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The Culture Blend BLOG

If you have EVER lived abroad or love someone who does, there is something here for you. 

Scroll through below or click on “Blog” in the top right to pick a category.  Hit the magnifying glass to search. 

Enjoy — and Thanks for Reading!

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Why expats love community — and struggle to find it again

  I love me some community. Who doesn't? Am I right? It's one of those super-slick buzz words that makes every experience sound better. "Yeah, we live in a mud hut, have no internet, eat tree moss and get malaria twice a year . . . but the sense of community is...

Asia is the new Illinois: Why I Love Raising Global Kids – Part 1 (of about a million)

  A little back story . . . I grew up in the largest cornfield in the world. Illinois, (one of 50 United States), is geographically and politically broken into two distinct regions. Chicago and corn. You could literally travel for hours in any direction from my home...

I Could Be Wrong: The Plague of Expat Perfectionism

I fear your criticism. I thought I would be better at this. I procrastinate. I sometimes feel like I'm faking it to get by. If people knew ________ they would be SO disappointed. I start things and never finish them. I want you to think I look good. I need you to...

How to ask GREAT Cross-Cultural Questions

  Hey, if you haven't already signed up, don't miss the free ebook at the bottom of this post: 99 Questions for Global Friends.   I love sitting down with people who have different lenses than I do. I'm fascinated by the reality that we can look at the exact same...

The Power of Questions and the Problem with Answers

 If you are living cross-culturally lean in a little bit here.  This is important and frankly a bit confusing. Here we go. Asking questions is quite possibly the most significant determiner of your success or failure abroad. The evidence is in and the case studies...

An Expat Husband’s Manifesto

    Spoiler alert for the young and in love . . . marriage is hard.   One more for anyone considering a life abroad. That's hard too.   You read it here first.   My wife and I have been living both of those realities for a good, long time and to be honest we thought...

Five Things Every New Expat Should Know

  There is nothing in the world like the beginning of a cross-cultural experience.   It is a jumbled, beautiful mess of every possible emotion, wrapped in giddy wonder, coated in absolute confusion.   Chances are, if you're just beginning your expat adventure, you've...

Ten Questions That EVERY Expat (or Repat) Parent Should Ask About Their Kids

  Let's start with a quick summary of this whole post.   This is a longer one (at least for a blog post) so let's break it up.  I'll give you all ten questions up front and then you can work through the rest as you please. There are lots of resources and extras below...

Creativity Abroad: Turning Global Family Facts Into Practical Connections

Creativity changes things.  It just does.   Data stirs things up.  It makes us think.  Opens our eyes.  Boils our blood. But it changes nothing. I love Statistics.  Especially the cultural ones.  I geek out on the numbers that peel back the layers and show me...

ROOTFULNESS: The flipside of the TCK stereotype

ROOTLESSNESS. It's the plague of the "TCK" isn't it.  Kids growing up cross-culturally have been branded with a scarlet letter R. I get it.  It's an understandable, tangible way to illustrate some of the challenges that come with this life and on one level it makes...

Going Home When Everything Has Changed: 10 Tips for Repatriating in the Context of Current Events

Here we go again. We're ramping up for the annual reminder that expats say "goodbye" an awful lot  --  Some because they are leaving and others because they are not. It feels different this time though.  All of the same old repatriation dynamics apply but there is a...

Scenery, Machinery, People — Rethinking our view of humans

  Alicja Iwanska is about to blow your mind? note -- unless you are Polish you probably just pronounced this name wrong in your head.  No judgment here.  Iwanska was a 20th century anthropologist who made one of the most simply profound and profoundly simple...

Oops, I went home for Christmas — How to readjust to life abroad after a quick trip “home”

This post is specifically for the masses who have been transitioning to a new life abroad and thought that a quick trip home for the holidays might be exactly what they needed to crush their culture shock and get rid of that pesky homesickness. You know who you are....

When I was your age — An Expat Dad’s Note to His Kids

Listen up young lady.  You too young man. When I was your age we knew the value of staying in one spot.  We planted roots and they ran deep.  We didn't run off galavanting on some fancy schmancy airplane or traipsing through some foreign country trying to speak some...

Yep — I’m still an ugly American

Ever get smacked in the face with your own hypocrisy?  It stings. There are four things you should know before I move forward: ONE:  It's my job to teach people how NOT to act in China.      •  Show some respect      •  Go easy on the stereotypes      •  Don't be a...

Investing in Traditions That Travel Well

  Life abroad is a trade off isn't it?  You give some things up.  You get some things back. Some would call it a sacrifice which is perfectly accurate for so many.  I prefer the term investment for myself.  Both start with letting go of something but a sacrifice let's...

Moving abroad will fix all of your issues . . . and other lies

Ahh moving abroad . . . that'll fix it. A fresh start.  A new leaf.  A change of scenery.  That's what I need to break me out of the unhealthy rhythms and dysfunctional habits I've been carrying with me for years. Right? The people reading this are having at least...

Expat Poison

Assumption poisons transition.  Let's explore that. Life abroad can be incredible . . . and challenging . . . and wonderful . . . and horrible. Transition from one space, one place, one system and one normal to another is an ongoing process. Even after the initial...

That was a stupid idea — until we thought of it: The cultural phenomenon of squatting toilets, split pants and giant hickeys

Part of my job is to prepare people for toilets in China.   Don't be jealous. Many a Western style traveler now have a killer party story to tell because they were caught off guard in an Eastern style bathroom. The odors alone are generally enough but that is never...

One of the top five free, expat, humor ebooks you’ll read this week — or double your money back.

I love living abroad.  I really do. Even the stressful stuff cracks me up. Like the time I got 28 enormous hickeys on my back or the day I discovered I might be Amish. You can't make this stuff up. Life as a bumbling foreigner makes me laugh -- some days simply...

Why expats love community — and struggle to find it again

  I love me some community. Who doesn't? Am I right? It's one of those super-slick buzz words that makes every experience sound better. "Yeah, we live in a mud hut, have no internet, eat tree moss and get malaria twice a year . . . but the sense of community is...

I Could Be Wrong: The Plague of Expat Perfectionism

I fear your criticism. I thought I would be better at this. I procrastinate. I sometimes feel like I'm faking it to get by. If people knew ________ they would be SO disappointed. I start things and never finish them. I want you to think I look good. I need you to...

How to ask GREAT Cross-Cultural Questions

  Hey, if you haven't already signed up, don't miss the free ebook at the bottom of this post: 99 Questions for Global Friends.   I love sitting down with people who have different lenses than I do. I'm fascinated by the reality that we can look at the exact same...

The Power of Questions and the Problem with Answers

 If you are living cross-culturally lean in a little bit here.  This is important and frankly a bit confusing. Here we go. Asking questions is quite possibly the most significant determiner of your success or failure abroad. The evidence is in and the case studies...

An Expat Husband’s Manifesto

    Spoiler alert for the young and in love . . . marriage is hard.   One more for anyone considering a life abroad. That's hard too.   You read it here first.   My wife and I have been living both of those realities for a good, long time and to be honest we thought...

Five Things Every New Expat Should Know

  There is nothing in the world like the beginning of a cross-cultural experience.   It is a jumbled, beautiful mess of every possible emotion, wrapped in giddy wonder, coated in absolute confusion.   Chances are, if you're just beginning your expat adventure, you've...

ROOTFULNESS: The flipside of the TCK stereotype

ROOTLESSNESS. It's the plague of the "TCK" isn't it.  Kids growing up cross-culturally have been branded with a scarlet letter R. I get it.  It's an understandable, tangible way to illustrate some of the challenges that come with this life and on one level it makes...

Scenery, Machinery, People — Rethinking our view of humans

  Alicja Iwanska is about to blow your mind? note -- unless you are Polish you probably just pronounced this name wrong in your head.  No judgment here.  Iwanska was a 20th century anthropologist who made one of the most simply profound and profoundly simple...