Current home: Dublin, Ireland
Past overseas locations: Korea, Australia, South Africa
Cyberspace coordinates: Journalist on the run | Follow my adventures around the world (blog) and @janetnewenham (Twitter handle)
Most recent post: “Dear Diary — Laughter and Crocodiles” (January 3, 2012)
Where are you spending the holidays this year?
Spending Christmas at home in Cork for the first time in 3 years. (I am currently doing a Masters in Humanitarian Action at University College Dublin.) My dad has a vegetable farm so there will be Brussels sprouts galore!!
Had you gone abroad for the holidays, what would you have done first?
Look for a party!
What do you most like doing during the holidays?
I love the friend and family reunions. As everyone lives all over the world nowadays, chances are few for crossing paths with friends and even some family members.
Will you be on or offline?
Offline for the holidays — maybe curled up by the fire watching movies and drinking wine.
Are you sending any cards?
I LOVE snailmail, especially making personalized cards with photographs. Plus after Christmas I will have to hand write thank-you notes to my grandparents, aunts and uncles, as is the family tradition.
What’s the thing you most look forward to eating?
A full tin of chocolates!!
Can you recommend any good films or books other “internationals” might enjoy?
I liked The Whistleblower (2010, directed by Larysa Kondracki and starring Rachel Weisz) — about a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia who outs a UN scandal. It portrays the kind of work I would like to get into after I finish my MSc.
While living in South Korea, I read Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, by the journalist Barbard Demick (Spiegel & Grau, 2009). By following the lives of six people who escaped from North Korea, Demick provides some fascinating insights into a country we know little about. I found it deeply moving.
If you could travel anywhere for Christmas +/or New Year’s Eve, where would it be?
Somewhere hot and sunny…so maybe back to Australia or South Africa for Xmas on the beach.
What famous person do you think it would be fun to spend New Year’s Eve with?
Charlie Todd, the guy who set up Improv Everywhere. Who knows what sort of New Year’s Even mischief he and I might improvise?
What’s been your most displaced holiday experience?
Christmas in Ethiopia, where they don’t actually celebrate Christmas. And, because they use a different calendar, it’s never Christmas there when it’s Christmas everywhere else. The Ethiopians were preparing to celebrate the millennium when it was September 2007 everywhere else!
How about the least displaced experience — when you’ve felt the true joy of the season?
Last year I was really settled into my life in Korea with a great group of expat friends, so even though we were abroad it felt like home.
How do you feel when the holidays are over?
Tired, hungover and broke!
On the first day of Christmas, my true love said to me:
TEN SPROUTS A-BRUSSELING,
NINE CELLPHONES DANCING,
EIGHT WHOOPHIS WHOOPING,
SEVEN SKIERS A-PARTYING,
SIX SPOUSES TRAILING,
FIVE GOOOOOOOFY EXPATS.
FOUR ENGLISH CHEESES,
THREE DECENT WHISKIES,
TWO CANDY BOXES,
& AN IRISHMAN IN A PALM TREE!
STAY TUNED for tomorrow’s featured nomad (11/12) in our 12 Nomads of Christmas series.
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I’m thrilled that you enjoy receiving snailmail cards. Every year I go to all kinds of trouble to keep up the snailmail card tradition while cursing myself as it often means staying up really late a few days before Christmas, and I always end up sending more than we receive (esp now that email & e-cards are taking the place of paper). Maybe the pair of us should exchange cards next year? 🙂
Hey! Yes we should totally exchange cards next year! In fact, cards aren’t just for Christmas you know… 3 years ago, a group of friends and I hand made 500 Valentines cards, write personalised notes in each one (it took about 3 weeks!) and then handed them out in hospitals and on the street on valentines day….such fun! 🙂
500 handmade and personalized Valentine’s Day cards that you handed out to needy people — I’m gobsmacked. Clearly, you are in the right field. The wider world can really use your energy! 🙂