The truth about living in Slovakia … according to a half-Japanese Canadian girl

Spending a year living in Slovakia was one of the most interesting experiences of my travelling life (I was living in Bratislava - but got to explore much of the rest of the country too!). Before I arrived I didn't even really know where it was (I'd been hired to teach in Prague and the school sent … [Read more...]

Four different homes abroad and what I’ve learnt from them

I'm not a massive fan of moving house. (I mean, really, who is? It's a lot of work!) However, I have moved plenty of times in my life and in particular, I have had four different homes abroad - two different flats in Japan, one in Slovakia and one in Germany. When I read a recent Kiki and Tea post … [Read more...]

Saying goodbye to a country is hard – I know, I’ve done it three times

I am NOT a good goodbye person. I'm way overly sentimental, I'm all too acutely aware that once you say goodbye to a place you've lived in that even visiting will never be the same again, and I miss both people and things long and badly. I blogged just recently about the sadness of leaving … [Read more...]

The sadness of leaving new homes abroad – the perils of expat life

It was a week or two before I would leave Japan, and I was teaching a one-to-one lesson with Ami, a little girl who'd been coming to individual English lessons at our school for a year or so; she was three by now. At two she had absolutely hated coming to our lessons and we had spent many lessons … [Read more...]

Sending postcards with Lettr and keeping in touch with travel friends

One of my absolute favourite things about travelling (and especially living in a foreign country for a while) is the people you meet, locals and ex-pats alike. It's not surprising that the fellow ex-pats I've met while living abroad are some of my closest friends, because we obviously have a love of … [Read more...]

Animal travels: It’s funny what you see walking down the road …

My endless folders of photos from my trips show up a common theme: I love meeting animals on my travels! Perhaps it's a variation on meeting the locals. After my recent heavy post on the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps, I felt the need to get a bit more light-hearted and remember some of … [Read more...]

Birthdays abroad and at home, and asking a favour of Not A Ballerina readers

It's my birthday today!Being here in Australia, this particular birthday (my 38th, if you're curious) may not be particularly distinguishable from my 37th and 39th when I look back in future years. But I remember my 28th birthday, exactly ten years ago, very, very well.I was living in Bratislava, … [Read more...]

Cultural differences, circus by circus: Australia versus Slovakia

After many years of circus drought, I've been to the circus twice this year, in two different countries. In most ways, these circus visits were really very similar. But in others they were really quite different.Entrance to the circus in Trnava, SlovakiaThe first circus was actually a Hungarian … [Read more...]

The world is smaller now, and friends just keep showing up

Z and I a decade ago! When I lived in Bratislava (ten years ago - eek, that went fast!), I made a totally fabulous friend who in the interests of privacy I'll call Z. We recognised each other one day at the bus stop early in my stay, as she was a student in one of my large in-company English … [Read more...]

On making my first proper snowman, in Bratislava

Did you know that you can't make a snowman with just any old snow? Some of you will laugh out loud at this question, but there will be some, like me a few years ago, who will say: Really? I grew up in Western Australia; we don't do snow, ever, and I didn't see it fall until the age of 25. I … [Read more...]