Up Close From Afar: On Being A Black American Abroad

PETAL team
The team of PETAL (Promoting Empowerment Through Awareness for Lesbian/Bisexual Women)

I recently came across an article on Facebook where the author, a black American woman living abroad, was telling other black Americans to “stay woke” while living in other countries. She insisted that we need to stay involved in American politics by communicating with legislators and absentee voting on state and local levels, among other things. She also spoke about acknowledging our privilege of having the luxury to live abroad, and using that unique position as a way to stay politically active. Continue reading “Up Close From Afar: On Being A Black American Abroad”

Finding My Tongue: On (Not) Speaking Kriol

Even though I’ve been living in Belize for nine months, I still don’t speak Kriol. Often when I am out and about, buying something or making small talk with folks, people address me in Kriol. Though I understand what they are saying, I don’t respond in Kriol, which then makes them speak to me in carefully enunciated English. I’ve learned not to take it personally, and still like to think that I am not one of “them” – those American expats who come across as an outsider and expect to be catered to. I don’t want to stand out, I want to blend in. Continue reading “Finding My Tongue: On (Not) Speaking Kriol”

I Am Not An Expat

New and old friends…

The first time I experienced living somewhere other than my hometown of New York was in college. I moved to Ohio knowing nothing about the place. I had visited the school earlier that year with my mom and high school friend. The road trip part was cool. The school was in a small town that was the equivalent of three city blocks. I walked around the tiny, green campus in my long floral dress and Doc Marten combat boots and tried to picture myself as a student there. It wasn’t until I moved on campus later that summer that I realized what I had done. Big city girl in a small town. Continue reading “I Am Not An Expat”