Top 10 Foreign Delights by countries lived in

(All photos are mine except for the Bali postcard and above UAE holiday card)

1.  CANADA – 2 years

CANADA=RUssian-boat-engine-room  CANADA-VANCOUVER-car-forest CANADA-beach  CANADA-Sweet-vancouver-flowers copy

Stanley Park, Vancouver

  • Two years of happiness.
  • Fantastic opportunity to write and receive feedback on my writing in a two-year Masters of Fine Arts program at the Univ. of British Colombia
  • Free operation – sterilization.
  • Opportunity to live with other writers – to be an artist.
  • Opportunity to write UBC Writers’ Guide to Fame & Fortune, a marketing booklet with interviews of people in Vancouver’s publishing industry
  • Worked illegally as a waitress in a strip bar (kept clothes on).

2 – SAUDI ARABIA – 2 years

SAUDI-book gate SAUDI-wadi-fall SAUDI-glyps-mts-mel SAUDI-Nab-king-tomb

Biblical Nabateans History           
Saudi Arabian Beauty Contest

  • First time I actually was not poor.
  • Frankincense.
  • Gold jewellery.
  • Good carpets.
  • Month on the French Riviera studying French 40 hours a week.
  • Taught a princess who shared her life and gave me a gold coin.
  • Trip to Paris.
  • Two free operations (hysterectomy and breast reduction).
  • Watched and listened in wonder to one of Saudi’s oldest and greatest storytellers -who spoke in Arabic – at the princess’s home.

3.  INDONESIA – 6 months

BALI-UBUD 2 BIRDS Bali-food-parade BALI-hotel-writing_edited  INDONESIA-1987-jakarta-job

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

  • Adult students who worked hard and learned.
  • Gado-gado (peanut sauce on vegetables).
  • Week in Bali in painting village, Ubud


Liwa, the Empty Quarter Desert                                                                                                                                  
  • Two years of happiness.
  • Fantastic weather.
  • Fell in love with the desert.
  • Food – fantastic!
  • Had a paid, weekly newspaper column, “Aunt Alice” with Dubai’s Gulf News.
  • Henna designs on hands and legs.
  • Learned culture from friendship with a student and his extended family.
  • On-stage in amateur productions.
  • Visited Liwa Desert (The Empty Quarter) for photographs.
  • Won photography awards, mostly for desert photos.

 5.  EGYPT – 1 year

 EGYPT-cairo-imbaba-green-camels  EGYPT-EYE OF HORUS PAPYRUS EGYPT=women-donkey-street-cars-garbage EGYPTGURNA-BY-LUXOR
Gurna, villages by Luxor
  • Cairo – viewed Ramses II ancient statue downtown by highways.
  • Cairo Museum – able to touch thousands of year-old stone carvings.
  • Egyptian papyrus painted by a professional artist.
  • Horse-back riding by the pyramids.
  • Imbaba camel market (‘souk‘ in Arabic) in Cairo.
  • Trips to Luxor, getting visually over-stimulated with hieroglyphics.
  • Visited Philae Island and Abu Simbel Temples by Aswan Dam.
  • Walking atop an Aswan ancient temple’s flat rock roof.

6.  TAIWAN – 2 years

Taiwan “Love Hotels”
  • Attentive students.
  • Bubble tea.
  • Excellent technical facilities, developed using DVDs for teaching English.
  • First time I saw the Internet used for a Real-Time chat.
  • Food – fantastic vegetarian buffets!
  • Lived in a brothel (rented a room in a ‘love hotel’).
  • Motor scooter owned.

7.  SOUTH KOREA – 4 years

KOREA-ITAW0N-buddhas-glass-reflection-s KOREA-ITAWON2-buddha-heads
Tourist Info re Korea
  • Body scrubs – full body, 45-minute massage/cleaning for less than $10.
  • Fell in love with university newsletter edited for two years.
  • Introduced Dave’s ESL Café, now known as ESL Café, with Log-In Seoul,
  • Great fun teaching kids at a hogwan (after school institute) as well as adults at Samsung.
  • Korean bathhouses with steam saunas (and body scrubs).
  • Photoshop – used a lot for the newsletter.
  • Secretary to an international association – travelled free to Hong Kong, Taipei,  Tokyo,  and Shanghai for AGM and Board meetings.
  • Volunteer Editor for Log-In Seoul, an English newsletter
  • Webmaster for an international association.

 8.  OMAN – 11 years

 OMAN-walled-town OMAN-khareef-side-road-vines OMAN-MATERIAL IN SHOP  OMAN-3-orange-paintings
Manah, a walled village being restored
  • Cheap gasoline from 2000-2012
  • Easy access to Liwa in the UAE, as well as Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
  • Exploring – most towns built next to abandoned mud-brick towns, some walled.
  • Fantastic weather.
  • Good salary that enabled pension contributions.
  • Large houses and apartments, with large bathrooms.
  • New cars – before Typhoon Gonu in 2007, a Kia cost only $5,000. Car
    prices doubled afterwards.
  • New clothes – I picked material and styles, then hand-made by Indian tailors.
  • No ironing – took clean clothes to Indian cleaners to iron.
  • Oil painting on specially cut, round, wooden boards.
  • Shared meals and lives with an extended Omani family (landlord), playing
    UNO with young kids.

9.  TURKEY – 3 years

YouTube video of
  • Ankara’s Museum of Anatolian Civilizations – Babylonian stone carvings, Sumer
    cuneiform writing, Neolithic, Assyrian, Hittite, Urartian, Greek, etc. exhibits.
  • Large Turkish rug.
  • Mosaic Museum in Gaziantep.
  • Supervisors – two best in my career.
  • Well-equipped language center for blended learning (using YouTube videos with overhead projectors and Wi-Fi in each classroom).

10.  PORTUGAL – 3rd Year

 National Museum of Antique Art 
  • Cheaper than the USA.
  • English speakers – many.
  • European.
  • Food – tasty restaurant meals for ten euros or less.
  • International Women of Portugal (IWP) for socializing in English.
  • No snow except in mountains.
  • Train discount for people over 65.

Meeting, working, and sharing knowledge, love and laughter with colleagues, students and locals.

Coming Next:
A Bazillion Hellish Realities of Living Overseas

2 thoughts on “Top 10 Foreign Delights by countries lived in

  1. Alice, you’ve had an incredibly exciting journey! I wonder, what was it that called you to move from one experience to the next? Did the jobs end? Did opportunity “come knocking?” How did you know it was time to move on?
    Portugal has an interesting history, a place to put on our bucket list.

    Yes, we’re enjoying the grands—there are 6 now, 4 boys (4; 2; 1, and 3 1/2 mos.) after the 2 girl sisters, 16 and 13.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some jobs were contracted for two years. In one, the head of the country’s son and his female cousin conspired to get me fired after two years because I failed them…. Another job, I came home ’cause my mother was dying. I quit another job when my father was dying. Others were worth leaving…. For me, kids (and grandkids) are like different countries – with their own personalities. Glad you’re enjoying being a grandfather!


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