Let’s be Friends This Thanksgiving!

This article was published in the Escape Artist Weekly Newsletter on November 17, 2017. If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please click here.

As we approach the holiday season, many Escape Artists, or future expats, are wondering how the holidays work abroad. Will they be able to eat the classic holiday favorites of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and more? Without my family, who will I eat with?

All of these questions and more are answered in this week’s round-up. Also, learn why one country may be putting a limit on how long expats can stay, and read a hilarious story about one traveler who should probably stop drinking so much.

Want More Friends? Here are Some of the Largest Expat “Friend Zones”

Expat life is amazing! Every day you get to try something new, blend into a new culture, eat something delicious, and take cool pictures. Doing these things alone can be fun, but humans are social creatures. Don’t you want to show your family that you’re just as cool as you were back home, by taking some group pictures with your new international friends?

The 2017 InterNations “Best (and Worst) Cities for Expats” ranking found some useful information for those looking to travel and make new friends on the way.

Here’s What They Found

Manama, Prague, Madrid, Kuala Lumpur, Amsterdam, London, Beijing, and Munich were the top 10 cities for expats.

Prague, however, scored low rankings in “settling in.”

The study also found that 70% of expats are happy with their social lives in Johannesburg, Muscat, Cape Town, Amsterdam, and Manama. These cities have easy-going locals who are friendly and helpful towards each other and foreigners.

If you’re worried more about your work life than your social life, cities that offer the best career opportunities are Amsterdam, London, Beijing, Prague, and Munich.

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A Cap on How Long I Can be an Expat? Really?

If you are looking to spend the rest of your life as an expat, Kuwait may not be your first choice. If you are considering the Middle Eastern country, however, know that they are proposing a 15-year cap for expats!

What??

Due to pressures put on the parliament by Kuwaitis, a committee has proposed installing a 15-year expat cap in order to address an imbalance in the population.

Why??

Right now, there are around 3 million expats living in Kuwait. That calculates as nearly 70% of the country’s population! The expat community is almost one-third Indian, while Egyptians make up another large fraction of the population at around 700,000.

Kuwaiti nationals have begun to put pressure on the government to address this imbalance. The committee that proposed this new regulation is also working with experts in other fields to find alternative solutions.

The goal of this plan is to make sure the expat population doesn’t exceed more than 25% of the total population.

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I am Thankful for…

Can you believe that it’s already time for Thanksgiving? That special time of year when you celebrate what you are thankful for, watch some American football, and spend the day with your family enjoying some good food and company.

With roughly 8 million American expats around the world, Thanksgiving is starting to become a global holiday.

Where Should I Celebrate Thanksgiving, Then?

If you are away from the U.S. this Thanksgiving season, or you just want to mix it up, Booking.com compiled a list of places to spend your holiday.

Berlin, Germany

A city praised for good schools, a positive political environment, safety, and transportation, Berlin is a wonderful place to celebrate your holiday. Midtown Grill even offers a traditional turkey feast!

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Also featured on the list of countries where expats are happiest, Amsterdam is known for a laid back atmosphere and plenty of tourist attractions. Be thankful for your new friends while exploring museums, city walks, and sightseeing.

Sydney, Australia

Take in magnificent natural beauty, ideal weather, and relaxing atmosphere in Sydney this holiday. If you take a break from eating delicious food and sharing what you are thankful for, spend time at the iconic harbor and take advantage of the shopping, just in time for Christmas.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Why wouldn’t you want to spend your holidays in the city that is considered one of the happiest in the world? Expats like to spend time here because of its beauty and welcoming nature.

Stop by The American Pie Company for your Thanksgiving desserts!

Beijing, China

If you don’t think you’ll be able to find a turkey dinner in Beijing on Thursday, you’re wrong. Since there are so many expats in this area, there are a surprising amount of pop-ups and turkey dinners being served all around the city.

Booking.com recommends Lily’s American Diner for a genuine imported American Turkey.

Also take time to explore the history and culture offered by the enthralling city.

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Please Don’t Start Eating Until I Get a Picture for My Instagram

Sure, mountainous terrain to explore, soft beaches to relax on, and historic cities filled with stories are important when trying to decide where your next home will be, but don’t forget about one of the most important factors, FOOD!

Your eyes usually have all the fun, but why not your taste buds… and your Instagram?

What are You Getting at?

What I’m trying to say is there are some places in this world that offer expats a journey of flavor, as well as of the mind and body. These destinations will have you taking snapshots for all of your followers.

These destinations are perfect for the foodie inside of everyone. We did all the work, so all you need to do is pick the perfect filter. Bon appetit!

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The cuisine of Ho Chi Minh, also known as Saigon by the locals, features a wonderful range of influences like the Mongolian use of beef and cooking styles from China, like stir fry. You can also find a hint of the French, with baguettes, pâté, and coffee with cream.

The inexpensive diet consists of fresh ingredients, complementary textures, and herbs.

Lyon, France

This city is often regarded as the culinary capital of France, the country known for having the world’s most Michelin stars.

Tokyo, Japan

Though property prices may be high in this city, don’t let that stop you from trying the food! In fact, Tokyo has the cheapest food on this whole list.

Tokyo has more than 225 restaurants that hold at least one Michelin star, making the city a solid competitor for “Food Capital of the World.”

Florence, Italy

The symbol of this town is a giant 1.2kg steak called the bistecca alla fiorentina. That alone should tell you that this city is the perfect foodie destination.

San Sebastian, Spain

This ancient Basque city holds the most Michelin stars per capita than any city in the world! Over the past 3 decades, San Sebastian has bloomed into a food Mecca, mostly known for its pintxos bars…the Basque equivalent of tapas.

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British Expat Surprisingly Admits, “I would not have got a face tattoo if I wasn’t drunk.”

This story gave me a chuckle. As expats, we all like to think that we are contributing to blending cultures, opening the eyes of those around us and ourselves. Well, that’s not always the case, as shown by one British expat after being arrested for drunk driving and landing in hot water with his wife for getting a face tattoo.

Paul Ferrell was asked to take a breathalyzer test and was found to be over the legal limit. His wife was also detained and may have to pay a large fine.Consumer Resource Guide

When he was pulled over in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, the 32-year-old man was incoherent and unable to answer the police officer’s questions. They knew who he was after spotting a tattoo on his forehead with the Chinese symbols that read “tai wan.”

The tattoo made headlines after he proclaimed he got the ink following a night of heavy drinking. The tattoo led Ferrell’s wife to eventually leave him.

The man later admitted that he would not have got a face tattoo if he wasn’t drunk.

Ferrell was in legal trouble a few years ago, as well, when he firebombed a corner store with a Molotov cocktail over a dispute concerning ketchup on a hamburger. He spent time in prison for that incident.

Round-Up

Don’t be lonely this Thanksgiving. Make new friends in some of the friendliest cities around the world, and try some of the amazing food!

Try something new, just please don’t get a face tattoo!

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This article was published in the Escape Artist Weekly Newsletter on November 17, 2017. If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please click here.