Author Archives: wordgeyser

About wordgeyser

Our anglo/american family used to live in four countries (USA, Canada, UK and the Netherlands) on two continents, separated by distance, time zones, circumstance and cultures. It has been a scary, enriching, challenging place to be. The only things guaranteed to get us through were a sense of humour and the amazing people met along the way. . . This year everything changed with a move for us from the Netherlands, – and a move along with us for our son and his wife from the UK – to Houston, Texas, the same city as our daughter. With our youngest in Vancouver, Canada, we are now all living on the same continent. How this happened, and more importantly why, will be the subject of this ongoing blog...

Who Dat?: Friendly Faces in Foreign Places

A while back driving home from Schiphol (Amsterdam) Airport, the Captain and I experienced something which got me thinking about how we react when we meet fellow countrymen thousands of miles from home. Our American home is New Orleans; I’ve … Continue reading

Posted in Expat Experiences, Family Life, The Netherlands, USA | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Book Review – Expat Women: Confessions, Andrea Martins and Victoria Hepworth

Before we start could I ask those who have arrived on this page under a misapprehension to please leave? This is not a blog to entice bored or jaded readers with thoughts of what expat women may or may not (usually … Continue reading

Posted in Expat Related Book Reviews, Women and Female Related | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Dutch Workmen: Tips On Understanding The Tribe

I’ve been doing some unofficial research of late into the habits and behaviour of Dutch workmen. I say unofficial because it’s more observation than research and has happened only because we have decorators repainting the exterior of our building. It’s supposedly a twelve … Continue reading

Posted in Dutch Culture, Expat Experiences, Family Life, The Netherlands | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Left behind, and I’m not talking about the Rapture

This is not a subject I particularly want to talk about and is unashamedly personal but it’s something I’m sure many people will relate to. I’m talking the bad, sad side of living in an expat community when friends move on. Now before everyone starts giving … Continue reading

Posted in Expat Experiences, Inspiration and Reflection, Personal challenges, The Netherlands, Women and Female Related | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

When the Netherlands is Perfect: The Gentle Grace of Holland

It occurred to me this morning I’ve never said much about the everyday beauty of the Netherlands. I’ve sat and typed through the long dark days of winter, made miserable by the relentless rain, howling wind and a chill factor that … Continue reading

Posted in Advice for New Arrivals in the Netherlands, Inspiration and Reflection, The Netherlands | 6 Comments

So where do you go from here Mr. Camping?

Well, what a relief. Although I do wonder if the Rapture  really did happen and we’ve all been left behind, including prophet Harold Camping who is now saying “oops, I miscalculated and meant October 21”. That he may be on the … Continue reading

Posted in Politics and Social Comment, USA | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Garden Gnomes and Pink Flamingos: The Ultimate in Taste

In the previous blog I wrote about how some people judge or pigeonhole others by the way they speak, which led me to wonder why people are also judgemental about other folks’ belongings, their choice of furniture, the way they decorate their homes. Who it is that dictates what … Continue reading

Posted in Expat Experiences, Family Life, The Netherlands | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

If The Accent Fits, Should We Wear It?

Struggling this morning with a thumping headache brought on by an accidental glue-sniffing incident (long story) I was rather concerned I wouldn’t be able to think of anything to blog about. Getting the grey matter going was a slow job, until I … Continue reading

Posted in England and Things English, Expat Experiences, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Rumblings in Expatland: Trailing, Accompanying, Stellar or Other?

There are discernible rumblings in expat land. It’s divisive stuff. Way back in the spring at the FIGT (Families in Global Transition) Conference in Washington DC, there was a move to redefine the term used to describe the spouse-following-the-spouse-with-the-job. That’s the … Continue reading

Posted in Expat Experiences, Family Life, Women and Female Related | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Expat Book Review: Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child, Julia Simens

Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child: practical tips and storytelling techniques that will strengthen the global family, Julia Simens I was excited to be asked to read and review Julia Simens book, having raised three global nomads. I guess I wanted to see where … Continue reading

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Eurovision Song Contest: the Ultimate Revenge for Past Wrongs

Tonight the population of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be holding its collective breath in anticipation, fascination and fear of humiliation. It is the annual Eurovision Song contest, held this year in Düsseldorf, Germany. Created in … Continue reading

Posted in Dutch Culture, England and Things English | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Take Time Out: Have a Mental Health Day

Ever had a day when you have so many things to do you know you’re going to drop the ball somewhere? Do you make lists with everything that needs to be done today, stuff that can be put off until tomorrow, and things … Continue reading

Posted in Inspiration and Reflection, Personal challenges, Women and Female Related | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Book Review: Postcards from Across the Pond, Michael Harling

I was looking forward to reviewing this book having made Michael Harling’s journey in reverse, traversing the pond from east to west. Like him, I’d assumed life couldn’t be so very different when the two nations spoke the same language … Continue reading

Posted in Expat Related Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why Getting Fit is a Dangerous Occupation: And the Dog is to Blame

I’ve procrastinated long enough. I’ve checked my email, Facebook, bank account, daily newspapers (Europe and the US), sorted laundry and scheduled my research and work for the day.  I can delay no more, not without starting to do the most mundane of … Continue reading

Posted in Expat Experiences, Personal challenges, Women and Female Related | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

DIY: Household Chores and the Retention of Sanity

We have been busy catching up on the home front, trying to pull in all those niggling little household jobs that have been outstanding for months. The Captain refuses to pay the exorbitant cost of having a man do the … Continue reading

Posted in Family Life, Personal challenges | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Alternative Vote: Politics of Apathy by Committee

Before I get started I want to make clear from the outset that this is not going to be a for or against rant for one side or the other of the political debate. I have been relegated to the bench by … Continue reading

Posted in England and Things English, Personal challenges, Politics and Social Comment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Dilemma of a Beach Book Junkie: How Do You Chose the Perfect Read?

I’ve been looking for beach books to download to my Kindle as mentioned in a previous post. So far I have found nothing. I decided to start with ‘Top Ten beach Books’ – I love google – and searches of that … Continue reading

Posted in England and Things English, Expat Related Book Reviews, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Death of Osama Bin Laden: Closing The Loop, A Day the Nation Will Remember

Finally, nearly ten years after the attack on the Twin Towers in New York, on 9/11 2001, Osama Bin Laden is dead. While we know this will not end the operations of Al Qaeda, may make them more determined to continue in … Continue reading

Posted in Politics and Social Comment, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Well Done Carole Middleton: You Did Your Daughter Proud

Carole Middleton is not so much famous as infamous in Britain as the social-climbing, pushy Mother of the Bride. Dubbed ‘doors to manual’ by some of the British social elite, she has been privately and publicly mocked for her humble … Continue reading

Posted in England and Things English, Women and Female Related | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A New Era: Dignity and Deference at the Royal Wedding

I’m exhausted. Weddings do that to me, Royal ones especially. It’s not the romance or love story or even the dress – it’s the splendor, pageantry and formality of the occasion in a time when deference, good manners and behaving well … Continue reading

Posted in England and Things English, Politics and Social Comment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Wedding Bells and National Cheers: The Royal Wedding

Like everyone else in the world with British roots, today will be spent watching the Royal Wedding – we can’t help it, its in our DNA. Our Harry is not impressed. ‘Mom, what do you think you’re doing? It’s not as … Continue reading

Posted in England and Things English, Women and Female Related | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Best Thing About Living Overseas?

One thing we’ve really enjoyed having lived away from our birth country is the wonderful variety of people we’ve been lucky enough to come across. It has been a real bonus to meet interesting, smart and culturally different citizens from all corners … Continue reading

Posted in Advice for New Arrivals in the Netherlands, Expat Experiences, Family Life, Inspiration and Reflection, Personal challenges, Women and Female Related | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Turning Points and Defining Moments

A bit of a change of pace for this post. I got to thinking the other day – always a dangerous pastime – about how many twists and turns there are in life. How its course can hinge on a single decision and the … Continue reading

Posted in Inspiration and Reflection, Personal challenges | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Family Travels and Unaccompanied Children

There’s something rather nice about returning home from travelling, even if home is in a foreign country. It’s a feeling of having survived a mission during which so much could have gone wrong. As I mentioned a few posts ago, getting out of … Continue reading

Posted in Expat Experiences, Family Life, The Netherlands, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

My Father and Other Animals

Having taught my sister and myself to ride bikes my father saw no reason not to apply similar methods to riding horses. He taught himself to ride by chasing down the milkman’s horse, which was guaranteed to be found relaxing at … Continue reading

Posted in England and Things English, Family Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Writer

Day twenty-one of a thirty day blog challenge, two-thirds behind me and one-third to go. I should be feeling wonderful but sadly I don’t. I’ve hit that wall where it’s too much effort to take a take the next step, … Continue reading

Posted in Inspiration and Reflection, Personal challenges, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Loving my Kindle: Why Everyone Should Have One

I will stand up now and say I used to have no time for the Kindle. It went against every bone in my body not to hold a real book, feel the texture of the paper and inhale the woody, musky scent when you turned the pages. … Continue reading

Posted in Expat Related Book Reviews, Inspiration and Reflection, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Trains, Boats and Planes: The Easter Getaway

We are leaving on the overnight ferry to Hull – the aim is at arrive at the ferry terminal with everything we planned on bringing and leaving nothing behind. I’m not good at travelling, or rather I’m not good at getting out of … Continue reading

Posted in Dutch Culture, Family Life, The Netherlands, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Foreign Invasion: When the Tourists Arrive

The sun is beaming gloriously from a blue sky and it’s two days to go to the Easter weekend. As a family we hate traveling at peak holiday periods, we know Schiphol airport (Amsterdam) will be bursting at the seams … Continue reading

Posted in Dutch Culture, Expat Experiences, The Netherlands | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Preparing For The Worst: Death of a Spouse Overseas

A change of pace today, caused by some sad news which has me thinking deeply. Everyone has a file stored in the back of their mind under ‘things I’d rather not think about’  but which anyone living overseas has thought about quietly and planned … Continue reading

Posted in Expat Experiences, Family Life, Personal challenges, The Netherlands, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Keukenhof: Useful Tips for Reluctant Visitors

I realised in my earlier post I’d forgotten to include some pretty important stuff you may like to consider before visiting the Keukenhof, should you decide to go at some point over the next few weeks. The weather here in The … Continue reading

Posted in Family Life, The Netherlands | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Keukenhof: The Jewel in the Crown of The Netherlands

What I didn’t mention in The Perfect Palette : The Netherlands in Spring and what anyone living here would think of when you put ‘spring’ and ‘The Netherlands’ in the same sentence – the Keukenhof The reason, dear readers, is because I’ve saved … Continue reading

Posted in Expat Experiences, The Netherlands | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Perfect Palette – The Netherlands in Spring

When the sun comes out in the spring, there is no more beautiful place in the world than The Netherlands – this from someone who struggles with the weather here after more than ten years living in the heat, humidity and dramatic … Continue reading

Posted in Inspiration and Reflection, The Netherlands | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lagnaippe: Return to Childhood with Albert and The Lion

A few days back I made a comment in the blog Filed and Finished- Finally about poking the fates with a stick. Every time I hear the expression I have a visual – a young boy called Albert, poking a lion through the bars … Continue reading

Posted in England and Things English | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Coven Convenes

I make no apologies for continuing the theme of Fond Farewells and Private Tears  – it will be the last time I talk about my girlfriends, for a while at least. I wanted to explain why they, and my other friends, are so are … Continue reading

Posted in Expat Experiences, Inspiration and Reflection, Women and Female Related | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fond Farewells and Private Tears

Blogs the next few days will be a little different. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t blog at all, but having taken on a challenge to blog every day for thirty days straight one has to get a little, well, resourceful. The … Continue reading

Posted in Advice for New Arrivals in the Netherlands, Expat Experiences, Inspiration and Reflection, Women and Female Related | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Filed and Finished – Finally

I have to admit to feeling a little pleased with myself today. I wouldn’t go so far as to say smug because that would be tempting the fates, we don’t have to poke them with a stick to get their … Continue reading

Posted in Dutch Laws, Taxes and Bureaucracy, Expat Experiences, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

And Death Came Third: Facing Your Fears

I was chatting with someone recently and they mentioned a book whose title has played on my mind ever since. Called And Death Came Third, it was the title which initially caught my interest. I haven’t read the book (yet) but the idea … Continue reading

Posted in Expat Experiences, Expat Related Book Reviews, Personal challenges, Politics and Social Comment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Exclusion Zones and Social Politics

I try very hard every day to do the right thing, behave well and all that stuff. It doesn’t always work, but I figure trying and failing has better results than not trying at all. I wrote about how I try … Continue reading

Posted in Inspiration and Reflection, Personal challenges, Women and Female Related | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Dutch Death and Taxes: Where There’s a Will There’s a Lawyer

This week has seen the Captain and I have our annual meeting with our Dutch and US accountants – enough angst to put both of us in need of a long vacation somewhere warm, with hammocks, and 24-hour room service. … Continue reading

Posted in Dutch Culture, Dutch Laws, Taxes and Bureaucracy, Expat Experiences, Family Life, The Netherlands | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Girlfriends and Sunny Days

I have written far too many words this week and it is the weekend, so perhaps a shorter blog may be allowed. Yesterday I decided to have some down time after a hectic week and was looking forward to a … Continue reading

Posted in Advice for New Arrivals in the Netherlands, Expat Experiences, Inspiration and Reflection, The Netherlands, Women and Female Related | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Loving your Dutch Bike

Ask anyone to think of anything Dutch and I guarantee the top four will be, in no particular order, tulips, windmills, clogs and bikes. Bikes will always be listed – they are such an ingrained part of Dutch life and … Continue reading

Posted in Advice for New Arrivals in the Netherlands, Dutch Culture, Expat Experiences, Family Life, The Netherlands | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Dutch Rules and Regulations

There’s no getting away from it, the Dutch are a nation managed by infinite rules and regulations. They are there for a reason, they work and are immoveable. Even Moses would have had a tough time without the Ten Commandments in … Continue reading

Posted in Advice for New Arrivals in the Netherlands, Dutch Culture, Dutch Laws, Taxes and Bureaucracy, Expat Experiences, Family Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Art of Thinking

In my opinion thinking is a much underrated pastime, often confused with indolence and idleness by those who do not allow their thoughts to roam freely and often. I can recommend doing nothing but thinking as a wonderful way to … Continue reading

Posted in Inspiration and Reflection, Personal challenges, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Pillow Talk: The Best Way to Learn a New Language

The Dutch are an enigmatic race. On the one hand conservative to a fault, on the other broad-minded, tolerant and objective. A confusing mix for the outsider – you think you have the culture sussed then something goes and blows … Continue reading

Posted in Dutch Culture, Family Life, Learning Dutch, Personal challenges, The Netherlands, Women and Female Related | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Ultimate Blog Challenge

Oh shoot, now I’ve really gone and done it. I’ve signed up, registered and will make have to make myself accountable.   Why do I always get gung-ho on an idea only to wake up the next day with that hangover-like … Continue reading

Posted in Inspiration and Reflection, Personal challenges, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Question: What is An Expat?

According to the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) – for me the only font of knowledge when it comes to definitive explanation of all words English – ‘expatriate’ is defined as, ‘To expel, remove oneself from homeland; withdraw oneself from citizenship or … Continue reading

Posted in Advice for New Arrivals in the Netherlands, Expat Experiences | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Spring Time and Dutch Delights: Dutch Leisure Pursuits

Finally after six long months of cold, wet and dark the Spring Equinox has arrived, the first day in the year when day and night are of equal length. From now until September 21 the days will be longer than the … Continue reading

Posted in Expat Experiences, The Netherlands | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Boomerang Kids

Life is pretty interesting in our house right now, especially for Missy who has moved back into the bosom of her family after graduating in December. This is not the scenario she had planned as she stood on the verge of … Continue reading

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Disaster and Tragedy: The Emotional Cost

In 2001 I spent days watching footage from Japan. Then last week Hurricane Sandy. What struck me with both was my utter numbness. It seems inhuman and inhumane to admit this in the face of such horror and suffering on … Continue reading

Posted in Expat Experiences, Hurricane Katrina, Personal challenges, Politics and Social Comment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments