The sing song do de doo
of skype is familiar to many of us. It's easy to see the attraction for the over 663 million registered users. Being apart from loved ones is always difficult and a simple phone call
can make all the difference. You can use it for local calls or to
connect with friends and family across the world. Whether it
is during the holidays
or just for a chat, connecting with our world is becoming easier than
Skype offers the ability to instant message, send files, conference
calls, voice mail, and video chat with other users through the internet.
Services online are free, with the ability to make phone calls to
non-users or mobile phones and land lines usually only costing pennies.
Registered users of Skype are identified by a unique Skype Name, and may
be listed in the Skype directory.
A simple question from @MissAboutTown brought up an issue most expats encounter,
"Six weeks after the permanent overseas move, homesickness is starting to strike. Anyone got advice on overcoming it?"
Hug or handshake? The kiss? The double kiss? The triple kiss?
Saying "hello" is more complicated than just knowing the language. So much of communication is non-verbal, greetings across cultures requires you to learn to speak another language with your actions. Greetings are determined by social etiquette, relationship of the people, and geographic location.
Tips on Being Polite
If you approach situations in a positive spirit and are flexible, rarely will you go wrong in a greeting. (More)
As the Amanda Know case was battled out in the courtroom and in the media, the common question was:
If she's innocent, What did she do wrong?
As an expat, it is likely that you are not altogether familiar with the laws and legal system you are living within. Many people aren't entirely familiar with the legal system they are born into. However, this is a vital aspect of leading a happy and safe expat life. From the bizarre investigation and trial of the American Knox in Italy, to much more mundane issues of visas, purchase of property, and the use and transport of drugs, expats and travelers should understand their rights and responsibilities wherever they go. (More)
The IBM Global Commuter Pain Survey finds that many people have crossed their pain threshold for traffic and congestion. With more than one billion cars on the road worldwide, an increasing number of respondents say that roadway traffic has increased their levels of personal stress and anger. (More)
Traffic, congestion and pollution have long been a plague on cities. While public transportation helps to abate some of these problems, it is not always available. One of the best options in many cities is to take to the road - by bike. Two wheels rather than four can not only lessen the environmental footprint you have on the world, it can also provide faster transport, it's cheap, has distinct health benefits, and it can also help you form a stronger bond to the city around you.
City Bike Programs
Many cities are now seeing the value of having a community of bike riders. City governments are adding bike lanes, riders are forming groups, and routes and tips are posted online. "Utility cycling" is a term that refers to cycling not done primarily for fitness or recreation, but as a means of transport. Bike sharing and inexpensive rentals are gaining in popularity for both tourists and residents. Cities want people to get out there, and get riding. (More)
The ninth month of the Islamic calendar is the Islamic month of fasting, Ramadan. Believed to be the month that the Qu'ran was revealed to the prophet Muhammad, participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking smoking, sexual intimacy with their partners and negative behaviors like swearing, lying and getting angry from Imsak, which is just before sunrise, until Maghrib, at sunset. This is in order to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-sacrifice. Ramadan is much more than abstaining, Muslims believe Ramadan is a time to read the entire Qu'ran and is an auspicious month for the revelations of God to humankind. (More)
The bad news: Most people will experience some form of culture shock. The good news: It is manageable and you can overcome it.
Culture shock tends to hit every individual in a different way, and even members of the same family can have a vastly different reaction to the change. The key is to understand the phenomenon and prepare for it. (More)
Having a baby is a joyous occasion, but offers challenges unlike any other. Insurance, health of the mother and baby, finances, child safety, and the whole birthing process can be overwhelming. As terrifying as the experience can be, know that giving birth is international and happens every day, everywhere. It is estimated that 4.45 people are born every second worldwide, which is 267 every minute, 384,000 thousand every day, 140.4 million every year. That's a lot of babies.
As with so many things, a little research will help prepare for the newest expat. Whether it is a first baby, first baby abroad, or another little traveler, being prepared before their arrival is key. (More)
Eating abroad can be a challenge as the names of the dishes, way they are served, and ingredients can be entirely different from those you are familiar with. Even a slice of pizza in New York City is vastly different from a piece of pizza pie in Italy. Trying to stick to a vegetarian, or especially a vegan, lifestyle can make these already challenging conditions seem impossible. (More)