Welcome to From Scratch!
I’m Rola – a recipe developer, pharmacist, blogger and expat.
What is From Scratch, you ask?
From Scratch provides women with insight on how to turn breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and other social events into opportunities to make friends and build connections. It’s about stories of women from different walks of life especially ones who have been expats.
It’s about stories, cooking and having fun!
Whether you move around the corner or halfway round the globe (from Michigan to Qatar) as I did, suddenly being a stranger poses challenges- especially with respect to making new friends, building relationships, finding work, re establishing normal family life and, in the case of expats, understanding cultural norms.
While living abroad presents a great cultural experience, it comes with unique challenges.
The typical expat family starts with basic questions:
“How do we learn the customs and language of the new country?”
“How do we choose a place to live?”
“What is the best school for my kids?”
“How does my spouse find a job?”
“Where can I meet fellow expats and compatriots from my home country?”
How many people have to answer these questions?
According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, 1.3 million Americans become expats annually; steady state over 3 million Americans living abroad. Additionally, justlanded.com estimates there are 38 million expats living in the U.S. InterNations.org, and expat community forum has 38 expat community chapters in the U.S. And 390 worldwide.
While many of these questions can be answered by fellow expats, “How do we make this new country home?” requires a different tact.
Having been a stranger in strange lands (England, the U.S. and Qatar,) I found that the best way to answer that question involves immersion in the local scene. You have to put yourself out there, and not stay in the expat enclaves. When the locals know you’re trying to fit in, rather than trying to stay with those from your home country, they quickly become friends and open their doors-and those of others. Networking works. How do you make local friends? Food and hospitality are universally understood languages.
Going beyond the typical expat/relocation book, blog and social media fare of “getting settled,” “my day, week, month, etc.” and “meet people from my home country”; it deals with building a network from scratch-one that focuses on engaging locals and “experienced” expats from other countries. Doing so brings the outsider inside and opens doors.
Join me as I share stories of people and their cultures, traditions and cuisines from around the world!