Not Your Arm Nor Your Elbow

I was talking to my girlfriend Carol about a coffee shop in Adelaide, except it’s not really a coffee shop, it’s kind of like a tiny gourmet grocer where you can also have coffee. Carol wasn’t a fan. “The problem with it, is its neither your arm nor your elbow. It needs to decide what it’s going to be.”

Being an expat is kind of the same. I’m not permanently in Australia and I’m definitely not Qatari, nor will I ever be given the opportunity to be. I’m floating somewhere between the two in the land of expat. As expats we stumble into new locations, often after we’ve been given a spin and blindfolded, we randomly reach out looking for community. Ah here it is, oops no, that’s its bum.

There is a strong and vibrant Australian blogging community. I’ve waded into their waters on many occasions, most of the time I feel like I’m standing knee deep looking in at everyone splashing around. I’m Australian but often that’s just not enough to get an invite to the party. Competitions are run and I’m told in the politest way that although I’m Australian it’s just too hard if I don’t live there all the time. “We’re just not sure how we’d get you to try the products?”

Β When I was back in Australia recently I won a writing competition, when they rang to tell me the news they first had a clarifying question.

“Kirsty, where are you right now?”

I knew what was coming. “I’m at my house in South Australia…” there was an awkward pause “this is my house in Australia, we have a home here.”

“Ahh, okay then. We just had to check. Hey, congratulations, you’ve won!”

I understand why I was asked, it was a butt covering exercise for the inevitable question/statement “but she doesn’t even live in Australia?”

Earlier this year when Mamamia chose me as one of their 50 most clickable women I felt the need to send Mia a thank you note. It felt good to have my name next to those names, woman who I identify with and admire. For the longest time I’d felt like I was on the outer, I think everyone wants to feel part of a community don’t they?

While G was in New York on a business trip recently I stumbled across an article about Blogfest13. I clicked on the link to see when it was and discovered it was this weekend in London. I mentioned it to G. I’ve never been able to get to a conference in Australia and the one that’s held in the States couldn’t be at a worse time of the year for G and I. I’ve downloaded recordings from conferences and listened in on the voices of women I admire feeling a million miles away from the action. There’s nothing like watching the twitter feed of an event to really let you know that you’re not there. About an hour after I’d told G about Blogfest13 he sent me an email, the subject title was “You better buy that conference ticket”, his email was a flight confirmation, he’d booked me a ticket to London.

I know, he’s a keeper. And I adore him.

And so tomorrow morning I will get on a plane to London, and dip my toes into another blogging community, hoping like any expat does that they’ll let me splash around for awhile. Even if it was just up to my waist I’d be happy. I will go as Kirsty the Australian with the Australian accent and the Australian passport. I will go as Kirsty who lives in Qatar and has a Qatari home, Qatari friends and a mild understand of how Qatar works. But mostly I will go as Kirsty the expat. And when people talk of blogging communities I will think of you; because you get it, you understand that we don’t have to live in the same country to connect.

While it may be confusing being neither an arm nor an elbow, the trade off is being able to dip your toes into more than one pool at a time. Wade in, wade out, splash around, make some new friends. That’s what I’m going to do, just keep swimming.

Sign up for the best bits here

Sign up for the best bits from our community of forty thousands expats. Every Saturday morning we’ll shoot you the five hottest topics from the world of expat.

Powered by ConvertKit

Comments

  1. Why do people think being an expat is easy peasy? It’s damn hard work!
    Enjoy Blogfest!
    You’ll fit right in with a bunch of nomadic bloggers
    x

  2. vegemitevix says

    So this man of yours, does he believe in sister wives? Just asking. Have a brilliant time. I know you will. Vix x

  3. Have a great time in London! You will have a ball at the conference!

  4. Why do people think being an expat is easy peasy? It’s damn hard work!
    Enjoy Blogfest!
    You’ll fit right in with a bunch of nomadic bloggers
    x

  5. Have an absolutely brilliant time, Kirsty! I know you will x

  6. So this man of yours, does he believe in sister wives? Just asking. Have a brilliant time. I know you will. Vix x

  7. He will find that hysterically funny, we were fans of Big Love. Hey that would make you Chloe Sevigny!

  8. Because all we do is shop, drink gin and have coffee mornings!!! πŸ™‚

  9. Have a great time in London! You will have a ball at the conference!

  10. I’m stoked with that. Chloe is excellent and sexy. Whew at least I’m not the older no-nonsense wife! x

  11. Enjoy your conference . You should win things because you are easily the best blogger I read regardless of where you come from or where you live . I LOVE that you write about things that I understand ( as an expat ) but through your writing you make all kinds of things accessible to those that don’t share your experiences …. I am such a crap writer so hope that makes sense . Enjoy London too xx

  12. I think the trade off is much bigger. Rather than just being an “Australian” blogger, you have the whole world and ex pat families from so many places and extended contacts and amazing stories to tell.

    London certainly sounds more fabulous than Gold Coast too!

    • Yes. Although unfortunately I will be the girl dressed for the Gold Coast in London. I’m last minute jacket shopping. The only jeans I have are white. Can you wear white jeans in London in the winter? Shit, with my white jeans and gold boots I will actually look like i’ve come straight from the Gold Coast?!

  13. Have an absolutely brilliant time, Kirsty! I know you will x

  14. Thanks Corinne, I think you should come next time! xx

  15. Thanks Mary, taking deep breaths.

  16. Hang on, I’m the first wife? That makes me the older no-nonsense wife!!!

  17. Enjoy your conference . You should win things because you are easily the best blogger I read regardless of where you come from or where you live . I LOVE that you write about things that I understand ( as an expat ) but through your writing you make all kinds of things accessible to those that don’t share your experiences …. I am such a crap writer so hope that makes sense . Enjoy London too xx

  18. I think the trade off is much bigger. Rather than just being an “Australian” blogger, you have the whole world and ex pat families from so many places and extended contacts and amazing stories to tell.

    London certainly sounds more fabulous than Gold Coast too!

  19. G is a great guy and that’s why you married him & are in love with him…the thing I love about the guys we’ve married is they ” get ” us even when we may not! So bloody happy for you & rock that London scene lady in white jeans.. “Oh this? Trendy right now in oz” I adore you & your writing – remember we bonded via broken leg stories .. Take care d xx.

  20. Alli @ ducks on the dam says

    Awwwwwww. That is special. Cant wait to attend alongside with you…. in your twitter feed. Hope you have a spare battery packed!

  21. Yes. Although unfortunately I will be the girl dressed for the Gold Coast in London. I’m last minute jacket shopping. The only jeans I have are white. Can you wear white jeans in London in the winter? Shit, with my white jeans and gold boots I will actually look like i’ve come straight from the Gold Coast?!

  22. Have a fantastic time!

  23. Sarah, you have made my day. Thank you xx

  24. Kelly Exeter says

    Oh Kirst you will have such a fab time And hopefully one day we’ll get to meet for reals at an Aussie blog conference πŸ™‚

  25. G is a great guy and that’s why you married him & are in love with him…the thing I love about the guys we’ve married is they ” get ” us even when we may not! So bloody happy for you & rock that London scene lady in white jeans.. “Oh this? Trendy right now in oz” I adore you & your writing – remember we bonded via broken leg stories .. Take care d xx.

  26. Thanks D, he is a great guy and I am just a tad excited about the conference. I keep looking at all the topics and I can’t wait to talk/listen to blogging, blogging, blogging and more blogging. xx

  27. Awwwwwww. That is special. Cant wait to attend alongside with you…. in your twitter feed. Hope you have a spare battery packed!

  28. Have a fantastic time!

  29. Oh Kirst you will have such a fab time And hopefully one day we’ll get to meet for reals at an Aussie blog conference πŸ™‚

  30. Ah, that’s why I connect with you even though I am not an expat. I live in a motorhome traveling around the USA. To which community do I belong?

  31. Ah, that’s why I connect with you even though I am not an expat. I live in a motorhome traveling around the USA. To which community do I belong?

  32. You can come here anytime Linda πŸ™‚ xx

  33. We HAVE to! x

  34. I got all excited there for a minute!

  35. Thanks Dorothy.

  36. Have a fantastic time Kirsty. As a new member of the ‘expat’ community I can see the advantages of being a nomad for a while. And yes, I put away my white jeans two weeks ago. Hung on to that summer feeling for as long as I could.

  37. Adriana Hartley says

    Congratulations! You get to go to a “work” conference and get away for some girl time!! Love reading along with you.

  38. Have a fantastic time Kirsty. As a new member of the ‘expat’ community I can see the advantages of being a nomad for a while. And yes, I put away my white jeans two weeks ago. Hung on to that summer feeling for as long as I could.

  39. Congratulations! You get to go to a “work” conference and get away for some girl time!! Love reading along with you.

  40. TokyoJinja says

    Oh Kirsty, how this post speaks to me and how I wish I was headed out with you. For me, the waters have gotten even thicker as I am a design blogger on one hand, which is its own community, but also an expat blogger from all those years in Japan and now I have to layer in this move to Qatar. I’m never quite at the party either – which is why I am so looking forward to hanging out with you πŸ™‚ Jacqueline

  41. Oh Kirsty, how this post speaks to me and how I wish I was headed out with you. For me, the waters have gotten even thicker as I am a design blogger on one hand, which is its own community, but also an expat blogger from all those years in Japan and now I have to layer in this move to Qatar. I’m never quite at the party either – which is why I am so looking forward to hanging out with you πŸ™‚ Jacqueline

  42. Louise Alexander says

    Welcome to London Kirsty. Can’t wait to hear what you have to say about us and the conference.

  43. Oh my Kirsty, have a great time, meet new people, impress some of them, be impressed by others, drink good coffee and talk story til the wee hours. Wish I were going w you.

  44. Oh my Kirsty, have a great time, meet new people, impress some of them, be impressed by others, drink good coffee and talk story til the wee hours. Wish I were going w you.

  45. Yay!!! Maybe you should be up there next year!!

  46. Love this Kirsty … as long as you’re writing you have something … the rest just can happen.

  47. Ah, so beautiful! And my darling coder of a husband just explained to me what SEO means, and do not worry about it is seems – keep being good at what you do and it will happen!

  48. amen to that. SEO schmess-y-o. You do what you do very well indeed.

  49. Love it Kirsty!!! I am right there with you!!! The technical stuff does my head in most days and all I really want to do is write, but yep I love the engagement with people too….and I’ve still got such a long road to walk, only a year in, but I like that too! πŸ™‚ Glad you’re enjoying the blogfest, would love to have been there.

  50. You are married to a bloggers dream – a coding husband! xx

  51. Next year Nicole, you have to come next year!

  52. Naaaaw, thanks Kelly x

  53. Thanks Nikki, it was fabulous to finally get to a conference – and the UK women were so friendly and fabulous. I keep looking for my UK Mrs Woog, my UK Nikki, and my UK Eden – no luck, I think you’ll just have to come over for the next one πŸ™‚

  54. I wonder what I would talk about? How to blog about labias without even trying? πŸ™‚

  55. Hello, my name’s Kirsty and I don’t know what SEO is. Good to meet you this weekend. x

  56. SEO is where you use boring words so the search engines, like Google, will bring in more readers. Ignore it. You do fine just being you. We LIKE you being you. That’s what brings us back again and again.

Speak Your Mind

*