It seems incredible that a year has passed since the last Families in Global Transition conference; forever infamous as the one where I had a complete (and very public ) online meltdown at the eminence and credentials of my fellow presenters, only to have my cover blown by one Judy Rickatson, (aka @wifeinasuitcase) who is the expat online version of Wikipedia. If it’s out there, she knows about it, Tweets, Likes and Pins about it, and, I strongly suspect, has superhuman powers. If she was in charge of the search for the Holy Grail, it would have been found years ago, and it has become my life’s work to try and find an expat blog that she hasn’t yet discovered. She is the Simon Cowell of the expat social media world, discovering talent from the four corners of the globe; only much, much nicer.
Hence my blubbering gaining the attention of various members and supporters of FIGT, who all headed across to the Defining Moves website to offer kind words, support and offers of hospitality. It was the single most generous spirited gesture, and it embodies all that is special about the FIGT organization. People with years of experience, a hugely diverse range of backgrounds and an incredible depth of knowledge, all passionate about making expat life better.
It’s why I can’t wait to go back this year, and why you should all be joining me too. It’s a two day whirlwind of people, presentations and discussions from every perspective; starting with a keynote presentation from the brilliant Pico Iyer. Whether you are an accompanying partner, a expat service provider or from corporate HR, you will leave with a wealth of information and a host of new friends and real, live expat human resources. The only dilemma is how to fit it all into two days.
As for me, I have very personal reasons to want to go there too. It will be the first time I will actually meet many online friends in person, both those who regularly pop up here in the comments sections, on the Facebook page and on my Twitter feed.
At the top of my list?
Judy, of course.
If you need more information about Families in Global Transition and the FIGT 2013 conference, here’s the link to their website, including information on registering, becoming a member (as well as all the other benefits, you qualify for a reduced registration fee), global affiliates, sponsorship, the New Attendees information webinar and the New Attendees welcome evening. I hope to see you there!
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?