Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Welcome to Writer Abroad

Welcome to Writer Abroad. Over the course of this blog, I hope to find out as much as possible about the lives of writers living abroad as well as share opportunities and information. Because let's be honest, being a writer can be great. But it can also be lonely. Right now, I just finished writing Chapter 28 of my memoir and I'm sitting at home wearing my work boots (in other words, my awesome slipper boots that I bought from the GAP when I was visiting home a couple weeks ago). Every writer should have these. Unless of course, you live in a tropical place like Tahiti and then I sort of hate you because the sky here in Switzerland has turned grey for oh, the next six months and I'm already craving the sun. But I digress.

To kick off this blog thing, here's my story. I'm sharing it, so hopefully I'll get to hear yours eventually too.

I arrived in Switzerland in 2006, rather excited to find a country where people can actually pronounce my name since this was never the case in the U.S. After 28 years of “Shh, shhantell panahzoo” you sort of need to get away.

Anyhow, I’m a writer and copywriter and worked at an ad agency in Zurich for three years before being laid off, and that’s another story because of the strange concept (to Americans at least) of having to keep working for three months after being laid off.

Now I’m working as a writer, blogger, and copywriter. Besides checking email like there's no tomorrow so I can revel in responses like "thank you for your essay. We regret it does not suit our needs at the current time," I do things like blog, write a column for Swiss News, blab on Swiss radio, and write essays for American publications like the Monitor. I’m also working on a memoir about life abroad, and have recently had some stories published in a couple of best-selling anthologies.

I moved to Switzerland for my husband’s job—I admit it, I’m a trailing spouse. Even though I hate that term. But it was my choice to come here too, so I can’t just go around blaming the lack of cheddar in the land of cheese on him. And please, don’t call me "Frau". That word sounds so matronly and pathetic. And I don’t like that it means both wife and woman. Like we can’t be a woman without being a wife. German is so annoying sometimes.

But that's enough about me. If you really want more, you can always go to my website. Next up, tomorrow, an interview with Celeste Brash, a Lonely Planet writer living in sigh, Tahiti. She doesn't need those slipper boots. But she's still cool.

Are you a writer living outside your home country that would like to be featured on Writer Abroad? If so, please contact Chantal.


  1. Well, I'm loving it already, Chantal. And those slippers are neat. I wish it weren't so temperate here in Philly (seriously - I love the cold). I'm reduced to wearing little slipper socks. It's actually somewhat tragic and certainly pathetic.

  2. Oh no, temperate. Who wants temperate when you can have a gigantic fog cloud over your head for six months at a time. Oh wait, what am I saying, the sun just came out here. For two seconds. That was that. Oh well. Glad you like the site so far.

  3. Cool idea. Love the header banner. Did you draw that? Perhaps I will have to write a piece from Australia. Still toying with what kind of blog I want there... not 100% sure yet. Good luck with this one! ;)

  4. I'm loving the new blog, Chantal! Count me in for an interview when I finally acheive my dream of living abroad and writing. (Hopefully, blogs won't be extinct by then!)

  5. Hi Jessica, no, the illustration was drawn by Swiss art director Tom Kees. I'll pass on the praise.

    Thanks, Erika, you're in! I just know you'll achieve your dream.

  6. Thanks. I enjoy your blog and hope you'll join me here.

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