Book Release: Forced to Fly: An anthology by expatriates everywhere

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the book Forced to Fly (2ND EDITION) before it went to press. I had contributed one of the many stories and loved the diversity of the final product. The book is a fine mix of humour and really useful information for expats. I have added the Press Release below written by Jo Parfitt editor and publisher… and the video of the book trailer.




Anthology of both published and un-published writers who live abroad helps those in transition to see the funny side, while offering practical help and resources.

FORCED TO FLY – 2nd Edition Edited by Jo Parfitt and written by Expatriates Everywhere


“It’s a hilarious concoction of cheek burning blunders and toe curling faux pas. Forced to Fly not only looks at the fun side of expat life, it also addresses the challenges faced by living overseas. The book is full of handy tips and sound advice, a treasure trove of information for anyone considering moving abroad.” [Reina van Nieuwkerk-Rácz former Editor-in -Chief of The Underground]


Everyone knows that laughter is the best medicine, but Forced to Fly is more than a collection of funny stories about seeing the funny side of the day-to-day blunders we all make. It is packed with stories that resonate with anyone who has lived abroad. Its opening chapters, written by experts, counsellors and real-life expats who have struggled with culture shock, will provide support and advice to guide you through any dark patches.

When the first edition came out I had no idea that it would find its way into corporate goodie bags for relocating employees, nor that people would call me up, saying, “Help, my daughter-in-law has just moved to Dubai and is not doing so well. Can you send her a book, please?”

In this second edition, we have added a chapter on emotional resilience in addition to more than 20 new stories for you to enjoy from new writers such as Jack Scott, whose memoir, Perking the Pansies, is currently long-listed for the Polari First Book prize and the hilarious Debbie Fletcher, author of Bitten by Spain. Blogger contributors Expatcalidocious, AdventuresInExpatland, DisparateHuisvrouw, WordGeyser and IWasAnExpatWife make this a thoroughly modern version of an old favourite.


Publication date OCTOBER 5TH 2012

Price £9.99/€12/$15.75

Summertime Publishing

ISBN 978-1904881416 (print);

ISBN 978-1-909193093 (kindle)

298 pp, paperback


For interviews with the editor and to arrange review copies, images and excerpts of the book, please contact the publisher, Jo Parfitt, at

Forced to Fly Book Trailer on YouTube



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Curaçao’s Chopin

Queen Beatrix giving Wim Statius Muller a helping hand PHOTOS ANKO STOFFELS

Antillean pianist and composer Wim Statius Muller had once said: ‘You can be 84, you can be almost dying, but you play!’ demonstrating his dedication and unfailing love of music. This week Queen Beatrix awarded him the Zilveren Anjer for his phenomenal contribution to the musical heritage of Curaçao.

In the introductory speech held prior to receiving his award, Statius Muller was called the ’Curaçao Chopin’ in reference to Chopin’s enormous influence on the music of the island.

Statius Muller was not the sole receiver of an award at the ceremony held at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam; three equally deserving contributors to the Netherlands cultural heritage were also honoured on this occasion. Reint Wobbes, for his conservation work of medieval churches and graveyards in Groningen and the couple Clemens van der Ven and his wife Neeltje for their dedication to the Arts and generous donation of their historic home, including priceless antiques, to the community.

The Zilveren Anjer (Silver Carnation) award was initiatiated by Prince Bernhard in collaboration with the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds (Prince Bernhard Cultural Foundation). In 1950 Queen Beatrix’s father presented the first zilveren anjer to Dutch citizens for their extraordinary devotion to  preservation and conservation of Dutch culture within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. All work must be on a voluntary basis with no personal or financial gain.

Wim Statius Muller will shortly be releasing his latest CD Antillean Treasures.

For more about Statius Muller: I interviewed Wim Statius Muller for The Underground paper in January 2012.










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The Metaphysical Law of Attraction

As ‘Adeste Fideles’ quietly plays in the background, and box after box of Christmas decorations are brought down from the attic by a grumpy eleven year old,  I feel ecstatic. Christmas is the festive season I adore – a white Christmas is heaven.  There’s something to be said about crispy, dark nights illuminated by countless candles and twinkling fairy lights in needle shedding, scrumptious smelling Christmas trees.

As I sit admiring my own lovely tree I recall last year, up to my eye-balls in renovations and living in a rental that had the ambiance of a butcher’s fridge. I had decided not to have a tree as all our stuff was still packed in a 60 foot container and I couldn’t bear buying anymore decorations, not one more thing, knowing that we owned enough to decorate two houses, an orphanage and a zoo.

What a difference a year makes. We finally moved into the new house, unpacked our belongings and swore never to associate ourselves with a paintbrush ever again.

I started writing once more and joined a writers’ group and began contemplating the direction my life was taking. I knew that I wanted to write but whehter I could make a career of it concerned me, greatly. I must have been doing some serious thinking because the metaphysical law of attraction took over and something extraordinary happened.

A couple of months ago, Simone Harper Branson must have been doing the same – thinking about making a dream come true. This half-Dutch, half-English graphic designer, living in The Hague, had a vision. She was going to produce an English paper aimed at the multicultural and international community of the city she was born in. The paper would reflect not just the city but also the people living in it. She wanted to reveal what it had to offer beyond the usual attractions and with her background in design started looking around for people to help her with the content of the paper.

Jo Parfitt, a local British publisher, writer and teacher, filtered through her formidable network contacts and suggested Simone approach a number of local writers whose work Jo was familiar with. One thing led to another and I became a co-editor, together with an outstanding writer and friend Jane Dean, of a paper that at this stage was nothing more than a concept. Today we are the very busy co-editors of the English-speaking, monthly paper, The Underground, The Hague.  Once connotations with the London tube are put aside the name of the paper becomes clear. Simone wanted to dig deeper, find a point of interest that would intrigue the long-term expatriates as well as the multicultural families, of The Hague. The logo, a mole, symbolizes going beneath the surface to discover new and surprising facts – undiscovered treasures of The Hague.

The first issue was ready within six weeks.  This was only possible because we all worked day and most nights – till we had something that we felt reflected Simone’s vision. The response from writers wishing to contribute was tremendous, without them we would have had, well, nothing. It was not easy, I admit that, it was not always fun, I admit that too, but hell, it felt good when 1 November 2011, it came out to raving reviews!

Last week, the second issue, bigger and better was distributed at more than sixty distribution points. Feedback from advertisers has been amazing. One expat shop had 600 new hits on her website, from one ad in our first paper!

I write a monthly column, which evolved from an affinity for getting lost, no matter where I am. I have (had to!) been able to give it a positive twist. I honestly believe that there is a reason for everything and I look for it whenever I get lost. Believe it or not, I find the most extraordinary things and places that I share in my column. For all  intents and purposes, I am a tourist in own country, never having lived here for long periods of time. Perhaps it helps that it’s all new to me, and the beauty of this country’s cities and landscapes never ceases to amaze me.

It can’t really get better than this, new home, new career prospects, new friends and neighbours, all in all it’s been a marvellous year!



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Turning Points: A World of Women, A Wealth of Perspectives

Today I have a guest post from, Linda A. Janssen, a dear friend, fellow writer and now published co-author. She has stopped by on her virtual book tour to talk about Turning Points - a book she contributed to that is already nr.1 on Amazon’s Books Bestsellers List for the Women & Business category, just days after being launched!


 A World of Women, A Wealth of Perspectives

by Linda A. Janssen

 I am so excited to be here today at Expatcalidocious. Not only is this a wonderful blog that celebrates the art of the tale (it is and it does), but it is also written by a dear friend and wickedly terrific writer. Since so much of what we bloggers do takes place in cyberspace, it is a real blessing to have a true ‘flesh and blood’ friend and fellow writer to confide in, share with, learn from. I am lucky indeed.

The book I contributed to, Turning Points: 25 Inspiring Stories From Women Entrepreneurs Who Have Turned Their Careers and Their Lives Around (Kate Cobb, a women’s business and executive coach is the editor and the publisher is Jo Parfitt of Summertime Publishing), launched earlier this week.

Each woman describes her background and life situation, shares the pivotal moment or series of events that drove her to implement significant change(s), and provides a glimpse into precisely how she did so complete with helpful resources and lessons learned along the way.

I still can’t get over the reception it has received, pushing all the way to #1 on Amazon’s bestsellers’ list for books in the Women & Business category, and almost as high in the Entrepreneurship and Self-Help/Success categories. I continue to hover between amazing appreciation and disbelief. Then I put the dishes away, take the dog for a walk, throw in a load of laundry and sit back down at my laptop to work on my latest piece.

Expatcalidocious is a second generation expatriate who grew up traveling the world with her family and living in a number of different countries, then married a diplomat and continued to call various exotic ports of call her home. She has been to, seen and done more than many people do in an entire lifetime. Conversation with her is always witty, amusing, thoughtful and full of interesting insights.

The authors who contributed their stories to Turning Points remind me of her. They may not all be expats, but they do come from all around the globe. They are women of all ages and stages and walks of life. They have experienced a plethora of challenges, and dealt with them as best they could. Some have crashed and burned, only to rise in true phoenix style from the ashes of defeat. Others have learned to make peace, let go, make changes or move on. In short, they represent the world of women.

It is precisely from this wide array of varying situations and challenges that comes the true wealth of knowledge, insight, understanding and perspectives. Readers may see themselves and their lives mirrored in the story of a particular woman, or reflected in the broader collection as a whole. Either way, I hope they’ll feel as fortunate as I do when I think of how enriched my life is by the presence of my friend Expatcalidocious.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

If you’d like to find out more about our book, please take a look at the website, or follow along on Facebook’s The Turning Points Book page or on Twitter @Turning_Points. A portion of all sales will benefit

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Sunshine Soup, Nourishing the Global Soul – Book Review

Sunshine Soup, Nourishing the Global Soul
Jo Parfitt
Summertime Publishing
Paperback, 405 pages
Price € 10.00

When Jo Parfitt announced that she was going to publish her debut novel she confessed that she was terrified. From someone who has published twenty-seven books this might come as a bit of surprise, but then Sunshine Soup, Nourishing the Global Soul is her first work of fiction, it’s something personal and that is scary. Previously Jo has written non-fiction amongst others, A Career in Your Suitcase (a bestseller), Release the Book Within and Write Your Life Story. She has even co-written a cook book, Dates, her second cook book. And now she has her novel Sunshine Soup to add to her impressive repertoire.

The story, although not a biography, is inspired by Jo’s own life. She has been an expatriate all of her married life and has seen the ins and outs, the good and the bad of living overseas. Sunshine Soup follows an English family from their comfortable life in England to the scorching dry desert of Dubai where they experience expat life for the first time.

The main character, Maya, soon discovers that once the boxes are unpacked and husband and children leave for work and school respectively, she is left on her own to re-create a life, from scratch. Unlike her structured life back home where she had co-owned a deli  with her two best friends, in Dubai she is alone with not much to do. Help comes in the shape of Barb, a larger than life American and seasoned expat who has made it her mission to take stray expat wives under her wing.

With her newfound friends Maya slowly starts adjusting to life in Dubai and rekindles an old flame, her love for cooking. She finds solace and purpose in creating new recipes based on local produce.  The book features fabulous recipes such as Anchovy and Lemon dip, Squash Goulash and. my favourite, Arabic Coffee Ice Cream.  Seriously, it’s worth buying the book just for the recipes!

Whether you are a weathered expat or about to move overseas, Sunshine Soup will give you an insight into what you can expect. Jo has the knack of portraying stereotypes and making them into flesh and blood characters, so recognizable that when reading the book you will think that you know them. I certainly know Barb.

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