Tag Archives: #expatlife

A Nomad At Heart

liam at spluega pass

“My longing for change had only grown. The nomad within me was straining at the bit, hungry for new horizons. My new plan was to take a more subtle approach and give myself ample time to let go of the world I knew. The safe bubble I had created for myself in my Swiss home had served the important purpose of grounding me when I had needed stability more than anything. Now I would slowly sneak up on leaving my haven. After all, no matter how comfortable my Swiss bed might be made, no matter how deeply I snuggled into those soft down covers, I was highly aware that eventually, it would be time to get up and explore.” (Excerpt from Paralian, Chapter 20, “Puget Sound”)

This was in 2004. Currently, I am back in Switzerland. It still feels comfortable and safe. But I wonder, maybe I am not made for safe havens… and, someday soon, the time will come to get up yet again and go back out there into the unknown…

No Limits

2017 paralian-no limits

25 years ago, when I had my gender reassignment surgeries, I vowed to never let this important decision of aligning my soul with my body hamper or limit me in any way. I was going to continue going after my dreams. And I wouldn’t take no for an answer. Part of this meant to be able to retain my flexibility and spontaneity. In order to be able to live abroad and travel over longer periods of time, I overcame my fear of needles and learned how to inject myself. Since then, no matter which cultures or corners of the planet I go to, needles and vials are always part of my luggage…

“Sitting on an airplane bound for the Indian Ocean, with all relevant possessions in one bag and no return ticket in my pocket, I felt like an explorer about to make his greatest discovery. When would I take to the skies again? And where would I fly if I did? I had no idea, but anything seemed possible now.
Before leaving Switzerland, I had asked my doctor to write me a special prescription: thirty-six ampoules of testosterone. Not being able to produce enough of the male hormones on its own, my body needed a little help on a regular basis. My checked luggage now contained a two-year supply of testosterone injections, vials, and needles. My doctor had written a letter, attesting to the fact that my bodily functions would be severely disrupted without the medication I carried. Nevertheless, I was nervous. What if my stash was confiscated at Maldives customs? What would I  do?
Maldives immigration was easy. I presented papers from my employer and within five minutes, my passport sported a big, new ‘work visa’ stamp.
Then came the hard part. Already sweating with apprehension, I collected my luggage and headed for customs. There, my heart skipped more than a few beats when my luggage was singled out for inspection. Vials and needles were easy to see on the bag scanner’s screen. Even I could spot them, as I nervously snuck a peek over the customs officer’s shoulder. Surprisingly, he waved me through. Just like that, maintaining my manhood was ensured for the immediate future.”
(Excerpt from Paralian, Chapter 6 “Indian Ocean”)

Add Oil

5 Senses goup

My latest contribution on TheatreArtLife. Remembering when I immersed myself in a Hong Kong Chinese theatre production. I worked backstage, with barely a clue what was going on. It was an unforgettable experience. Because, as I mention in the short story as well, there is nothing more valuable than opening your mind, letting go of everything you think you know, and thoroughly exposing yourself to living and working in a foreign culture.

Fear is Temporary

Fear is Temporary

New article of mine on TheatreArtLife.
People often assume nomads like me aren’t afraid of moving from one country and opportunity to the next. Well, I can’t speak for all the other nomads and expats out there, but I am certainly always dealing with a mix of excitement and fear when I head out into the unknown. It’s an emotional cocktail I’ve come to recognize as a precursor to turbulence and exponential growth. As the saying goes “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

Read the full article here. Enjoy!

My Thoughts Are With Macau

typhoon hato 35

Since last week, my thoughts are with Macau and with my dear friends who live there. Typhoon Hato went through my former home with wind speeds of up to 250 km/hour.

My work buddies and I used to get excited each time a typhoon would come our way. Because if it made it up to T8 strength, it would mean we would have a day off, to chill at home together with a cold beer, gazing out at the storm. The storms rarely went above a T3. But sometimes, when they did, we would even venture into the tempest. To feel its raw power and brave the salty gusts, feeling as if sea monsters had wrapped their muscular tentacles around us. I cringe now, thinking of how often I wished for the storm to strike, barely noticing how much it affected the lives of the people in its destructive path on its way to Macau.

Now, Typhoon Hato has topped the scale. It was a T10 and squarely fits the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for.” The entire city was flooded, eerily reminiscent of movie scenes from “The Day after Tomorrow”. Some people lost their homes. Others even lost their lives. This was, quite frankly, shit-scary. Even from afar.

Amazingly, this natural disaster also made me realize just how much of a home Macau has become for me over the years. Living in Switzerland at the moment, too far away, unable to lend a hand in the post-Hato clean-up and rebuilding, I feel more connected to this unique, East-Asian town than since I left it.

I see now, more than ever, how much Macau has given me. There was hardship, too. Even trauma. But overall there was learning on a scale like never before. There was abundant adventure, happiness, despair, soulfulness, friendship, and camaraderie. There was even family… and a special one at that. I still miss my House of Dancing Water show family. Nothing is quite the same after living and working with such a diverse and spirited group of people.

Their theatre has been closed for a week now. Cast and crew are heading out into the city every day, actively helping with the relief efforts, even taking care of the four-legged victims at Macau’s pet shelters. I’m thinking of you guys. I’m with you. And I’m proud of you. Be safe.