What Life Is Like On The Other Side Of The Wall

I’ve been spending a little less time on social networking sites and more scouring the internet. One was becoming too insular as I’ve noticed a cycle of repeated conversations and observations. I used to simply add to my network but the increase in volume didn’t necessarily produce the shift or quality I was looking for.

In our conversations at this and other BWE forums there’s an increased urgency. It’s not as if we discuss posts beforehand but I have been witnessing a synchronization of thoughts that are leading some of us to similar conclusions. We do not agree on every point but the totality that lends to wanting to impose a sense of urgency amongst certain black women (as it applies) to be prepared is present.

When we’ve discussed life outside the Matrix I am certain it is such a foreign concept for many they may not ever believe. I thought I’d try a different tactic and this also serves to be a bit of fun for others as well. Our thoughts guide our actions. Our actions tested and refined lead to change. Until then it’s all a theory I suppose, but real life with all its consequences still occurs.

Poor choices lead down the road to despair. Opportunities left are lost. Coming into our own as women of the world is not only possible, but happening right now for many black women.

It’s all about choice.

You can stay in your box, on your block, in your neighborhood and see the world through half-closed lids or you can go through life eyes wide open. I have readers from all corners of the globe and am very grateful we have found each other. Some of the locales that have popped up include Olofström, Blekinge Lan Jönköping, Jonkopings Lan,  Cracow, Malopolskie and Helsinki, Finland.

Many women have already integrated into the larger global village and haven’t looked back. They didn’t ask permission. They have the most mundane (read that as “boring”) lives. They have breakfast, they work, they drop their kids off at school, they have a serious other or husband, they go to the market and they complete many other tasks throughout the week.

If it’s so boring, why did I mention it?

These women (and one man) happen to be living abroad.

They have travel-related blogs where they discuss the size of their temporary apartments or the weather or recovering from a cold or buying a bottle of wine and they take lots of pictures.

So for some women who cannot possibly imagine a life without strife, perhaps it’s time you immersed yourself in someone else’s. It’s really the only way to gain clarity and a new perspective. Perhaps this will be your “Aha” moment and will click for you in ways that you won’t resist.

I wish the need for BWE messaging was resolved in our favor!! While it may be true that black women from previous generations talked about our mistreatment (from Zora to bell to Pearl to Alice to Toni to Ntozake) nothing was done about it on a mass scale. The compromise (putting race first and the whims of black males) made it possible for the increased brutality, denigration and indoctrination to take up permanent residency in the minds of black women today and in particular African-American women who would rather self-destruct that save themselves.  

The resolution and strict adaptation of BWE principles (not just lip-service) would mean a majority of black women had begun serving their own interests and dismantled their indoctrination. No more gas-lighting! We’d be out of the Matrix, defeated the Agent Smiths/Zombies and started the next generation in the rebuilt Zion. It would mean we could see the tangible results of more women living well. Women would be in better shape (weight loss & healthier eating), mentally sharp, better rested (no more mule duty), comfortable around white males (no self-segregating or Sista Soldiering) AND engaged in various social circles, the interracial marriage rate for black women would quadruple (nipped the hegemony arguments in the bud), there’d be an overall return to femininity because BW would be safe to let down their guards (out of the black residential cesspools and removed from those with a gutter mentality) and there’d be men in their lives to provide, protect, problem-solve and produce. We’d be thinking critically, strategically and create and enforce standards.

What Life Is Like On The Other Side (For Some)

I’ve been perusing some blogs that have a little bit of everything. Travel, slice of life, fashion, relationships, kids, introspection, food and most importantly LOVE. Some of these blogs are hosted by black women. Most of whom are Canadian. There must be something in the water over there because they seem to have a weaker strain of the indoctrination disease so rampant here in the United States. Say this out loud: “This could be my life.” Repeat three times. Not that your life isn’t fine..but if you still don’t think this doesn’t seem at least a little bit fun after reading you are a stick in the mud! Take notes and learn something I say. You’ll spot the commonalities if you’re paying attention.

Wife Bride Life — I love her ability to rebound from life’s unexpected turns. She was living in Scotland and has recently returned to Canada with husband in tow.

Kiki in Switzerland – Spunky lady living with her hubby amongst the Swiss. I’m so curious how she maintains her hair (random..but her hair looks fab so it’s a valid question, lol).

Black and (A)broad – Very well-educated, attractive “typically” black woman moves to the Netherlands. She offers a peek at how she dismantled non productive ideologies to fashion a great life for herself. I think many of us could learn something from this. She has a book (haven’t read it yet) that I think is worth checking out about the journey that led to her current expat life.

Lovely Awkward – She moved to France to be with a guy 9 days after meeting. Yes she did! That was a calculated risk, perhaps even a bit “crazy” [very daring with no control over the outcome but with potential great reward] and totally something I would do. I won’t give away any more details…but you will smile.

I’m Leaving On A Bicycle — Life is like a box of chocolates. I remember trying to figure out who I was in my 20’s. So glad to never have to revisit that time! Psst…I highly recommend Evia’s Vetting Men series.

Oneika The Traveller – **Girl crush alert**. She’s a teacher living in Hong Kong but has traveled to a zillion countries. I bet she can hold a conversation on a variety of subjects in all the languages. She smiles in her photos a lot and her personality leaps off the page! Reading her blog is like eating a bowl of soup on a cold day. Warm and nourishing. Happiness abounds and spreads.

NYC/Caribbean Ragazza – Very serious screenwriter who “escaped” Hollywood and moved to Rome.  She takes excellent photos. She did a post about going to the egg market and I was sooo jealous. I remember how great really good eggs taste. Night and day compared to what you find in the supermarket. One of her movies is coming out in May.

David Lebovitz – French wine and cheese for days from an amazing pastry chef. I want a man who can cook! Mouthwatering photos. Chocolate. Paris! I die!

Tonya In Transition — Another Cannuck living well. She tells some really funny stories about things she and her brothers did growing up.

(Update) One of our very own regulars ph2072 also has an Ex-Pat blog, Spinster’s Compass (not a self-fulfilling prophesy though!). She got outta Dodge last year.

Black Girl In Prague wrote a nice post about timing and factors in considering a move abroad when it’s for lurve…

I personally know one woman who could leave to teach abroad as she was very interested in the Finnish education system..but she won’t. I also suggested another apply for grad school in Norway. She actually found a very specialized program that her background is a near perfect match for. She complained about the 12-page application. What can you do when others don’t have a vision for themselves?

If you believe you can achieve. So hop to it!!

30 Replies to “What Life Is Like On The Other Side Of The Wall”

  1. @palmwater How interesting that you list jobsinhubs.com as a resource. I started jobsinstockholm.com which is part of jobsininhubs.com. After two years I turned it over to my colleagues in Brussels. I still do the blog and Facebook page for it though, because after tow years of building a community around expats in Sweden and those wanting to come to Sweden, I felt connected. Especially since I am still in Sweden.

    I guest what I have found from living in London, and Brussels, and Halmstad and now Stockholm is that life is pretty much life and life is what you make it. Now having traveled to over 34 countries I also know that being a tourist and being a resident are completely different.

    Living in the present is the best gift one give can oneself. That can give you the mindset to plan the future you deserve, wherever that is.

    1. BWIE: Thanks for the information. If you want to do a future guest post on BW transitioning abroad let me know or we can post an excerpt here that links back to your blog forum. I think the readers would be very interested in not only job opportunities but bringing young children abroad to live. There are a few single mothers who read whom I think this would be very useful in being pointed in the right direction. I am also particularly interested in realistic options for those who are not EU citizens maintaining employment. Khadija did a post about the anti-kraak response to squatters destroying or commandeering property in the Netherlands at her blog. I want to keep the resource information flowing and having someone who's actually there is very helpful.

    1. Oneika: I really enjoying reading about your travels. If you have a moment I have a reader request. I'd love to see a post on the new Larry Gogosian gallery that recently opened in Hong Kong. If you get a chance to visit before you leave I'd be oh so grateful!!

  2. Great post Faith!

    I am familiar with a few of the bloggers you mentioned and I'm a big fan of Onekia (formerly Nakita) the traveler!
    Personally I was inspired to get off my a** and make things happen after reading Stacy's blogs http://bacifromrome.blogspot.com/ and http://bisousfromparis.blogspot.com/. Reading about her experiences made me realize that I had to make my dreams happen and not just let life pass me by!

    I think the biggest problem for me was getting over the fear of leaving my comfort zone. I always wanted to spend more time travelling but I just didn't think it was possible. It's that mentality of "well that works for them but it can't work for me". That mentality does nothing but keep many black women form reaching their full potential and living an optimal life.

    I would suggest that bw who want to be expats spend time on expat blogs (expat exchange, Canuck abroad etc.). Find out if your government has any mobility partnerships with other countries. Visit the embassies of the countries you want to live in and check out their resources, talk to their staff to find out the best way to find a job, traineeships, schools, and housing.

    You can join organizations like couchsurfing.org (proper vetting is a must) to learn more about the city you want to live in, meet people in the local community, find out about great places to stay, visit, language resources, etc. It's also a great idea to connect with expat bloggers and expats and build relationships with them before you move. That way you'll have a great support system waiting for you when you're ready to move!

    One of the best ways to be an expat is to get the company that you work with to relocate you. If you work for a multinational company this shouldn't be a problem. Find out about jobs in foreign countries in your company, talk to HR and talk about wanting job development and growth. There are so many possibilities bw just have to seek them out! You don't know what's available to you if you don't ask!

    jobs in europe: http://www.jobsinhubs.com/jobsinhubs/

    1. Palmwater: Thanks so much for the links. There's a few travel blogs that I haven't had a chance to review but the one you've linked to was on my list! Also the job link may be very useful to those who meet the qualifications.

  3. What an excellent idea. I have read postings at each of the blog links you posted. How refreshing! A picture is worth a thousand words and I think these blogs provide tangible examples of living an abundant life. Thank you:-)

  4. @Jamila — I know about the site. I’m not convinced she’s for total lifestyle maximization for all black women based on some internet convos I’ve observed. I’d rather not link to it, but thanks for the suggestion.

    1. I'd also enjoy doing that and am working towards that as a goal. You'll be in Finland and I'll be in Norway. Practically neighbors! They are about a one hour plane ride away. You never know….

  5. I love reading about black women who are traveling. Now I have more blogs to add to my reading. Within the next six months, I hope to be a traveling woman myself.

  6. Great post Faith! My problem is not living outside the box; it's trying to find a way to bring my school age daughter with me. I've heard that getting children in DODDS schools as a civilian worker (non-gov’t) is not a guarantee with so many people escaping States. With the price of international schools being the way it is, I don't see how it’s possible right now. I have my TESOL cert, BS degree and currently working on my Masters. However I’m keeping my eyes open for any possibilities. Good luck and congrats on all that are doing so!

    1. Selena, have you been on many expat message boards and sites? Some of the blogs I featured, the blog administrators have children. You might email them privately and ask for some assistance. Anything is possible -- it may not be easy -- but it's possible. Good luck!

      1. Yes I''ve been to a few before I completed my TESOL, without much luck but it's been a while. But I haven't been as deligent as I could have. Emailing the admins is a great idea! Thanx!

    2. One of my co-workers has a friend here who brought her daughter, and another is married with a 4 or 5 year old daughter. It may be hard but it definitely isn’t impossible. If you decide to do it, just prepare your child for the changes. Wishing you well.

      1. Most of the people that I have been in contact with either are single, retirees or married couples with no kids or toddlers. I will dig a little deeper and contact some of the blog admins. Thanx for theresponse Wizard!

    3. Hey Selena,

      This is Oneika here… I don't really know about the DODDS schools as I am a Canadian citizen, but the international school system is great if you have a state teaching certification for elementary or secondary public schools! Most int'l schools offer free or greatly reduced tuition, so it is entirely possible to bring your daughter along on your teaching adventure… If you have any questions, email me! nikita_the_traveller@hotmail.com

  7. I read Oneika’s blog. 🙂 She’ll be in my area in the fall. Thanks for adding the other blogs to your entry too; gotta look at those over the weekend.

    Contrary to popular belief, it IS possible to venture outside the box & live elsewhere (different state or country). Thanks for highlighting this fact.

    1. Aha…that's where you went! I had the best time in your neck of the woods. I was not thinking strategically at the time. I could have met someone with permanence in mind, but I hadn't even considered it! This is why I have to give it to Asian women for not wasting time and being focused. Lesson learned!

        1. I didn't want to write it in public. I thought you were in Panama. I stand corrected and am going to read the blog now. You know I'm swamped, lol!!

  8. Part 2
    I work for the government and I am seriously looking for international jobs in Europe, maybe Asia. I believe that within the next two years, I will be making that transition…man or not, in tow! 🙂

    Also, thanks for the links. I read Oneika's blog occassionally and I agree, it's great! If I didn't have this good gov'ment job *eye roll*, I'd be doing a teach abroad program. Still might…

  9. Part 1
    Ahhhh, thank you for this post! For many, many, many years I had no desire to travel abroad, let alone live in another country. Then, about three or so years ago, that changed. I had no one particular place to go, but I wanted to live abroad. My brother is facinated by France, so I am sure that is where he may land. I had my first international trip EVER to Italy in September with BlackGirlTravel. I LOVED IT! It was sooo much to take in; I ache a bit because I really feel a part of me was left there. One of the 'bellas' that traveled had recently moved to London from NY as part of a four year work assignment. I got the impression that this was a happy time for her and she is enjoying her time in England. One of my mentors, who is a scientist, spent five years in Finland doing research. She loved it! She said if it wasn't for the cold, she probably would've stayed. We worked on a summer newspaper project and whenever we didn't make deadlines or had to pull all-nighters, she'd fuss us out in Finnish! I'd always get a kick out that! LOL

    1. Jacquie that sounds great! You already have numerous resources you can contact. You worked hard for your "good job" so why not use it to your advantage. Switch gears and try to get a similar job as a liaison with one of the countries you're considering or a private sector position that can use your level of expertise. SO glad to hear this. If a sizable portion of my commenters move and thrive abroad we could start our own ex-pat agency.

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