As we’re looking for regular columnists to contribute to our website, we decided to ask expat partner Joletta de Man to tell us what she gets out of having this as a hobby.
“Writing can be a great way to share what you are experiencing with friends or family members. With the column it’s really nice that I can connect with a wider audience. I also like the idea that my son can read through my columns in the future and see what we experienced as a family,” says Joletta. “Even for me, I enjoy looking back at older columns to remind myself of past adventures.”
Pause for reflection
“Being a columnist has also helped me to learn and grow as a person. When I write about my life as an expat, I don’t just look around and observe what’s happening around me – I also reflect on my own culture,” adds Joletta. “The process of sitting down to reflect and write gives me a lot of perspective.”
Mishaps and misunderstandings
Some of Joletta’s translated columns are about minor mishaps, such as the day she managed to get locked out of her house in Napoli (while standing on her balcony). “The topics don’t have to be complicated. If I’m having fun writing the column, I believe the reader will, too,” says Joletta, who also wrote a hilarious column about taking her son Khun for a haircut (spoiler alert: without consultation, the Neapolitan barber assumed Khun wanted to look like a Serie A footballer).
“I have also enjoyed having a creative outlet. Plus it keeps me busy. When I am out and about, I will often write down notes for possible columns, if I think of an idea. It might be the opening line, or it might be a few sentences that would be at the end of a column. It could be just a word or an alliteration that I like the sound of. Then I just let the idea ferment!” says Joletta, who is now living in Ulm, Germany, where she will continue to write for us. “It’s such a contrast to Napoli! I’m looking forward to sharing with others more of my experiences as an expat. I have gained so much from these columns. If any other expat partners are thinking of becoming a columnist, too, I’d be very happy to hear from them and help if I can.”
Photo: Joletta’s son Khun and the family dog shopping for Halloween decorations in the German countryside
This article was originally published for the thousands of expat partners that Global Connection supports around the globe. It is reproduced here in its original form.