Today I’m delighted to host a guest post from author Liese Sherwood-Fabre, an author and expat. I almost said ‘previous exptat’ or ‘one-time expat’ there, since Liese is back home in her native country now, but then it struck me that once you’re an expat, you’re always an expat. Living abroad and dealing with another culture and often another language changes you and brings out qualities you never knew you had, and I don’t think you ever lose those.
But over to Liese whose book Saving Hope, an exciting thriller set in Russia and involving a deadly virus, is definitely one to read. I’ll be reviewing it in detail imminently on my www.booksarecool.com website.
Outside of the Pioneer Woman Museum in Ponca City, Oklahoma is a statue of a sun-bonneted woman holding the hand of a young boy marching toward the southwest. It bears the inscription, “In appreciation of the heroic character of the women who braved the dangers and endured the hardships incident to daily life of the pioneer and homesteader in this country.”
Like many in the US, I have ancestors who could have been the model for this statue. In my own way, I carried on their tradition, but going in a different direction. For ten years, I lived abroad, following my husband as he took jobs on several overseas assignments. We left the states with two young boys, aged two and five, and returned with the boys and a girl, ages eight, eleven, and fifteen. I also returned with a deep appreciation for other expatriate women I met in the three different countries where we lived.
While maybe not facing the same deprivations of the first pioneers (for the most part, running water and electricity are available), at times these wives and mothers had to learn to make do just like those heading west. One woman who had lived in mainland China told me about baking her own bread with flour she imported from Hong Kong and making her own sausage from pork purchased at a local market. Another woman who wanted to make sure her children could continue to play soccer worked with the American Youth Soccer Organization to create a Moscow-based league. Thanks to her efforts as well as a number of other expatriate families, my children spent every Saturday playing soccer, basketball, or baseball with a “United Nations” mix of teammates. I recall hearing parents encourage their children in Russian, French, German, and English. These women would also organize to address needs they saw around them by raising funds or volunteering at local charities.
They will never get a statue in their honor, but I think they deserve one. What extraordinary feats have you seen expatriate women do? Do you consider them as having some of the traits of the older pioneers?
Subscribe via RSS