place for us.

Le Pre aux Clercs 30 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris, France
How do you spend your anniversary in Paris fashion?  Our answer was to channel Audrey Hepburn and go to a jazz club.  We chose Caveau Des Oubliettes which is a jazz club underground in a dungeon. Epic.  It was laid back and very chill.  Next trip I plan we are definitely coming back. Perhaps a Jazz club hop?

 We also made a detour to make sure to check out the Moulin Rouge for our photo album.

How do you end the perfect romantic trip to Paris?  Definitely if you see the Eiffel tower during the day, make sure to see it at night time.  The best part is when they turn the blinking lights on for the light show.  C’est magnifique!

*All Photographs belong to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved 

Snowing in Bath

I knew I had acclimated back to life in England when I started using the weather app frequently on my phone and actually talking about the weather in conversations.   This morning I saw we had 90% chance of snow fall in the afternoon and started to get excited.  Sure enough after lunch  my kids started talking excitedly about the heavy snowflakes falling outside.  Unfortunately it only lasted a little while and we were left with no reminder. After our first snow fall of 2013 last month we are left longing for more.  We had so much fun going into town and seeing all the architecture covered in the white snow. Of course back at home there were plenty of snowball fights, snowmen and snow forts that were built.   In England we get plenty of rain but the snow is always so magical to me. 
Here for the first time on the blog are photographs from the snow we had fun enjoying while it lasted. 
Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 – Bath, England
Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 – Bath, England

Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 – Bath, England
Self Portrait on timer by Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013

My husband with my sons enjoying the snowfall with plenty of snowball fights.
Our neighbourhood looking beautiful covered in a blanket of snow. 
Icicles hanging from our house in Batheaston, England
Self Portrait by Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 – Bath, England

For everyone else getting snow this winter, what has been your favourite thing about it?

*Photography by Bonnie Rose Photography ©2013 All Rights Reserved.