What is Bon Bini Ya'll?

Bon bini ya’ll.

What does that mean, why such a name and do I know it's misspelled?

Elementary dear reader. The name reflects my experiences as an accidental expatriate, one who lived as a 'trailing spouse' of an expatriate businessman. Throughout 41 years, in 18 moves—we lived in 7 countries, 6 of them technically foreign, though the USA can seem very foreign too. Verbiage eludes me in American that I know in Spanish.

Before my life abroad, I was a provincial American whose genealogy in North America dated back to 1607. Inside my personal version of Plato’s cave, I was only able to see the shadows on the wall of my wee little world. Foreign was eating at a Taco Bell. Then one day without any preparation, I left my cave for unknown world of 1972 Lima, Peru. It was a life altering experience.

Life abroad taught me many things, including the lesson that diversity is more than skin tone and one size (or way of doing things) does not fit all. So with that voice and through that lens I see what life is like in Chicago, the USA and the world.

As for bon bini ya’ll it simply means welcome y'all in Papiamentu—the patois language of the island of Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles, one of my once upon a time homes. And yes, the cocktail napkin was misspelled, as was my guidebook of the same title, Bon Bini Ya'll. Why not? Even that crazy island is sometimes spelled Korsow.


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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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