Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Global Mom: Eight Countries, Sixteen Addresses, Five Languages, One Family

Expat Focus talks to Melissa Dalton-Bradford about her Memoir - Global Mom: Eight Countries, Sixteen Addresses, Five Languages, One Family—a Memoir about her fantastic journey of motherhood that will inspire any family.

Melissa, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m an American by birth and by passport, but like many of your readers, I’m a good solid Citizen of the World. I was raised primarily in the great American west by parents who had studied and worked in Germany, spoke fluent German, and subsequently kept their secrets from us in German. We cracked that code, there were no more secrets, and my passion for languages (and discovering the world) was ignited.

With my parents and siblings I spent portions of my upbringing in Austria (Salzburg and Vienna), then worked and studied in Austria during my university years and as a young married graduate student. (My husband, who’s American, who’d lived in and loved Germany, and spoke the kind of German that made my jaws and heart melt. I was wooed by his umlauts.) Together, we launched an international career and family trajectory––me writing and mothering, him businessing and fathering–– that has spanned over 20 years and has taken us to Hong Kong, Oslo, Versailles, Paris, Munich, Singapore and finally to Geneva, where we currently live with the youngest two of our four children in a village close to the banks of Lac LĂ©man.

You recently published your memoir - Global Mom: Eight Countries, Sixteen Addresses, Five Languages, One Family. What is the book about?

Global Mom: A Memoir is, as New York Times best-selling author Kate Braestrup wrote in her endorsement, a book about love. Yes, it’s also true to its subtitle, and draws readers across the global panorama our family has lived in. But it’s far more than travelogue. Far more than cultural commentary. And it’s more than vignettes that leave readers laughing, gasping, swooning, fuming or crying, although I hope it’s that, too. What it is, is a frank depiction of what this kind of peripatetic life deals you––the stress, the loneliness, the fractured then reconstructed identity, the many losses––and how all those factors are counterbalanced with the innumerable gains. At the heart of the book (and here comes the spoiler) is the tragic loss our family has known in burying our oldest child when he was 18. That loss, which hit in the middle of a major international move, re-contextualized every other event––every other element––in life, and sent our family to the strangest, hardest place we’ve ever lived in: the land of loss. Here, the book takes a dive into a new landscape, which heaviness is deliberate on my part, since that’s the reality of traumatic loss. What is redemptive in the book, and readers have commented that it is the strength of the narrative, is that in spite of so many losses and the ultimate loss of death, there is hope in the possibility of living onward. That possibility hinges on love...

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