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.


  1. Yes Catherine! And I realized how different it is to have us all there together at the same time as opposed to tweeting and blogging in off-times. That was a very valuable part of the experience for me. And lots of a-ha moments. Like what you said about being compassionate with regard to our families.

  2. I'm still floating. Thank you, Catherine, for adding the strength of your voice to Dialogue2010, and for unravelling what what said in order to understand how it is intertwined with your life. I hope it will be something others living a hybrid life can relate to. Your blog post means a lot to me!

  3. Catherine, Thanks to the different time zone I had a night of rest, but the moment I woke up memories of the conversation, such as the ones you list, floated through my mind. Floating is actually the wrong word, since many of the things said linger as "Aha!" moments.

    From the moment I read your blog posts I picture you traveling from village to village addressing the needs of your family. The photographs on your blog gave me a sense of the beauty and serenity of your surroundings. But also of the lonesomeness that comes with the territory of a hybrid lifestyle. Something I recognize even although the place where I live is situated on the outskirts of a big city.

    I'm so pleased that we have connected through Expat+Harem and that thanks to Rose's initiative dialogue2010 and that we've all had a chance to hear the voices which we (in some cases) already recognize and relate to through the written word.

  4. Oh Catherine! You've read my heart. It was beautiful to hear your Irish brogue on the other side of the line, wonderful to hear your thoughts spoken aloud instead of written. Big hugs to you and looking forward to the next time. Soon! (And that goes for all the other Dialogue2010-ers too!)

  5. Catherine, I enjoyed connecting with you and the other women... it would be great to meet in person one day!

  6. Hello again everyone! Thanks for this lovely recollection of our conversation, Catherine. I too had a night to sleep, though didn't for several hours after our talk because my mind was so full of everything said. To find such connections was just what I need now, as I wind down the US portion of my hybrid life and prepare for the possibilities to come. Thanks and love to you all for the tremendous wave of energy you've all given me!

  7. Thank you all so much for your kind comments. I think it's terrific that we've all brought something positive and thought-provoking from our conversation. Let's hope it's the first of many!

  8. Dear Catherine, I have to echo the comments -- and I still am reveling in how fantastic the discussion was. What a generous post! I have to agree with Sezin, it was lovely to hear your Irish brogue. ;-) There is something about connecting through voice, compared with the written word -- so much more warmth and energy. All of you women energized me to move forward. Now, if only I can just kick this persistent cough I have from that flu. ;-)

  9. Thanks Jocelyn. Hope you're feeling better soon...