Where is home? What is "home?" More than 250 million people live outside the country of their birth- a scale of separation and migration that our species hasn't experienced since our ancestors took their first steps out of central Africa. Long-understood notions of home, family & culture are quickly evolving- sometimes in ways that can seem frightening to people who have never lived overseas. Host Mike Shaw talks with the fascinating people blazing this new trail for humanity, discussing their reasons for leaving their places of origin and how their identities are evolving as a result.
This week I'm chatting with the newest member of Migration Media, Chrislyn Choo! Her new vlog/docuseries, "The Chrysalis Chronicles," launches today and it follows her journey as she explores her family's roots across Asia. So how does a Jersey Girl wind up trekking around the globe in search of her identity? And how is her search changing her? It's a fascinating discussion that not only examines her own reasons for taking on this huge project, but it speaks to the mission of Migration Media: We are burning to tell the stories of migration in a world that doesn't seem ready to acknowledge it as an experience that gets more and more normal every day.
Check out The Chrysalis & subscribe here: https://www.chrislynchoo.com/chrysalis
Chrislyn on Twitter: @chrislynchoo
Follow Migration Media: @MigratonMedia_
Those of us who live overseas naturally become observers of the cultures that we move into. Among the luckiest of all expats are those who get paid to share those observances. This week's guest, Malgo Blonska, is among those lucky few. In addition to being a teacher of history and yoga, she works as a freelance journalist for newspapers and radio in her home country of Poland, where her work focuses on explaining China and its culture to a population that has its own complex history with communism. This perspective makes for unique takes on the country and city that she now feels most at home in.
What do we lose when we migrate? Those of us who have the privilege of choosing to move overseas often talk about the great things that making such a big change brings to us, like new experiences, new friends, and new opportunities. But we also leave things behind- and that can be really hard. Life moves on for everyone back home, and nothing brings that into focus more than when a loved one dies while you're overseas. Dealing with grief is a universal experience, but how do you deal with it when you're separated from your family? What does it say about he choices that you've made? And do you reevaluate them? This week's guest, Joana Savedra, is asking herself these questions after a recent death in her family, and her thoughts offer a window into a subject that is not often talked about in expat circles... or by those we've left behind.
Sometimes the #ExpatLife can sneak up on you. This week's guest, Mariya Kuznetsova, had planned to do a couple of years at university in Beijing studying Chinese and international relations before she headed back to Russia. But an internship turned 2 years into 3, and then another, and another... Now 7 years later she's still going strong, having undergone profound changes along the way, looking very little like the woman who left Novosibirsk.
Towards A Compassionate Nation: https://www.tacn.org
Follow us on Twitter: @MigratonMedia_
My guest this week, Christiana Zhu, is a "returning foreigner." These are people who are first-generation nationals in one country who have migrated to the country that their parents originally left. Christiana's parents emigrated from China and raised their kids in New Zealand, and now she finds herself living in Beijing, starting a business and embracing her role as a "bridge person-' someone who can operate across cultures, helping each side understand the other. Lots of migrants feel like fish out of water. Or, at least, they're people who struggle mightily with their identity. But not Christiana. She's self-assured, goal-oriented, and knows exactly who she is and how she can use the skills that her origin story has given her to bring value to every situation that she finds herself in.
I think that she's pretty bad-ass. I think that you will, too.
Bahamian Jared Dillet traded a life on the water for a life in the sand when he relocated from his native Nassau to Beijing, on the edge of China's Gobi Desert, 4 years ago. You can't really ask for a more radical geographic change than what he and is wife have gone through, but as he says, they've been pleasantly surprised at how quickly they've taken to the expat life. Having made the conscious decision move to overseas when they did, essentially as part of a career change after at least a decade of working on or in the ocean in some capacity, is proof that it's never "too late" to become an expat. And, as happened with him, once you take the leap, you may be surprised at just how much your life experience may have prepared you for all of the changes that come your way once you land in your new "home."
Please give is a "Like" and a review on iTunes, and drop us a line on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MigrationMedia_
Kerry Lin is a case study in how migration screws with traditional notions of "home" and identity. Born in France to an ethnic Chinese Cambodian and an Englishwoman, she doesn't claim to have "French blood," has almost no connection to Cambodia, and would never be accepted as Chinese. She tailors her response to the question "Where are you from?" to the person asking (she will tell a French person something different than a Chinese person, for example). Listening to Kerry talk about her journey, how it has shaped her, and what kind of a future she envisions for herself gives us a glimpse into how an ever-growing slice of humanity is thinking about themselves.
Gung Ho Pizza: http://gunghopizza.com/en/
Russians are some of the most interesting expats around. With a reputation for being ultra nationalistic, it's amazing that 9-10 million Russians, out of a total population of just under 145 million, have chosen to live overseas. This week I talk with Marina Barayeva, a marketing consultant from Yekaterinburg who, after years of traveling around the world, has found a home in Beijing. Her experiences, and the evolution of her concept of "home," are a testament to the power of migration to reshape people's lives, no matter what context they come from.
Listen to Marina's podcast, "Marketing for Creatives," here: http://intnetworkplus.com/category/marketing-for-creatives
Follow her on Twitter: @MarinaBarayeva
This week's interview was a complete surprise. When Nancy Zhou came over to my place for lunch, the plan was to hang out and catch up, but as we started to tell our respective Beijing arrival stories, I simply had to turn on the microphone and capture hers! Nancy was born in Beijing, but moved to Sacramento when she was 11, switched to Los Angeles for college, and stayed there for several years afterwards. Then, a family illness brought her back to Beijing for a visit- but the Sichuan earthquake in 2008 kept her here, and even forced a career change. Nancy shares what it was like to go from living in China, to growing up American, then to coming back as an adult. It's a complex story that challenges typical notions of identity and definitions of "home."
Interact with us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MigrationMedia_
This week I'm sharing a conversation that I recorded back in April with Beatrice Zhang, one of my "First Year Friends." What's a "First Year Friend?" Listen in and I'll explain. Then, Beatrice and I talk about her journey from a small town outside of Guangzhou to her jet-setting life traveling around the world as a flight attendant, and her eventual landing in Seattle. Finally, Beatrice gives me yet another way to think of what "home" can mean, leaving me to ponder: Am I a Bostonian, a Beijinger, or both? And is that even possible
Connect with us on Twitter: @MigrationMedia_
With the launch of Migration Media last week it only made sense for my chief collaborator in this crazy scheme, Brendan Davis, to sit down so that we could take a deep dive into his migration story. What drives a guy from the American Deep South to strike out on a career in music, film and television in LA, and then ultimately follow those passions to China? The seeds may have been planted early on with an upbringing that featured lots of migration within the US, followed by a chance encounter in his teens with some Asian philosophy texts. The journey that followed has brought him to Beijing where is busy trying to find ways to bridge the cultural divide between East and West.
Brendan Davis' interview on the "Fei's World" podcast: https://www.feisworld.com/blog/brendan-davis
Brendan Davis' interview of me on his podcast, "Big Fish In the Middle Kingdom": https://www.crazyinagoodway.com/home/2017/12/6/mike-shaw
Connect with Brendan:
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Migratory Patterns is now a part of Migration Media!
Soundcloud feed: https://soundcloud.com/migration-media
We kick off the Migratory Patterns podcast with the most important expat in my life- my amazing wife Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati! Far from an act of nepotism, I used this interview to have a long-overdue deep dive into what motivated her to leave home, drive across the US alone, move to New Zealand and eventually end up in Beijing... where she married me! Alisa's story is awesome and she spins a great yarn. So sit back and enjoy her tale of searching for a place to call home; its a journey that many international migrants are on.
Get the whole story of my own journey to the #ExpatLife, as well as the full story of how Alisa and I met on Episode #29 of the Big Fish In the Middle Kingdom podcast: https://www.crazyinagoodway.com/podcast-links/