Life

10 lessons learnt from moving abroad

My two year “America-versary” crept up and slinked by quickly. I had an inkling that moving abroad would change my outlook on life and the world, but you never really know how you’re going to react to a place until you’ve lived there a while. Having lived in both the…

Posted in Expat Life, Getting Started, Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Expat life: Dealing with sickness and tragedy

Sickness and tragedy aren’t generally things at the forefront of an expat’s mind, until of course, something happens to a friend or family “back home”. Often times the guilt rolls in waves, leaving you with “what if’s” and questions that can’t possibly be answered. Frankly, those questions shouldn’t even be…

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Redwood City 4th of July in Pictures

The Redwood City 4th of July Parade was my first, and so far only, taste of the Independence Day holiday in the US. If you don’t already know, the day marks America’s independence from the British more than two centuries ago. It’s celebrated with parades, fireworks and more star-spangled clothing…

Posted in Expat Life, Life, The Americas, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

The US electronic “visa” for tourists (ESTA)

This is a guest post by Josh Hobson, who has written an in depth website on the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) used by the United States. Why is this important to you? If you’ve got family or friends coming over to visit for the first time, who haven’t…

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7 weird ways to survive a US heatwave

Please don’t revoke my Australian citizenship when I say this, but there’s been a heatwave in San Francisco this week. The mercury soared to 39c in some East Bay suburbs on Sunday – and San Jose and Redwood City weren’t very far behind. Of course, the whole of Australia is…

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Expat birthday: celebrating my unbirthday

I sat down to some strange emails in my inbox this morning. Everyone gets those pesky online shopping newsletters, reminding you that your one duty as a human being is to amass as many “things” as possible. This morning, I got one wishing me a happy half-birthday and inviting me…

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11 best junk foods in the USA

Regular readers of Bright Lights of America already know that I spend a fair whack of my time whinging about how terrible junk food in the US is. Namely the chocolate. I don’t understand how anyone could enjoy Hershey’s. I may have misrepresented the array and quality of junk food on…

Posted in Expat Life, Life | Tagged | 33 Comments

Expat dilemma : stay or go?

Expat life is full of excitement and unexpected twists and turns. You experience the highs of having a whole new place to explore, possibly learning a new language and a new way of life. But there’s a downside to expat living as well, and it tends to rear its head…

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12 Weirdest things on sale in the US

America: where capitalism came to buy more stuff. You can purchase literally ANYTHING in this country, which throws up some very weird conundrums between what you want and what you actually need. I want a home defibrillator but do I actually need one? Probably not, but I can’t see into…

Posted in Finance, Life | Tagged , , | 60 Comments

Review: Hot Cross Buns in San Francisco

Hot cross buns. It’s just not Easter without them and when you’re living in San Francisco, they can be a bit of a challenge to track down. A challenge, but certainly not impossible, as I found out the other day, when I plotted a hot cross map across the fair…

Posted in Community, Expat Life, Life | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments