Wednesday, March 17, 2010

So long, farewell (well, I hope not!)

I've taken a big step in the last few months. I've set up a language-editing business, Skaian Gates English. It's a little scary but I'm hoping it will take off in the next while. Hence why my posting has been a bit erratic

This will be my last post here.

And I'm not one bit sorry, because the Skaian Gates is moving on. I've got my own domain and set up a Wordpress blog.

So come visit The Skaian Gates and we can pick up from there!

And Happy St Patrick's Day to you all as well.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Talking Point

Last Sunday morning's Dialogue2010 discussion left me floating for the day. Apart from the wonder of talking across continents and timezones to nine other women, I felt very much like I'd talked to some of my oldest friends. The fact that I've spent a few hours in the company of some of them, a few months of twittering with others and some were completely new acquaintances really did not present any barrier to our discussion which was both personal and broad-reaching.

We all have two things in common, an artistic/creative drive and links to other cultures. I found myself asking through the day were we sharing our hybrid lives because of our creativity or because of our experience of being expats. The two seemed interlinked and yet separate, like a binary star about which we orbit.

A few highlights:
Judith's insistence that a sense of humour is needed to live this hybrid life and her comparison of the Netherlands as chihuahua to the US's great dane
Elmira's analogy of a hybrid life being like a high definition television compared to black and white and saying that she was forced into this hybrid life by her parents choices
Rose's knowing laugh at being asked by Judith whether her core took a while to catch up after she moved to Turkey, her leaving perfectionism and impatience behind
Sezin declaring herself to be not just living a hybrid life but to being a hybrid, and finally after years living in the same house with all her journals
Karen's hints that her patriotism has clashed with her expatriatism and releasing herself from the responsibility and obligation that come with being a daughter
Catherine's discussion of leaving behind materialism and stuff to live more fully
Jocelyn on being an outsider all her life and how one serendipitous decision can shape a whole life
Anastasia on how being an expat can involve leaving behind independence and extroversion
Tara and how her values have been strengthened by her expat life, of how she is both and neither

There were so many other wonderful moments in this discussion that I will come back to explore in future posts as they seep through my mind. The podcast and transcript will be available at some point so you'll all be able to hear what these great ladies had to say.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Mapping My Worldview

Inspired by Rose Deniz' wonderful post about finding her path I've made a map of my own. This isn't a path though, just two snapshots placed side-by-side to show how my worldview has changed. The left focuses on my parent's house, and hence my childhood and schoolyears; the right is where I am now. After that I think you can work it out for yourselves. It shows that I may be physically grounded while being a global connector in other ways, a counterpoint to Anastasia's post about the subject.

The reason I'm thinking about this is that I'm due to take part in the inaugural Dialogue2010, a discussion with nine other women scattered around the globe about mapping and living a hybrid life. Tune into the podcast once it's live and see what we all have to say!

Monday, February 8, 2010

International Politics

Sometimes I'm just stunned by how wonderful the internet is. It's terrific!

Browsing Magicmum this morning with Tweetdeck running George Lee's name cropped up everywhere all at once. It attracted me as I'd had a conversation with my Dad last night about him. I don't know much but here goes.

George Lee was an economic correspondant in RTE, Ireland's national broadcaster. In the economic recession of the last few years he was very busy and very well respected. Then he joined Fine Gael, the opposition political party. He was elected in Dublin south nine months ago.

So Dad was saying he'd been holding meetings and so on in the last while, but that he hadn't appeared to influence party policy in any way. Dad was wondering if Fine Gael was taking full advantage of his economic mindset.

Now lunchtime today, just in time for the one o'clock news, he resigned, not just from Fine Gael but from his seat in the Dail (Irish parliament). In double quick time he appeared on the 'News at One' on RTE, on Newstalk and currently he's getting an earful from a member of his constituency on 'Liveline'. Liveline is a national institution, hosted by Joe Duffy, it allows anyone to call in a make a comment on whatever is being discussed. And I could listen over the internet to all these interviews.

On Twitter he caused a terrible amount of confusion when the #Glee hashtag was taken over by Irish politics in place of an American high school musical.

But there were some fantastic one-liners:
@DeclanFlynn George Lee & Charlie Bird to star in new RTE reality show, Celebrity Big Baby. #georgelee
(Reference to another RTE reporter coming home early after a shorter-than-expected stint abroad)
@Padraig #georgelee is quitting over a lack of influence over the policy of a party that has no power to implement it.
@urchinette God, George Lee is such a ridiculous baby. Did he think that just cos he's famous he'd suddenly become a leading politician?
@RositaBoland Cover your ears. The sound of George Lee whining on the News at One right now might just blast your eardrums
@eoinpurcell How hilarious is it that the OPPOSITION is imploding when the economy is in the toilet?
@RositaBoland He's unstoppable. There is nothing #georgelee is not saying "I don't like your preachy voice"!! to the female caller on liveline!

And two new Facebook pages too:
Who cares if George left Fine Gael group
George Lee: Don't let the door hit you on the ass as you leave the Dail page

And he's been caricatured too Caricatures Ireland

So whether I think he should have resigned or not; whether it was ego or not; whether he's causing greater economic hardship by forcing a by-election; whether Fine Gael are right or wrong; whether Fine Gael will win or lose (again) the next election; or whether it's all a bit irrelevant to me (the hard truth of the long-term expat); I could still instantly access a range of opinions and facts and even hear the man himself.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Snow Diary

Here's how we've spent the last week. It started snowing at lunchtime on Friday and by 3pm the garden it was starting to accumulate.
By Saturday morning there were drifts of dry snow in the garden.On Sunday the snow and wind had stopped but the temperature was two below freezing.On Monday the temperatures were even lower, six below freezing and Canakkale was draped in white.On Wednesday the snow made one last attempt to fall, wet and heavy.And today it's all melting away....

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Falling in the Cracks

Living outside town brings many advantages; peace and quiet, a view of an olive grove, a garden of our own. There are some disadvantages though, none more confusing then the bureaucratic web surrounding us.

Our electoral register is held in one village, our post office is in another, and the public health centre in a third village.

Now there’s a fourth village to add to the mix. The Ministry of Education has linked us to this fourth village and thus we should send our children to a school in Kepez town. Their address-linked system links us to this school and if we want to send them elsewhere we have to work around this system.

The confusion arises after a chat with our next-door neighbour. For two years her eldest boy went to this same school in Kepez. Yet when she tried to register her youngest boy there in September she was told she couldn’t. The address-linked system linked her to the school in the village that holds our electoral register. As the school there doesn’t operate the children are bussed to a school in Canakkale town itself. She ended up taking her eldest boy out of the school that we are now supposed to send our children to.

Somewhere in the twenty metres separating our houses there’s a bureaucratic boundary we never knew existed.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Being Quiet...

It's very easy to be silent here. To sit behind a computer screen and watch the world go by. But it's not very satisfying in the long run.

So there's going to be a few changes in the next few months. The ideas are ripe at the moment, the plan is being prepared and will soon be put into action.

In the meantime thanks to Anastasia Ashman for the highlight on her blog Furthering the Worldwide Conversation. Anastasia was named one of the Expat Bloggers to watch in 2010 by Cindy King. She recently announced the expat+HAREM Istanbul 2010 blog carnival which will be running through the year.

2010 the year of action!