Sometimes, It’s better not look.. FIGT 2012

It’s been a very tricky day, which has taken me further and further from the cosy little comfort zone that I have created for myself. Up until now, I had considered myself successful at this relocation stuff, mainly because we managed not to lose anyone en route, the family are happily installed in work / school /dog training classes, and I had finally got around to finding a personal sense of purpose – this website. It’s not intended to set the world on fire, counteract global warming or generate world peace, but hopefully, someone somewhere will find at least one thing useful.

Not really an ambitious goal, but it works for me. So when someone suggested that I submit an application to present at the 2012 Families in Global Transition (FIGT) in March, it seemed like a good way of meeting like minded people. Which brings us back to today.

I spent the morning with a Social Media consultant to sort out my inept and haphazard Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter accounts. She wanted to know why I needed help, so I told her about FIGT and not wanting to be caught showing my knickers, metaphorically speaking. After a lengthy and very informative discussion, she gave me homework, which involved researching the other speakers at the conference so that I would have a list of people that I want to meet.

It has backfired badly. I am now in a state of abject terror. They are all far more qualified, experienced and connected, with excellent relocation pedigree, and I don’t know a single soul in the entire conference. I feel like the pound mutt at the Kennel Club show, and not only am I too frightened to want to meet any of them, I would rather eat my own tongue than admit my own existence. I have paid the registration fee and booked a vendor’s table and have no idea what to put on it apart from an all-you-can-eat pastry selection and a ‘Sorry I Missed You’ sign.

The Feisty One was with me when I began to hyperventilate, and was quick to offer a bracing pep talk. “Mummy”, she said “You have to stop being silly. You have a website, you’re building an app, you were a lecturer and a nurse” (here she starts to look a little panicky as she began to run out of material) “and you have a husband and two children and three dogs.” A glowing recommendation indeed – especially when two of the dogs run away on an almost daily basis -, but not necessarily the most professionally reassuring.

Thing are not going exactly to plan and I can see only one way forward – fake popularity and alcohol consumption. If you promise to Share, Like, Tweet and otherwise make me look popular, I promise to share all the gory details of what may well be a three day marathon of rabbit-in-the-headlight moments and any leftover pastries. And for those of you familiar with Washington D.C.; know any good cocktail bars?


25 thoughts on “Sometimes, It’s better not look.. FIGT 2012”

    1. The cheque is in the post (along with the draft presentation). Thank goodness for long-suffering friends with excellent skills and blunt honesty..

  1. If you find yourself stumped for things to say, just tell ’em about your tick fetish. Fear. Whatever. πŸ˜‰

    They’ll be riveted.

    And they’ll imagine themselves; either they’ll get a good giggle out of what a total GIRL you were about it, or they’ll commiserate. Either way it’s a win – you’ve either made them feel vastly superior or less alone in the world.

    That will probably lead to sharing tales of what sort of indigenous pests and vermin one might find in relocating globally. Pretty soon, you’ll be chatting quite calmly and naturally with these folks. They’ll love your pastries and you can watch them get drunk at the after-parties, and it’ll be time well spent.

    Relax. πŸ™‚ If your husband loves you and your kids are proud of you (or at least willing to be seen in public with you), you’ve got nothing to worry and fret about.

  2. Rachel…Do not panic! You will be brilliant, just as Clare said. I could tell by the stories you told me this morning over coffee. That having been said, your humility will make you relate that much more to the people who really need your help when it comes to navigating relocation!

    Meanwhile, for those who are reading… click right over to Rachel’s Defining Moves and Join it πŸ™‚

    See you on Friday.

    — Robin

  3. YOU WILL BE BRILLIANT.. reason being … you are real… not a fake perfect person… you try your hardest and do your best and like all of us, you have you moments, that’s why we love you and your website… and that’s why they’ll love you.. because you REALLY know and you laugh about it all…but also have excellent practical advice that works coz you have been there… chin up … think Janet Evanovich… there’s a series of best sellers out there with your name on them and this conference thingy could be that start πŸ™‚ We love you Rachel. X…

  4. I won’t get Evan to give you details of where they went in Washington – he was fairly scared by all the large men and tattoo parlours they walked past!
    You will be wonderful, and they will love you as much as we do! They are all looking at each other, thinking that he/she is so much more qualified than they are πŸ™‚ If in doubt, just grin and all will be fab! Love ya! xx

  5. Oh you lucky gal, you! I had intended to finally get to FIGT this year but have a few too many projects going so am aiming for next year. Take a deep breath and relax. I’ve mentioned you to author/publisher Jo Parfit ( who attends faithfully. I’m pretty sure Norm Viss of will also attend now that he is back on the East Coast, and will send him the link to your post. Given the nature of living in different cultures/countries, expats are generally a very giving, welcoming group. I’m sure you’ll meet lots of interesting, friendly people, have a wonderful time and will do a terrific job with your presentation.

  6. Rachel

    Relax. It’ll be my 9th (I think, counting not my forte) FIGT and they are all a really nice, normal bunch. No one has an overinflated ego and most suffer from the imposter syndrome. Apple Gidley and I love the bar and you will find us there every night, I promise, if you need sustenance. The price of cocktails may be prohibitive, we stick to the Sauvignon Blanc.. as for showing your metaphorical knickers, you may like to know that Apple’s book is to be published in time for FIGT and she only got her website last week. You are in good company. I look forward to meeting you and you know, nothing worth doing is without an element of fear. See you in DC. Jo

  7. Rachel,
    I see Jo beat me to it – typical! I promise you that it is the friendliest conference on earth. People sound far much more hi-falutin’ than they are.
    Sometimes we need to listen to our kids – yours was right. You know far more than I’m sure you realise. So don’t panic, we will either be in the foyer or the bar waiting for you on the Wednesday evening. Apple

    1. What can I say? I can’t decide what’s better – the wonderful sense of welcome, or the reassurance that there will be someone else with me propping up the bar…

  8. Rachel,I and many others reviewed your FIGT proposal and it was brilliant! That’s why you were invited to attend. We LOVE all things new and fresh and are looking forward to your presentation. We are all very normal and very welcoming people at FIGT. You will feel like you have just arrived back “home” because you will be with others who understand you.
    I too, when I first started attending FIGT, had only RN after my name as my credentials. I met so many people who wanted to help me sort out what I wanted to do with my expat experience and today I am doing it!
    You’re gonna love us and we are going to love you! See you in DC in a few short weeks!

  9. Ha, I see the rest of the FIGT mob have beat me to it. If it’s any comfort I’m also presenting for the first time this year (although it’s not my first conference). I’ve come a long way since I first slid my way into the back of the room in 2010, as a newly repatriated, unemployed trailing spouse with my self esteem lower than a snake’s ankles. I was horribly intimidated for all of 5 minutes and then I realized it really was a “reunion of strangers.” You’ll love it.

  10. Hey, guess what? I have nothing after my name, apart from a BA in French and that has nothing to do with my business as a publisher and my being an author. Apple and I will be the pair leaning gently sideways I expect, glass in hand … though Apple may have her brand new published book in the other!

  11. I think you’ll be surprised at how many people you will meet who are on the same road as you – this blog is proof (should we have needed it, which we didn’t) that you can narrate your experience in a way that is helpful and useful to others. That’s all we ask!

    1. Let’s hope I can stop stammering long enough to make sense at the conference! Thanks you all so much for the votes of confidence and support – I can’t wait to meet everyone!

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