Tuesday, August 31, 2010
A big thank you to everyone who wrote in with valuable feedback on our first podcast.
As a result of those comments I'm delighted to say that we now have a RSS feed at http://www.expatfocus.com/podcast.xml for those who wish to subscribe and be kept informed about future shows and we also have a downloadable MP3 file for anyone who would prefer to download the first show to their PC/iPod/etc.
Thanks again and keep those comments coming!
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Today sees the launch of the Expat Focus podcast (a radio show you can listen to or download from the internet for those who aren't familiar with the term!)
In our first show we talk to expat author, and Expat Focus columnist, Toni Hargis about her writing career and what it takes to make a living in the world of expatriate books and blogs. We also talk to Oliver Heslop to get his expert advice on expat UK taxation matters.
We hope you enjoy the podcast and welcome feedback and suggestions for future shows!
Listen to the podcast at http://www.expatfocus.com/podcast
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Watch the videos at http://www.expatexpert.com/video_lectures
Friday, August 20, 2010
by Expat Focus columnist, Toni Hargis
| About the Author |
Toni Hargis is the author of the popular expat book "Rules, Britannia; An Insider’s Guide to Life in the United Kingdom" and blogs as Expat Mum
These days, with the advent of the Internet, it sometimes seems like global relocation is no more arduous than popping down to your local supermarket for a pint of milk. Web sites and blogs such as Expat Focus mean that would-be emigrants and global nomads can literally find a house to rent on the other side of the world before setting foot outside their own country. Visa applications can often be tracked online, somewhat alleviating that arduous process. Isn't it great?
Recently on my Expat Mum blog, I had a request for information from an English woman about to move to the Chicago suburbs. Not only was I able to answer her questions, but by posting her letter on my blog, my readers added to my response. It might not sound like much, but knowing not to bother buying a winter coat in the UK (more expensive and not up to the job) is one less thing to worry about when you're in the throes of packing your life up into moving boxes. Additionally, she'll hear from people who have less of a horror about the remote suburbs than I do, and thus will end up with a more balanced picture...
Read more at http://www.expatfocus.com/toni-hargis
by Expat Focus columnist, Victoria Twead
|About the Author|
They are building a new council building in the village which should be ready in time for the Fiesta. But we won’t attend the opening celebration. And we won’t be dancing at the Fiesta.
I’m busy writing the sequel to ‘Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools’. It will be called ‘Two Old Fools - Olé’ but I won’t finish it here in Spain, in our village.
Isn’t it astonishing how one click of the mouse can change your life forever?
It was Joe’s fault, of course. We haven’t actually been employed since 2004 when we moved to Spain. We manage quite well, but the battering the Euro has taken in the Credit Crunch hasn’t helped our finances. So when Joe saw an advertisement for teaching posts in Bahrain, he applied.
To our amazement, the response was immediate. “Mr Joe, We are most interested in your application. Please forward copies of your qualifications.” So he did.
Then it snowballed. Not only did the Bahraini school want Joe as a Maths teacher, but they wanted me, too, to teach English in their Middle School. The salary isn’t huge, but it’s tax-free, and they will provide a two-bedroomed flat with all utilities paid, medical insurance, flights to and from Bahrain and transport to work. And the best part? It’s only for ONE YEAR...
Read more at http://www.expatfocus.com/victoria-twead
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Expat Focus will shortly be producing a radio show/podcast where we discuss expat issues, talk to expats and interview expat service providers.
Would you be interested in participating in an upcoming show? The shows will be short (around 10 minutes in length) with each individual interview/discussion expected to last no more than 5 minutes.
We're particularly interested in hearing from expats who have met some kind of adversity when moving abroad so that others can be warned of potential challenges or dangers but it won't all be doom and gloom - we want to hear the success stories too!
If you'd like to be involved (interviews will be carried out by phone or Skype) or would like to learn more please email Carole at firstname.lastname@example.org without obligation. Please include a brief description of your background and what subject matter you would like to discuss, thank you!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Every six months or so somewhere in a Sydney suburb a "Household Clearance" day is happening...
On this day households are allowed to pile their grass verges (called nature strips here) with all manner of rubbish. Some households will only put out a small neat pile while others will spend the whole day trailing up and down their driveways piling up their verge until little or no grass can be seen! I actually love "chuck out" day - I take the dog on a long meandering walk and casually mooch around to see what I can find. I am currently looking for an old hanging chandelier which I can covert into a tasteful outdoor tealight holder (as seen in the "Home and Garden" Magazine March issue) but no luck so far...
Seems like I am not the only one to relish this special day ...Streets are suddenly filled with white vans trawling up and down looking for aluminum items and electrical wire that can be sold and recycled. Others are looking for old bikes to repair and the gardeners come out to salvage old pots and useful pieces of fencing.
This day also seems to bring out hoards of local kids (mine included) who will spend the day playing with old broken toys, riding down the driveways on old office chairs and making racing carts from old bits of wood.
Yes chuck out is somewhat of an event in my neighborhood!! They say you can tell a lot from what people throw out...so here are my top ten items that I ALWAYS see in the rubbish piles...
Outdoor furniture (broken and well used)
Surfboards and bodyboards (damaged)
Pool toys (noodles etc)
Twisted wine racks.
Plasma TV boxes (great for watching sport)
Northern Beaches Lifestyle in a nutshell !!!!!!!
Meanwhile I will keep looking for my chandelier...
Lesley runs a relocation service on the Northern Beaches in Sydney. Helping families locate the schools and services they need.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
|Mosques lit up during Ramazan|
On August 11th 2010 the holy month of Ramazan starts. One of the first things I usually notice is the arrival of packets of dates in the supermarkets - one can’t generally find them at other times of the year. Many people like to break their fast with a sip of water and a date or an olive. My dear old father-in-law used to.
In recent years there has been the introduction of various types and prices of Erzak box. Every supermarket has a choice of them on sale. Erzak means supplies or provisions, so these Erzak boxes are given to people one wishes to remember and help during the month of fasting. The box might have a packet of sugar, a packet of tea, a bottle of oil and some other groceries. It’s a handy way of letting people know you care about them, are thinking about them during this special time and of fulfilling Ramazan duties. Many people have some idea about what happens during Ramazan. Fasting is from sunrise to sunset, no food or drink must pass the lips. The time is also used to offer more prayers, ask for guidance and forgiveness as well try to perform good deeds and practice self-restraint.
Is it all right to eat and drink outside during Ramazan in Turkey? In my opinion the answer is yes and no. When in Rome, do as the Romans do is a good rule of thumb. If you are in a touristic area and many people are sitting outside in cafes etc. having a meal or a drink, then it’s fine. If one is in a street, region, village or town where there don’t seem to be any restaurants open let alone people munching away as they go about their business, then it would be wise and courteous to refrain. Staff working in eating places might be fasting themselves but are happy to serve customers. There may not be seating outside in certain places but it is fine to sit inside to have a meal. Alcohol may not be available in certain areas and again it’s best to use one’s discretion.
The breaking of the fast meal at sunset is called Iftar. In some towns and cities notice that it’s time to break the fast is given by having a canon go off! Otherwise people just listen out for the ezan, the call to prayer. Delicious flat pide bread is served along with soup and light dishes of different vegetables. Heavier meals may be served later. Some hotels and restaurants serve elegant, luxurious banquets; while local municipalities serve free meals and everyone is welcome.
It is a tradition for drummers to go around in the middle of the night to wake people who wish to fast so that they can prepare and eat the early morning meal before sunrise, called Sahur. If one doesn’t know what’s going on, the drumming can be very loud and even frightening!
Another lovely tradition is that the mosques and minarets are lit up with many lights, some even spell out beautiful phrases. One example is ‘Intercede for us, Prophet of God.’
Being in Turkey at Ramazan can be an exciting, interesting and joyful experience!
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