My name is Matt Ellsworth. I’m an American. And I have been an expat (short for expatriate from the Latin ex patria, meaning “out of the fatherland”) for more than 8 years. [Sounds like a confession in a 12-step program, no?]
I first left the U.S. in 1975, spending two years in Chile as a single, living on the local economy and using Spanish constantly. When I entered the Foreign Service (diplomatic corps) in 1986, I was sent (with family) to Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates for 2 years, followed by 2 years in Jerusalem, and then 2 years in Mexico City. One of my sons was born in Abu Dhabi, and another in Jerusalem. While working in the American Embassy in Mexico City, I was responsible for official visitors, including currency exchange, lodging, airport procedures, and language services.
From 1996 to 2000, I was responsible for supporting large American delegations to major international conferences (like the Kyoto conference on climate change). In this assignment, I was sent on short trips (1-3 weeks) to 20 or so different countries in North and South America, Europe (including Malta), Asia (from Oman to Osaka), and the South Pacific.
I tell you these things just to let you know that I have personal experience with shipping valuables, shipping pets, airport layovers, local foreign air carriers, children in foreign schools, foreign languages, foreign customs, foreign healthcare (including a few scary hospital episodes), foreign foods…foreign everything! But my experience isn’t truly worldwide, nor exhaustive. I’ll need your input to make this site valuable to expats today.
I also want to hear the experience of expats in America–warts and all, as we say.
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