clean screen

Hands off my phone!

Ever lent your phone to a friendly-looking stranger? What about to that one friend whose hygiene habits you’re not quite convinced of?

Well you may want to reconsider who gets to touch your touch screen, as one study shows that 16% of phones have traces of faeces on them.

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Learn the health insurance jargon and walk in confidently when buying your policy.

When you think of yourself as a consumer you probably describe yourself as a smart and knowledgeable shopper. You know exactly what you are buying because you understand all the terminology. You are an expert, perhaps. But, would you consider yourself an expert when it comes to shopping for health insurance?

Expat families are, in most cases, required to have international health insurance when entering a new country. Even if they are not required to have it, purchasing it is highly recommended. But what’s with all the confusing terminology? Had you ever heard of lifetime maximum or co-payment? Not the kind of terms you’ll find at a shoe sale.

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Enjoy your well-deserved rest in a country you feel comfortable calling home.

You may have reached that age when retirement has arrived and now you are wondering whether you should settle at home or embrace the expat retirement life. If you are considering the latter, you will be joining the millions of retirees who have ventured abroad in search of a better, healthier and more peaceful lifestyle.

International Living released its Annual Retirement Index Report, which caters to people wanting to hop on board the expat express. As always, measured by lifestyle, health, economy, and other factors, the report handpicks the best places to call home when living abroad.

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accidental expat

“Accidental expats” often struggle with re-entry after visiting their home country.

Trailing spouses are dependents; that is quite a hard word to swallow for someone who has a thriving career at home and gives it up for their family or their spouse’s career. It may be you, suddenly staring at your visa and reading the word dependent on it. You’ve gone from being a self-sufficient, hard-working person to someone who needs a partner to survive.

That’s you – out there in a foreign country – alone, unemployed, facing culture shock, depending on your partner’s income. All the while you have to smile and teach your children what a wonderful opportunity it is to be living abroad.

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Help your children set and achieve reasonable New Year resolutions.

With the turn of the new year, people are swearing to stay true to their new year resolutions. Most people promise to start following a healthy lifestyle and set a positive example for their children to grow up with. However, they tend to forget that children can participate in said resolutions as well. After all, there are few opportunities in life such as these where you can teach your children to set a goal and help them to follow through with it.

Choosing and setting resolutions for a new year is a way to encourage your children to plan ahead and stick to deadlines, as well as paving a path to a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to highlight that “healthy lifestyle” does not necessarily mean eating fruits and vegetables or exercising; it refers to leading a lifestyle where you regard yourself and your safety before everything else. It can also mean that you help others in any way you can or recognising the need to reach out when you are in need of help.

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The constant use of social media can enhance the fear of missing out.

In today’s digital age we often take a look at our Facebook feed and instantly close it with a burning sensation of envy when we see our friends or family’s picture-perfect lives. Social media is a deceiving platform, and makes us expats often wonder if it is, in fact, true that the grass is greener on the other side. Many expats have a thing called ‘fear of missing out’ or FOMO. This feeling comes and goes, as we all wish we could be home to witness every important event that our loved ones are enjoying back home.

For the past seven months, I have found myself constantly scrolling through all of my social media feeds trying to keep up with what’s happening back home. Weddings, parties, graduations, get togethers, even the birth of my niece and the launch of my friend’s own theatre play have gone by while I was having my own adventures abroad.

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In Italy, seafood and fish are the stars of the dinner table.

When you’ve been having the same Christmas dinner every year of your life, it’s hard to imagine eating anything else. In my case the Christmas dinner is turkey, pasta, salad and way too much dessert. People seldom contemplate trying something new, especially if it is an ingrained tradition in your family.

If you’re living abroad and you are spending your first Christmas abroad as an expat family you may be forced to give up certain traditions and embrace some new ones.

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It’s easy to keep your children entertained during the winter holidays.

It’s that time of year again when the kids are off school for a couple of weeks. The working spouse may not have the same privilege and might only have a couple days off work, which means that, as expats, it’s not always possible to fly back home for the holidays.

If you are not busy with family dinners, parties and reunions, you might find that you and your children have plenty of time on your hands to fill up.

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There’s a difference between getting old and older.

“To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, cheerful, kindly, reverent – that is to triumph over old age” – Thomas Bailey Aldrich.

At the tender age of 26, I am constantly reminding myself of how old I am getting. I do this every time my knee cracks or my back hurts. The difference between me and, say, a 79 year old man who skates, is that I keep repeating that I am getting old, rather than older – because we all get older, but that doesn’t mean that we must lose our youthful spirit. I realise it’s unfair to blame my physical problems on aging, when in reality, age is just a number.

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What are your New Year’s traditions like?

It’s that time of year again, it’s time to set up a piñata dressed in men’s clothing and fill it with lit firecrackers. The piñata is set on fire 15 minutes before the clock strikes 12 at midnight.

In Mexico, it’s our way of saying goodbye to the old year and welcoming in the new one. It’s just one of the many traditions we have, along with eating grapes, placing sheep ornaments around the house and wearing red underwear.

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