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  • Writer's pictureLynette Allcock

"Expat Wife, Happy Life!": Florence's Words for Wanderers

"Living abroad has allowed me to explore different facets of my identity and embrace aspects of myself that may have remained dormant in a familiar environment."


What does it take to survive and thrive abroad? In this "Words to Wanderers" series, expats and TCKs share their experience and advice. Today, author and "serial expat" Florence Reisch shares her story.


Please introduce yourself! Who are you, what do you do, and what’s one thing you’re loving in your life right now?


Hello fellow expats! My name is Florence Reisch. As an expat coach and writer, I'm deeply passionate about life in expatriation and connecting with like-minded women. Currently, I'm relishing the success of my book and the impact it's having on women worldwide.


One thing I'm absolutely loving in my life right now is spending time with my husband, who just retired, and visiting my children who are now studying in Europe. I'm happy and proud of both my kids, who are content with their choices and enjoying their lives where they've chosen to study. With the newfound time, I can fully support, guide, and share my coaching and writing experience, knowing it's valuable for others as well.


You describe yourself as a “serial expat.” Tell us about your experience living internationally. Where were you born? Where have you lived? And what brought you to where you are now?


I consider myself a 'serial expat', because my life has been enriched by the experience of international life. I was born in Geneva, Switzerland, but my career has taken me far beyond its borders. Over the years, I've had the privilege of living in the four corners of the world.


My expatriate adventures began in West Africa, in Benin, where I began to discover all the emotions, the incredible experiences but also the challenges that expatriate life would offer me. I met incredible friends that I would never have met at home, I started studying online, painting and designing jewelry, which I would never have experienced at home. I visited the whole of West Africa and South Africa and even got married on an African island with our close friends and family.


From Africa, we moved to Indonesia and it was in Singapore that my son was born 20 years ago.


We then lived in Brazil, where my daughter was born.


We then moved to Mexico where, after learning Bahasa Indonesian and Portuguese, I also learnt Spanish in order to integrate culturally and socially.


We then returned to Asia, to the Philippines, before settling in Dubai with my children. It was at this point that we experienced the split family: my husband worked first in Pakistan, then in India. This split-family situation was supposed to last three years, but ended up lasting eight... this separation was becoming difficult for my husband, who decided to prepare for retirement. He wanted to make the most of the beautiful years he had left to enjoy his aging parents and his children, who were becoming increasingly independent. Each move has been a chapter in my life, making me the person I am today and fuelling my passion for the expatriate lifestyle. 


What’s something that has surprised you about expat life?


One of the surprising and exciting aspects of expatriate life has been the depth of the bonds forged with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. While I expected cultural exchanges, I had no idea of the profound impact these links would have on my worldview and personal development. Whether it was being invited to the family events of our new local friends, sharing in the cultural celebrations of expats who carry on their customs with their children, or managing day-to-day interactions, each encounter enriched my understanding of humanity and fostered a sense of global community. This unexpected depth of connection was a wonderful and rewarding surprise amidst the challenges of adapting to life in a new country.


You recently published a book, “Expat Wife, Happy Life!” Tell us more about your book! What inspired you to write it?


I'd be delighted to tell you more about my book "Expat Wife, Happy Life!" This book is the result of my own experiences and observations as an expat wife, and the mother of two TCKs, combined with the knowledge I have gained through coaching and contact with other expats. My inspiration to write it came from recognising the unique challenges and opportunities faced by expat wives, particularly when it comes to finding identity, recognition, purpose and fulfillment while living abroad.


Florence's book is available in 6 languages.

Through my book "Expat Wife, Happy Life!", I hope to provide a book that I myself would have enjoyed reading during my expatriation. A book full of practical advice, personal anecdotes and valuable resources to help expat wives on their journey to happiness and fulfillment. From embracing cultural differences to finding meaningful ways to contribute to their new community, the book covers a wide range of topics relating to the expat experience.


Ultimately, my goal with this book is to offer encouragement, inspiration, and concrete strategies for expat wives to thrive in their new environment and cultivate a satisfying life abroad. I hope it will be a source of support for anyone embarking on, or in the process of, the expatriation adventure.


You’re raising a couple of TCKs. What has that experience been like? What advice would you give to other parents of TCKs?


Raising Third Culture Kids (TCKs) has been an incredibly enriching and fulfilling experience for our family. Witnessing our children navigate between different cultures, languages, and environments has provided them with a unique perspective on the world and a deep appreciation for diversity.


One of the most important aspects of raising TCKs has been creating a sense of stability and belonging within our family unit, despite the frequent changes associated with expatriate life. We've prioritized open communication, empathy, and fostering a strong sense of identity rooted in their multicultural background.


Additionally, providing opportunities for our children to maintain connections with their heritage and the cultures of their passport countries has been crucial. Whether through language lessons, cultural activities, or regular visits back home, we've sought to ensure that they feel connected to their roots while embracing the richness of their global experiences.


In terms of advice for other parents of TCKs, I would emphasize the importance of creating a supportive and nurturing environment that celebrates diversity and encourages curiosity about the world. It's also essential to be flexible and adaptable as parents, recognizing that each child may respond differently to the challenges and opportunities presented by the expatriate lifestyle.


Encouraging open dialogue about their experiences, emotions, and sense of identity is key, as is providing them with the tools and resources to navigate the complexities of being a TCK. Ultimately, fostering a sense of resilience, empathy, and cultural competence in our children will prepare them for a lifetime of global citizenship and meaningful connections with others.


What is something you’ve learned about yourself through your travels/life abroad? 


Through my travels and life abroad, I've learned the incredible capacity for adaptation and resilience that resides within me. Each new place I've lived has presented its own set of challenges, whether it's navigating cultural differences, learning a new language, or adjusting to a different pace of life. In facing these challenges head-on, I've discovered a strength and flexibility within myself that I may not have realized otherwise.


Moreover, living abroad has allowed me to explore different facets of my identity and embrace aspects of myself that may have remained dormant in a familiar environment. It's taught me the importance of curiosity, openness, and a willingness to step outside of my comfort zone in order to fully embrace the richness of life's experiences.


Additionally, my travels have deepened my appreciation for the interconnectedness of humanity and the beauty of diversity. I've learned to approach unfamiliar situations with empathy and an open mind, recognizing that despite our differences, we share a common humanity that transcends borders and cultures.


Overall, my experiences abroad have been transformative, helping me to grow both personally and professionally, and instilling in me a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to continually learn, explore, and connect with the world around me.


How would you encourage other expats and global nomads generally? Or, what advice would you give them?


As an expat or nomad, I understand all too well the challenges and rewards that come with a life of exploration and adventure. My advice to expats and nomads everywhere would be to enjoy every moment of your trip with an open heart and a curious mind, never comparing it to anything you've experienced before.


Above all, cultivate a strong support network of expats and locals who can guide you, keep you company and give you a sense of community in your new surroundings. Lean on these relationships in times of transition or uncertainty, and be ready to offer your support in return.


Secondly, take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture and customs of your host country. Whether it's trying new foods, learning the language or taking part in cultural celebrations, get actively involved in your surroundings to deepen your understanding and appreciation of the place you now call home.


And don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and take calculated risks. Whether it's seizing a new career opportunity, embarking on a solo adventure or acquiring new skills, going beyond the limits you've set yourself can help you grow and flourish.


Don't forget to prioritize self-care and mental well-being amidst the excitement and bustle of expat life. Take time to recharge your batteries, establish healthy routines and seek out activities that bring you joy and satisfaction.


Finally, embrace the uncertainty and unpredictability of expatriate life as opportunities for growth, learning and adventure. Remain curious, resilient and, above all, enjoy every moment of your journey around the world.


Anything else you’d like to add?


Another point I'd like to stress is the importance of remaining flexible and adapting to the expat lifestyle. While it's natural to have plans and expectations, being prepared to adapt and pivot if necessary can make all the difference in navigating the ups and downs of life abroad.


Also, don't forget to celebrate the small victories and milestones along the way, whether it's mastering a new language, making meaningful connections with the local population or simply finding your favorite place to relax after a long day.


Never underestimate the power of resilience and determination to overcome obstacles and challenges. By maintaining a positive mindset and facing adversity with grace and tenacity, you'll discover that even the most difficult situations can be opportunities for growth and transformation.


Finally, cherish the experiences, connections and memories that come from a life of adventure and exploration. Every day brings new opportunities for discovery and self-discovery, so embrace the journey wholeheartedly and enjoy every moment.


Where can we find out more about you?


You can find out more about me and stay updated on my expat adventures by following me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/coachingwiththeflo/


I also have a website: https://www.coachingwiththeflo.com/  


My book “Expat Wife, Happy Life! The Journey of a Serial Expat!” is available in 6 different languages on Amazon.com


Thank you for your interest, and I look forward to connecting with you further!


Thank you for sharing with us!


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