Wal-lah! The Displaced Nation is turning three today. Yes, our birthday is April 1st—no foolin’!
To celebrate, we would like to invite you to a virtual “hot air balloon” party.
Yes, a hot air balloon party—no foolin’ on that score either, though you could have fooled me as I had never heard of such a party until a day or so ago. Back in my day, when I still celebrated birthdays, ordinary balloons would suffice. As Winnie the Pooh once put it:
Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon.
But surely they can be even less uncheered with a hot air balloon—or so I’ve come to be persuaded.
What’s more, I’ve come to realize that hot air ballooning represents most of what we’ve been up to on this site over the past three years. Here are the three observations that led to this considerable epiphany:
1) We are full of hot air.
I won’t point the finger at anyone in particular. We are all guilty. But if I had to start somewhere it might be with:
2) But we’ve steadfastly adhered to our goal of putting air under the wings of international travelers and residents.
Just because we’re full of hot air, doesn’t mean everyone else has to be. Tellingly, our most inspirational posts tend to be by our current crop of columnists. They produce monthly tales of international residents who’ve used their time creatively. Who can fail to feel uplifted when reading about individuals like:
British screenwriter TIM JOHN: He tried to have it all in Hollywood, only to find he couldn’t afford it, but has now produced a highly readable, and informative, memoir about the seven-year roller-coaster ride.
Former American expat LINDA JANSSEN: She created a compendium of advice for expats who come in her wake, called The Emotionally Resilient Expat.
Swiss ethnographer GAETAN GREEN: He has assembled an impressive collection of photos he has taken of landscapes in remote parts of China before they, too, succumb to the forces of modernization.
Adult TCK HEIDI DURROW: She has produced an award-winning novel, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, with a biracial, bicultural protagonist, much like herself.
- Historical novelist AMANDA HODGKINSON: Currently a resident of France, she keeps a catalog of geographic landscapes she has visited, in both her native Britain and Europe, in her head for when she composes her books.
And these are just from the past month! Thank you, JJ Marsh, James King, Lisa Liang, Joanna Masters-Magg and Meagan Adele Lopez (her column comes up tomorrow!) for the critical part all of you have played in keeping us afloat.
On this note, Kate Allison deserves special mention for keeping us entertained with her serial expat novel, Libby’s Life, for the entire length of this voyage. She recently posted its 90th episode! The thought of writing that much fiction online is enough to puncture anyone’s balloon, but not Kate’s!
3) We go wherever the wind takes us.
As regular readers will realize by now, we don’t really steer the balloon, because, well, we can’t. And to be honest, we never had any particular destination in mind. We started out with monthly “themes” of global residency and travel, in hopes we would one day land in an island full of great wealth and fantastic inventions, the kind of place where our themes could become memes. Everyone there would say, how right you are, we international travelers are all writing our own versions of the Alice in Wonderland story! Let’s have a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party to celebrate. As a matter of fact, let’s turn it into an island-wide holiday!
As it turns out, however, we have yet to share the fate of retired schoolteacher Professor William Waterman Sherman. We have not yet found (or founded?) the utopian displaced community of our dreams. Thus, on our second anniversary, we rebranded ourselves as something a little tamer: a “site for international creatives”: fiction and nonfiction writers, artists, entrepreneurs, and activists.
But we kept two categories that pay tribute to our original concept: Pot Luck and Just for Laughs. And to this day, we enjoy lurching towards the odd (you can say that again!) thematic post. We just can’t help ourselves! As most regular readers know, we still give out monthly “Alices” to those with a special handle on the curious and unreal aspects of life as a global resident or voyager. And, just last month, we embraced a new heroine for the repatriate challenge many of us have faced: Dorothy Gale from the Wizard of Oz!
Is it any wonder we are throwing a Hot Air Balloon Party?
* * *
I’ve just now heard that the band has arrived. They’re called The Fifth Dimension—what could be more appropriate for take-off?! Up, up and away!
Hey, even if you’re not a balloonatic yet, we guarantee that this is the most fun you’ll ever have in a wicker basket. (And perhaps the most fear…)
Before leaving, let’s all raise our glasses. Here’s to another good year aboard the Displaced Nation Thermal Airship! Three cheers! Hip, hip, hooray!
Readers, if you have any posts that you particularly enjoyed in the past three years, please let us know in the comments. We can see if we can produce more of the same (depending on which way the wind blows, of course).
STAY TUNED for tomorrow’s fab post from The Lady Who Writes.
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Happy birthday! So thrilled for y’all! I’m headed to Japan at the end of May and will be thinking of you!
Thanks so much, Larissa, for that vote of confidence and also for that piece of news! Are you becoming an expat again? What’s up?!
This trip is just two weeks to visit friends, but I may have news on that front in a few weeks! Will keep you posted.
A wonderful age where one has mastered walking and talking. Seriously this blog will never go out of style – you’re the best!
Hi, Cinda. We’ve certainly mastered talking, tho I’m not so sure about walking–as the hot-air balloon analogy suggests, we sometimes prefer to float above reality. And now that you’ve delivered such a lovely compliment, we’ll be walking on air for the rest of the day! 🙂 Thank you!!!