Expat Book Review

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Here We Are and There We Go  by Jill Dobbe

Jill and her husband were school teachers in Wisconsin USA when one day they moved half way around the world and their lives changed drastically.

Like Jill’s children, I was born into the nomadic life of the serial expat.  I lived in West Africa, Mexico, Asia, South America, and Europe, so I can identify with many of her experiences.  I grew up speaking different languages, like her children did, and I continue to have the travel bug today.  Like her children do.

What truly amazed me about this book was that they just jumped headlong into it with no safety net and blinders off.  They made the decision to move to Guam almost on a whim.  They didn’t even know where Guam was.  That was either very gutsy or completely crazy.  And what was even more interesting was that they stuck it out, learned, and grew through it all.

It didn’t sound like Guam was the dream South Pacific location we all imagined.  It actually sounded pretty challenging.  But they worked through it and learned a lot.  That made their next posting to Singapore a bit easier.   Of course Singapore was probably not a hardship posting. But they were still half way around the world from family and friends in a place with a different culture.  They seemed to breeze through that one.

By the time the got to Ghana they were seasoned travelers.  Although, having lived in Nigeria myself, I know that Ghana was probably not paradise either.  But as they came to understand, there are wonderful things all over the world.  You just have to be open to them.  Jill and her family discovered the joy, frustration, sorrow, and unending surprises one finds when traveling.

I might be reading something into this but it seemed to me they decided to return to the USA for the sake of the children.  Their children spent their high school years (or most of them) in the USA learning to be US citizens.  This probably made it a much easier transition for them in the long run.  It might have given them a clear identity at a young age.  However, from my experience, it doesn’t work.  My son returned to the USA when he was six and now that he is about to enter college all he dreams about is going overseas.  And it seems their children were the same.  They were happy to continue traveling.

Returning to the USA was a difficult transition for all of them.  Jill says she realized people were not interested in her stories and could not relate.  I know exactly what she means.  It is so far from what people know, it is difficult to imagine and therefore not interesting.  Re-entry is a challenge for all expats but travelers know how to adjust and tweak and adapt.  Jill and her family were no exception.  They had a good few years back home with friends and family but the itch was still there.

At the end of the book they leave the USA again for distant lands and new experiences.  I think Jill has more to tell.  Perhaps she will write part two some day!

Check it out, it is worth the read!!

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