Category: America & Me

The Rat in the Toilet

Living abroad I learned I had a choice. I could bemoan what I did not have from my life back home, or I could go with the flow with what I did have. Newly arrived to Guayaquil, Ecuador in 1986, when I heard about Lydia, who made housecalls to give manicure/pedicure for the ridiculously price... Read more »

Immaculate Infection

Living in Guayaquil, Ecuador in the mid-1980s, I viewed my main job as keeping all four of us healthy. It wasn’t easy. Though I knew my way around a mercury thermometer, without today’s access to the internet or a first world healthcare system, we were on our own. I started with ensuring our water was... Read more »

The Curated Life of Facebook

The beginning of the end of my first breakup with Facebook was in the early 2000s. Having faithfully and repeatedly set my privacy settings to where I wanted them, I repeatedly found Facebook re-set these. I felt violated. So I quit Facebook. My family would nudge me back into the sheep pen, superciliously noting the... Read more »
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Like Chocolate is Water in Mexico City

In the late 1990s the water stopped flowing from the kitchen faucet in Mexico City. Totally and completely stopped. Whoops. What now? Working methodically from the problem, I unscrewed the filter on the faucet. It wasn’t uncommon for odd bits of gunk or leaves to block the flow. But not this time. Under the sink... Read more »

My Destination Wedding

Days after finishing college in the summer of 1972, I ran away from my parents’ home in Houston, Texas to Lima, Peru. I don’t remember if I could identify Peru on a map at the time; but details, right? When one is young and in love, one will go anywhere to be with the loved... Read more »

Strangers No More

“Bet you can’t strike up a conversation with a stranger today” said the younger sister as she dropped her older sister at the small regional airport. Why the challenge? To try and move her older sister out of her comfort zone. And there were so many ways to talk to absolute strangers in an airport then... Read more »
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Expatriate Epigenetics; Chicken or the Egg

The Fox in Charge of the Henhouse Moving to Curacao in the early 1980s, I thought it was a desert island. After all, it looked like a desert island with its rocky, lack of any topsoil and cacti growing everywhere. N.B. to those enamored with fences and/or walls. Look no further than to cacti fences.... Read more »

Going Bananas in Panama

In the 1990s the Americans moved to the steamy land of Panama, far away from their former home in the ice and snows off the Great Lakes. To share one car, Fred had his wife drive him to work in the morning and home again–jiggity jig–after work in the early evening. The couple often found themselves... Read more »

Groceries Without Grocers

“But how do you get your groceries?” asked the tourist standing beside as we waited outside Chicago’s Adler Planetarium to see the transit of Venus in 2012. Good question from this suburban dwelling woman of the urban city dweller that I was. Noting that she hadn’t seen any grocery stores on their drive down South... Read more »
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Books Without Libraries

Libraries were my drug dealers; books were my gateway drug. I don’t remember reading to escape my lonely childhood as much to people it with fascinating characters. Reading fiction scripted the movie that books created within my active brain. Reading non-fiction cast some light upon the world that I couldn’t understand. It seems like I... Read more »
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    Candace Drimmer

    I was an accidental expatriate; love and marriage led me to it. One day I was a bandy-legged kid sitting atop my dogwood tree looking out of my small backyard world in 1950s New Jersey, wanting to move somewhere--anywhere, different. Next thing I knew my father had accepted a job in Houston TX. I was ecstatic, it was a foreign land in 1961 America. After high school graduation, my parents’ gave me a matched set of fawn-colored hardsided American Tourister luggage. Taking the hint, I went to college; well four colleges in five years--it was the 60s after all. Meeting a young hirsute anti-war, soon-to-be-Peace Corps volunteer, I fell in love. After finishing up college coursework for my degree, but before I even walking a graduation stage, I grabbed the paper airline ticket my boyfriend had sent me, my brand-new passport, and was off to the airport and Lima, Peru.

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