Gosh, is it really November? Many of us here in the United States thought this month would never arrive, after a presidential race that has seemed interminable.

While I wouldn’t want to hazard a guess as to the outcome, as far as the weather goes, the country will be warmer-than-average and relatively storm-free on Election Day (November 8).

In other words, the weather will not be matching the electorate’s mood nor its expectation that the race will come to a cataclysmic close.

Changing the subject—as I could use a break from American politics: I’d like to seek your vote for something else.

You see, I’ve been thinking a lot about my Kindle of late, which is odd given that when the device first came out, I invested in one without a second thought. One upgrade later, I’m a Kindle regular, treating it as my beloved companion on my subway, coupled with the occasional bus, commutes. (I particularly love its dictionary feature.)

Recently, however—it’s hard to pinpoint when precisely—I’ve been realizing that without the visual cues of a newspaper or magazine layout, or a book’s cover and pages, I don’t absorb the contents as well as I do with paper publications.

Another thing: I can’t always recall exactly where I read something as every page looks the same on a Kindle.

I wonder, have others had suddenly gone off their Kindles like this? In investigating the matter further, I’ve found studies to corroborate my experience, showing that recall of plot after using an e-reader is poorer than with traditional books.

What do you think, fellow international creatives? Does the e-reader get your vote, or does paper? (While something is gained by adopting these new technologies, something is also lost…!)
ML Awanohara
Photo credit: Photo by pippalou (CC0).
Want to extend your horizons even more? What to do if you’re in…

London: Eat, drink and try to be merry at one of the nine all-night parties to watch the U.S. election results. Amusements range from Trump and Clinton-themed games at Dinerama in Shoreditch, to complimentary “Hell Toupee” cocktails at K Bar in South Ken, to special US Election Burgers at the Stafford London.

Amsterdam: Head for the Stedelijk Museum to view its Jean Tinguely retrospective commemorating 25 years since the Swiss artist’s death. A member of the Parisian avantgarde during the mid-20th century, Tinguely was best known for his sculptural machines or kinetic art, and there’s plenty in motion at the Dutch exhibition to keep you engaged. As expat author Jennifer Alderson tweeted after a visit to Stedelijk on October 30, it’s “fantastic for young children”—and for adults who are kids at heart!

Shanghai: You have one more week to catch the acclaimed Tim Robbins’ play Harlequino: On to Freedom—in which a group of rogue actors hijacks a professor’s lecture and puts on a slideshow of the classic Italian comedy form, commedia dell’arte—at the DaGuan Theatre (Himalayas Centre, Pudong). The play questions the purpose of art, how history is written, what’s funny (and what’s not), and what it means to be free.

While we were all playing on social media:

Stop ironing my head! Building on the success of her book of untranslatable words, which came out in 2014, UK-based writer-illustrator Ella Frances Sanders has just now released The Illustrated Book of Sayings: Curious Expressions from Around the World (note: the UK version is titled Speaking in Tongues), for which she collected and illustrated over fifty expressions she considers to be “ageless and endlessly enchanting.” Notably, Sanders first uncovered her creative potential when living and interning for a company in Morocco.

Pulling a novel out of the bag: Two Americans who are former expats have written debut novels with an international flavor—and the word “pull” in the title. Kelly Luce has just now published Pull Me Under, the story of the displaced Rio Silvestri (born Chizura Akitani). She flees her home country of Japan for the United States after committing a violent crime—and decides to return 20 years later. The Illinois-born, California-based Luce lived and worked in Japan for three years. Meanwhile, Wendy Jean Fox has issued The Pull of It, about a young wife and mother who takes a solo vacation in Turkey to recharge, and ends up diving into a new culture. As Fox told book reviewer Mark Stevens, she thought her protagonist would need to be immersed in a “realm that was totally foreign” as only then could she “get down to the core of herself and understand what she wants.” Fox was living and working in Turkey when she started the manuscript.
Warr-ing factions: Location, Locution columnist Tracey Warr has published the first book in her new Conquest trilogy: Daughter of the Last King. Set in the early middle ages when Britain was invaded by William the Conqueror, it concerns the fate of Nest ferch Rhys, the daughter of the last independent Welsh king, after she is captured by the Normans following their assault on her lands. In related news: Warr has just announced that she’ll be tutoring in fiction and memoir writing—along with Adult Third Culture Kid and author Natalie Meg Evans—at the inaugural Writing Worlds Retreat, to be held in France in May of next year.
A space for expat writing: The fifth issue of Writers Abroad Magazine, titled “The Third Space,” has come out and is packed with articles, stories, poems, writing tips, recipes, author interviews and photos by expat writers—including an article on a theme close to the Displaced Nation’s heart: “There’s No Place Like Home,” by Laura Besley.
Liquid—also real?—gold: Pennsylvania native Lisa Radinovsky, who has lived in Crete with her Greek husband for 14 years—she is a professor turned writer and photographer—has launched Greek Liquid Gold, a Website that features recipes, photos, information and news about Greek olive oil. She hopes it will oil, so to speak, the failing Greek economy by increasing demand for Greek olive oil in the United States and Canada, where it’s “underappreciated,” and by helping to attract more agri- and culinary tourists to the country.

Updates from The Displaced Nation

EXPAT AUTHOR GAME: What score does Lisa Morrow earn on the “international creative” scale? (2/2)
Readers, I’m happy to report that Lisa Morrow aced the algorithm test for her latest book, Waiting for the Tulips to Bloom: Adrift in Istanbul, and will therefore be advancing to the second half of the Expat Author Game. For this second round, we’ll be looking to see how closely she measures up to the Displaced Nation’s (admittedly somewhat quirky) notion of an “international creative.”

EXPAT AUTHOR GAME: Lisa Morrow’s algorithm for “Waiting for the Tulips to Bloom: Adrift in Istanbul” (1/2)
This month I am delighted to welcome Lisa Morrow to the Displaced Nation as the very first guest in our new author interview series, which, in my inimitable style, I’ve devised as a kind of game expat authors can play. I told Lisa that her first challenge would be to supply an algorithm for her latest book rather than leaving it up to Amazon: if we like Waiting for the Tulips to Bloom: Adrift in Istanbul, what would we also like?...

Other recent posts:

CULTURE SHOCK TOOLBOX: Expats and TCKs, humility is your best cross-cultural tool—and don’t forget to pack that golden triad!

TCK TALENT: Amy Clare Tasker finds a home, and a place to explore concepts of home, in the theater/re

DIARY OF AN EXPAT WRITER: Taking time off to look backwards on how far I’ve come…and forwards to the next goals

LOCATION, LOCUTION: Charles Lambert draws on his displaced life to produce psychological thrillers

REVERSE CULTURE SHOCK TOOLBOX: To cope with the transition back to your native land, consider vlogging!
Matters of debate:

Native English speakers are the poorest communicators in an international business context. According to UK-based intercultural trainer Chia Suang Chong, whereas non-native speakers speak purposefully and carefully, native speakers tend to be much harder to understand as they apparently don’t feel the need to slow down or adapt to their audience.

Young people who try out living abroad are similar to hunter-gatherers. Victoria Adamo, who went from New York State to a study abroad program in Spain and has no plans to go home, says she is “searching for the next sustainable opportunity” and has no idea of where she may end up.

The flip side of expat life is just as valid as the successful side. New Zealander Frances Lawson feels so strongly about this that, when her decision to risk everything to attain the expat-in-France lifestyle as promoted by Peter Mayle didn’t pan out, she produced her own memoir about feeling lonely and a failure.

Sweden is the loneliest country for expats. Even though the country boasts the highest proportion of singles in all of Europe, Swedes embrace their independence and don’t like to give it up. (One expat who may wish to debate this point is Croatian-born Natasa Soltic. She  moved to Stockholm two years ago to work for Spotify and insist it’s eminently possible to make new friends.)

Surprising discoveries:

In America you can buy canned bread. That’s what Australian Serena Solomon discovered when, during one of her first Christmases in America, she watched her sister-in-law pull out a cylinder from the fridge, crack it open and scoop sections of white goop onto a baking tray—from which steaming rolls emerged a few minutes later. (She now knows it's Pillsbury dough.)
Germans don’t shower after 10:00 p.m. for fear it will disturb the neighbors. Amanda Kendle, an Aussie who has lived in Germany with her German husband, says she learned to “kind of like the consideration of the neighbors thing,” even though it isn’t of much use back in her native land, where the majority of people are living in separate dwellings.
The British are naturals at hygge. Danish Londoner Brontë Aurell, who has come out with a lifestyle book expounding the Danish idea of enjoying simple, everyday pleasures, says many Brits are already doing hygge
—for instance, when settling down in a nice pub with friends, walking along the South Bank holding hands with a lover, or indulging in a hangover-fighting fry-up on a Sunday morning at the local caf…
Despite terrible pollution and an abrasive urban landscape, China continues to offer foreign residents something special. Traveling tech entrepreneur Mark Koester admits to being one of those who can’t resist the charms of the Middle Kingdom. Having tried out several major world cities, he has has chosen to live in a mountain town near Chengdu for the past four years, where he is able to appreciate “moments of beauty,” glimpse “an ancient history under the dust of modernism,” and feel “an energy” not found anywhere else.
We hope you have a glorious fortnight of international creativity. Please send any news, comments, Hell Toupee cocktails and Election Burgers (Tuesday could be a long night!) to ml@thedisplacednation.com. You can follow us on Facebook here and/or Twitter here for more frequent updates.

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