Our Expat Life, Summarized in Five Colors and Photos

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There is a cool photo contest going on, and I am just barely squeaking in my entry before the deadline!So, I have five color-themed photos to share, and I am looking forward to talking just a little bit about what the picture/ color mean to me in each image. I have arranged them to represent a bit of our story and journey in the travels of the past couple of years.


I took this photo in Amberg, Germany. It was on All Souls Day, just a few months after we had arrived in Bavaria. This day felt special because it was the first time we were doing something with the local community, and it was significant to be a part of it all. And since we were honoring the souls of those who had gone before us, I felt even more tied to those around me– this experience of acknowledging previous generations or those we have lost is so universal. I think of water as another universal, unifying element, and the act of lighting a candle and floating it down the river with the candles of those in my new town was an experience that helped me to feel at home amongst these strangers.


 As most of you know, our time in Amberg ended too soon, and with significant loss. We returned to the USA, feeling kind of blank– not knowing the purpose of what we had just endured. We were hopeful, though. This landscape really resonated with me during that time– we drove through these fire-ravaged mountains many times while we were living briefly in Oregon, and I was always struck by the incredible beauty of the snow amongst the burnt pines. It was sad to see, but still– so beautiful. We actually have some really sweet memories of that lonely summertime in Bend— it was  a time for us to trust, hope, and bond as a family.


And then we came to England, where everything is green, all the time! This has been a place for us to sink our roots into, to grow, and (I believe it’s happening!) actually blossom. Even though we still miss Amberg often, we see that this is a good place for us, full of possibility. Also– not super symbolic, but still very relevant– this is the first place I have been able to grow a garden in since we made our first move away from the US. We like green!


 Is yellow the color of happiness? I think so. It is sunshine and warmth, that happy glow. And this picture says it all for me. In the middle of our first English winter, we visited Turkey for the first time. After a long period of being seriously, seriously broke, Jeff’s work paid for all three of us to go and stay at a resort in Antalya while he attended a conference. It was such an outrageous thing to be able to do, and it was all so much more wonderful than we had ever expected. Here my daughter is, enjoying some fresh-squeezed orange juice as we sat in the beautiful sunshine by the sea. Just a couple minutes after snapping this picture, my husband and daughter left the table, and sitting there alone, I burst into tears of happiness (for the first time in years.)


 I had to choose Brugges! I have never seen a place that used red so beautifully in its architecture, and I loved the rich presentation of this city. For us as a family, being able to visit places like Belgium with relative ease is that (bright red!) cherry on top of an already-full, yes, rich life that we have here in Europe. We have a ridiculous number of “pinch me” moments, and each time we get to see a new place, it is a real thrill. The color red conveys all of these things:  richness (both in terms of depth and wealth,) the thrill of adventure and the overabundance of goodness before us now.

I enjoyed using this as a reflection! Any thoughts on the colors here?

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4 Responses to Our Expat Life, Summarized in Five Colors and Photos

  1. Liene August 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

    Good luck! You have a fantastic entry, but my favorite is blue…

  2. greatdana August 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    What a beautiful recap!!! My fave is green!

  3. Gretchen August 29, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    I LOVE THIS POST! So sweet and so meaningful. =0)

  4. Ariana September 5, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    OH, thanks so much, all of you!!

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