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A few days ago I stumbled upon the #challengeforchange. The instructions were simple: “take a photo of an area that needs some cleaning or maintenance, then take a photo after you have done something about it, and post it”. The more pictures I saw, the more inspired I became. Thousands of people around the globe have been doing an amazing job cleaning up their coastal regions. So I though: “Hey, I can do this too!” 1

Given that I’m currently visiting my family, I decided to go with the Nature Park Los Toruños. I picked this gorgeous location because the plastic litter that accumulates around the marshes is dragged by the River San Pedro into the Bay of Cádiz before making it into the Atlantic Ocean.

Expat Gone Foreign, tXc, #challengeforchange, #wedontdeservethisplanet, environment, parque natural Los Toruños

[Source of the map]

I don’t have one particular “before” picture because I walked around 5 km of marshes, but here’s the “after” image. I know that three garbage bags it’s not going to solve the massive pollution problem, but at least I got a full body workout, enjoyed the gorgeous weather and spent the day with my childhood sea.

Expat Gone Foreign, tXc, #challengeforchange, #wedontdeservethisplanet, environment, parque natural Los Toruños

Expat Gone Foreign, tXc, #challengeforchange, #wedontdeservethisplanet, environment, parque natural Los Toruños

Every little step goes a long way.

Expat Gone Foreign, tXc, #challengeforchange, #wedontdeservethisplanet, environment, parque natural Los Toruños

Shall we walk this journey together?

Expat Gone Foreign, tXc, #challengeforchange, #wedontdeservethisplanet, environment, parque natural Los Toruños


Time Zone Math

If you happen to have friends or relatives living in a different time zone, you are most likely acquainted with the time zone math. Whether you’d like to video conference your family, or arrange a phone call with someone who lives on the other side of the planet, you might be used to the phrase “Your time or mine?”. Either way, it’s time for the time zone math! 2Expat Gone Foreign, tXc, Time Zone Math, Time Difference, GTM, living abroad comics

Alright, the calculation is actually much easier than it looks in that blue vortex of numeric madness. Besides, it’s fun to weird yourself out thinking about time zones. One person is born in LA at 7 pm, and another one in Beijing at 11 am. They’ll have two different birth dates, although the were born at the exact same time. *Mind-blown*

Expat Gone Foreign, tXc, Time Zone Math, Time Difference, living abroad comics, mind-blown

You are doing that math in your head right now, aren’t you?

Expats in the Making

Here are some things that I learnt in school: trigonometry, analyzing meter and rhyme in Greek poetry, and every single event leading to the fall of the Tokugawa dynasty. Here are some things that I wish I had learnt in school: dealing with taxes and investments, nailing job interviews, and becoming more aware of cultural diversity. Whether you want to be a pilot, a cook or photographer, the goal of school should be preparing future adults for real-life situations.

We did a bunch of cool things back in school, but in retrospect, I wish we had had a more well-rounded, globally-oriented education. Obviously, school can only provide some foundations, and you have to tackle life on your own and get hands-on experience. In my case however, taking a preparation class before moving abroad would have certainly helped big time. How would that hypothetical course go?

Expats in the Making: the elective high school subject for ecdemomaniacs and prospective expats. Because one can never be too prepared to deal with this wonderful yet confusing world of ours.

Expat Gone Foreign, Expat lessons, school, education, life abroad, getting a head start, Expats in the Making


Foreign, not deaf

Human interactions are fascinating, especially when the people involved in the linguistic exchange don’t share a common language. Picture the following scenario: a native speaker attempts to communicate with a foreigner. The native says something and the non-native looks puzzled. Then the native repeats the exact same thing in the exact same order and speed, just 30 decibels louder. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Expat Gone Foreign, tXc, language comics, life abroad, native speaker yelling to foreigner

My hearing works perfectly, thank you very much. I’m foreign, not deaf. Shouting is not going to magically make me speak your language or understand words that I haven’t previously learnt. Rephrase, use simpler structures, find more basic vocabulary… anything but yelling.

Two people don’t need a common language to communicate. They just need to be willing to understand each other.