Istanbul

“Your transaction has been declined.” For some reason, I couldn’t book my tickets to Mexico with my credit card. I called the bank and they said a bunch of things, told us to wait, and it still didn’t work. It was Saturday morning and I was annoyed. I tried a ticket to Bangkok. Nope. Screw it. I looked at flights from Barcelona to “everywhere” (a handy feature on Skyscanner) to see where else I could go. Europe, Morocco, Dubai, hmmm… Turkey. Three hour direct flight, straight to Istanbul. I had never been. I messaged my friends. One had lived in…

Drew with Cole as a baby.

This year is absolutely insane. All the projects I’ve been working on: a relaunch of my online blogging course, a film tour for a documentary we have worked on for years, my book with Penguin Random House, an e-book for this site about getting European Residency, a new food and travel site that I’m launching with a friend — all these things are coming out this year. Hear that sound? WHOOSH. It’s the sound of years worth of work all being shoved out into the world at once. There’s other things too: two workshops I’m teaching in Barcelona, a video…

erfa

One of the most frequent emails I get from this blog is, “Christine, I want to live in Europe, but I’m not retired, a student or independently wealthy. How do I do it?” I’ve written this email response so many times that I decided to put it together in an e-book and to expand on it with country-by-country guides. So how do you do it? -You’ll need to apply for a long-term residency visa. These have different names depending on the country you’re applying to, but in general you need the following things: 1. The ability to support yourself with…

jesuisAhmed

I posted about the attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo on Facebook and offered my condolences to the victims and their families. I spent the next 24 hours moderating comments, at first arguing with people who were quoting the Qur’an, then wholesale deleting comments and banning users. Most of them were trolling the trending topic and commenting on my page for the first time. There seems to be a small army of hate-filled anti-Islam racists ready and eager to turn this tragedy into their personal platform for why all Muslims should be (take your pick): shipped back home, eradicated,…

fira

I used to write these year-end posts with a solid eye on my own happiness. Was I happier? Did I achieve what I wanted this year? What did I want for the next one? This morning I woke up, shuffled to the bathroom and went pee. Stella came in, carrying an apple slice, fell down, dropped her apple, and when I picked up her up she insisted, “Apple! Apple!” until I reached down between my legs, grabbed it and rinsed it off for her. “Thank you. You’re Welcome.” Stella isn’t just talking, she’s talking for me now. A year ago…