Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Expat Clothes - Hometown Sailboats Edition

Okay, so I felt a little less dorky this time around - mostly because I'm so excited to show you one of my favourite summertime shirts. The print on it just makes me wild. It's really got it all: a tea cup, horses, feathers, rosy cheeks, and a massive floral headpiece. BOOM. 
Any lovely bloggers out there got any tips to make my 3rd shoot (even!) better?! Would adore your expertise... please leave me a comment. :)

Location: Waterfront in my hometown (Ontario)
Top: No brand - store in Phnom Penh
Jeans: Nikita
Shoes: Ardene
Bracelet: Siem Reap night market
Necklace: My Grandma's
Sunnies: My Dad's vintage Vuarnets

xx Lady Expatriate

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Countdown to Cambo: 15 Big Sleeps!

Shrines in Cambodia
So, as you may or may not know, my darling Partner In Crime and I are moving to Cambodia on July 10th. Please allow me to paraphrase a convo with my Mum to provide further details: 

Mum: So you have a job waiting for you then?
Nope. It's the kind of place where you don't get a job out of country. You have to go and show up in person at the schools. 

Mum: Okay, I guess, but you've got your visa sorted out, right?
Moi: Nopers. It's a get-at-the-airport kinda deal.

Mum: Uhhhhhhh alright, but at least you have an apartment rented?!
Moi: Three for three, my beautiful Mum. Sorry.  P.I.C. and I are staying with buddies for the first couple nights while we get things sorted out, then we should be into our own little place in about two weeks? Ish? I think? Not sure... 

                                               ...Oh well, I'm sure it will all work out!!


Essential Steps That Are Done and Dusted 

  • Bought some used luggage to replace the bag I had to ditch on the way home from Korea
  • Plane tickets booked
  • Have sold some old sports equipment on kijiji
  • Have eaten at least one serving of each of my favourite Mum-made foods 
  • Have visited with all family friends
  • Spent an off the charts week with my uni buddies 
  • Hung out with all of Partner In Crime's back home family and friends 


Essential Steps That Are Sitting Pretty On My TO DO List

  •  Get international drivers licenses 
  • Try to sell the last few things (mainly collectibles that have been stored in a closet at my parents' house) on kijiji
  • Spend Canada Day in - something new and different for me! - Canada
  • Go and visit my Great Aunt
  • Play with my new kittens even more!!

Do you make lists when you're getting ready to go on a trip? Let me know in the comments, please oh please!! 
xx Lady Expatriate

Monday, 25 June 2012

The Loveliest Links

a fairytale-like gate in Cambodia
These are always some of my favourite posts to read on other people's blogs, and they're a weekly ritual I'm beyond excited to get into. With no further ado...

<3 Cake Batter Truffles are just as good as you think they might be. I swapped white chocolate out in favour of milk choc... YUM.

<3 Sarah's 32 New Things is crazy inspiring. It's definitely got me brainstorming for my own list.

<3 Holy overwhelming, Batman! The more I learn about blogging, the more I learn that there's so very much to learn! This list of 50 online tools for better blogging is giving me lots of ideas.

<3 I'm such a nerd for trivia, so this infographic about 20 World Trivia Facts from Matador just about makes my day.

<3 Happy one year blogiversary to Lauren! I love how she celebrated by hosting a roundup of links from her 'blogstalkers'.

Have a lovely evening!

xx Lady Expatriate

Friday, 22 June 2012

These are a few of my favourite things: Hark! A Vagrant

OH how I always adore when Kate Beaton updates her blog with her pee-your-pants funny interpretations of historical figures and literary characters.

Just so happens she writes the smartest comic strips around. She's got your tragic Shakespearean characters, she's got your Austen Mania, she's got pirates and Canadian Prime Ministers for days!

Hark A Vagrant Book

Why, yes, that is a library tag. Heavy library user when I'm home - libraries, eff ya!! (Feel free to quote me.) That being said, I need this book in my life, and plan on supporting this lovely Canadian author with my dollars. Reckon it's worthy of a spot in my backpack!

For those of you who wish to bask in the intelligence and pen flicks of Kate Beaton, she regularly posts strips on her blog.

Here's one of my favourites about Canadian stereotypes.
Oo oo I love how she does this with book covers.
How could I not include one about Wonder Woman?!
Last one: Hipsters.

Pretty good, riiiiiight?!

xx Lady Expatriate

P.S. Congrats to Kate on her stunning cover of The Walrus!
P.P.S. I think this one might actually be my favourite... 

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Our Dear Lady Expatriate is a Poseur?! Gasp!

Okay - yes - so it might appear that I have done a rather poor job of selecting a name for my online persona, but I promise 'tis not at all insincere! I believe now would be just the perfect time to clear up all the rumors circulating about.


Canadian, though I have neither a maple leaf tattoo nor a flag backpack patch. However, shall make no claims in regards to 'eh' being an incorrect stereotype... 

This is not, in fact, on my body. Via.

Countries lived in? 

2 stints in Korea (um, South - you would be surprised how many people ask to clarify this!), and a year living it up in Australia.

This is North Korea. No, Mom, this isn't the one I lived in.

Financed how?

By being a complete cliche, but of course. Which is to say: practicing my profession of English Language Instructor. I've worked in a public high school (Korea), a university (Australia), and a private kindergarten (Korea, once more).

Part of my day job. No, seriously.
I can't pretend I wasn't lovin it.


So now you're buying a house on a leafy-tree-lined street in suburban Ontario?

Much to my parents' deep dismay, no. As I speak (type), my bag is once again starting to be packed and international paperwork is being completed with the countdown set at about 3 weeks. Off to seek my fortune in Cambodia, handsome Partner In Crime at my side!

So HA! NOT a poseur! At least not in this regard... 

xx Lady Expatriate

Not Unclothed: First Outfit Du Jour

So, all of my favorite fab style blogs (Elsie and Emma at A Beautiful Mess, Kaleigh Hamilton, and Katie) make outfit posts look romantic, sophisticated, fun, and brimming with confidence. I wonder if they've ever felt as silly as I felt this morning?

Partner In Crime agreed to be the photog, and he ended up getting pretty into it: giving direction, making me twirl, encouraging me to fake playing with my hair... just hope he realizes he'll be doing this once a week for a good long while!

I wonder if other people end up feeling a bit narcissistic when they do shoots like these? I mean -it's not like I made the dress, I just decided to wear it and count it as worthy of being featured on my blog (the concept of which, one could argue, is narcissistic in and of itself, but I digress)... oh dear, now I've gone and over-thought what was meant to be a spot of fluffy fun.

Pretty dresses! Flowers! Shiny things! Wheeeee!                                    

Location: My parents' backyard in Ontario
Dress: Thrifted in Ontario
Sunnies: My Dad's 25 year old Vuarnets 
Brooch (in hair): My Great Grandmother's
Cameo Necklace:  From a market in Korea, gift from P.I.C. 

xx Lady Expatriate

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Turns out 21 Km is a long way...

Well, well, my massive horde of blog followers (if this was a video blog post, or vlog as I'm told they're called, you could surely catch the sarcasm just there), I'm comin at you as a changed lady. A lady who has run 21 Km and lived to tell the tale.

P.I.C. and I kickin it at the starting line

The race started with that familiar, delicious pump of adrenaline, in addition to a massive downhill: beautiful. Around kilometre 17, though... the adrenaline was long gone and each step ached all the way through my legs, my right knee twinging with each pound. The thought of walking passed through my mind, but was followed by the realization that it would only prolong the agony.

20.5 Kms in, the finish line was in sight - at the top of one of the most massive hills in the city. Gah. What a cruel, cruel thing to do to someone two hours into running!

G'day relief that I didn't embarrass myself in my hometown, and of course it was lovely to give all those sweaty finish line hugs. Came home to a celebration dinner... which I was grateful not to faceplant into in exhaustion.

Overall, I'm definitely keen to give the half marathon another go - maybe once my muscles allow me to walk downstairs without wincing. Next step is to figure out more on the nutrition side of things and maybe try out some energy gels... any one out there got any advice for the next go around?!

xx Lady Expatriate

Sunday, 17 June 2012

How To Pack Up Your Life and Move To Another Country

1. Pick A Country + Paperwork, Paperwork
Figure out what country you want to be off to, how you're planning to so as to finance your adventures while there, and - important as - check out what visas you need to get there. Some visas make you jump through some crazy hoops while pulling notarized documents out of your hat.
Example: to be an ESL Teacher in South Korea on an E2 visa requires a federal police check, which in Canada can easily take 4 months - in addition to all the other rubbish paperwork! One more reason why I'm stoked to be off to Cambodia: almost complete lack of complicated paper piles.

Sign in Asan, South Korea
2. Ciao, Chattel
The time that you decide to get outta dodge is the time to start getting rid of as many of your belongings as you can. Kijiji, Craig's List, garage sale, throwing a party and having everyone leave with something... whatever it takes! Personally, I have a small closet in my parents house where I've kept some items of sentimental value, and I (stupidly?) kept my snowboard gear for the times that I visit home in winter, but everything else has been given or sold for drinkin-abroad money.

 3. Podcasts and Blog Posts
First stop is the iTunes store to download some language learning podcasts (free!), then start searching for blogs written by people in your country of choice. Easiest and most fun form of research ever.

4. Funnel Those Funds...
...straight into your savings. Seriously, save as much as possible. I know it's tempting to go to a place like Mountain Equipment Co-op or other travel-oriented stores and blow a lot of cash - afterall, it makes it feel like you're really doing something and working towards your goal. I did just that and have not, to this day, used many of things I bought.
Even if you're headed straight to a waiting contract, you might be left waiting for the next pay period, which can be a major problem when pay periods are monthly. Don't overlook how much money it costs to start-up in a country, either. Surprise paperwork like alien registration and health checks (Korea) can pack a punch.

Fushimi Inari Shrine, Japan

5. A/S/L?
Okay just the last one. Make sure you get everyone's address before you leave - nothing bungs up a secret super surprise care package like an addy-request message. On that note - don't forget to send care packages!

Bon voyage and best of luck!

 xx Lady Expatriate

The Night Before The Day Of The Judgement

So, it's the night before my very first half marathon, and I'm officially a little bit nervous. Just gonna keep reminding myself of all the kickass (lit. obv.) training I've been doing and think about how much I looove running to my fave tunes...

Short selection of songs that encourage forward momentum:
  • First of the Year - Skrillex 
  • Paper Romance - Groove Armada
  • Parlez Vous Francais - Art vs Science
  • The Truth - Pnau 
  • Runs In The Family - Amanda Palmer
  • Lonely Boy - The Black Keys
  • Mary - Sparkadia 
  • Countdown - Beyonce 
Please oh please wish me luck!  And share your fave running tracks in the comments!

(Sidenote: I know that most races in North Am explicitly tell you no headphones allowed, but at my 10K warmup race last weekend, iPods abounded and I was one of the only ones left running in time to the voices in my head... NOT as fun as running to amazing tunes, so I'm gonna be a bit of a rebel and see how far that gets me (again, lit. obv.)).

xx Lady Expatriate

Wonder How Many Blogs Get Started Each Day?!

With fellow ladies at Angkor Wat.

Oh shit. Now I've really done it.
I've read blogs maniacally for over four years, I've researched the pros of blogger vs. wordpress, I've created an account and settled for a slightly different user name than intended, and now...

What the hell am I gonna write!? 

Wait, calm down, this has obviously been considered. Entire afternoons were spent brainstorming in my fave Seoul cafe. The obvious place to start for content considerations lies in the title: I am indeed a lady, though not in the sense of the old saying "If you have to say you're a lady you're not", and I am indeed (usually) an expat. Thus, as one blessed with more logic than I usually exhibit would note, I will be writing about things that seem relevant to us ladies trying to hack it abroad. 

Anything else?! Why, yes. Every blogger advice section suggests the same main theme: write about what you know and love.

I know and love: 
  • fashion, though am just figuring this out (blue and green must never be seen, something something?)
  • trying to understand how to be a real adult with my meager amounts of money 
  • books, glorious books 
  • travel in general  (and in specific)
  • running my pants off 
  • teaching English using my spiffy English teaching skills
  • starting to figure out how to do that thing where you feed yourself interesting things with many ingredients 

So, yes. Now who wants to pay me for advertising!? Kidding, kidding... 

xx Lady Expatriate