mother, wife, expat...tarzan, jane

I am sitting in the transit lounge at Hong Kong International Airport, working on what has taken me a few months to 'About Me' page.

I am updating bits and as a work in life tends to be. I have promised answers to those who have asked about this crazy life we live. If we were to meet, I would enjoy it if we could sit in the two chairs above..taking in a peaceful vista and just talking.

To those of you who have read my page, I thank you sincerely and to those of you who are new to Collage of Life...I welcome you!

My story...

I have been writing at Collage of Life for nearly three years and over
that time I have met the most wonderful the written word and in person.
The natural way of things, when we connect, is to tell a little bit about ourselves.
So here goes...if you and I were to meet, most likely over a cup of coffee...I imagine
our conversation would go like this.... I will start.

What can I say about me 
that will not totally confuse you?
Let's see how this works...
I like to laugh and mostly laugh at myself.
I think...
taking oneself to seriously, can be exhausting.

I am an Expat...or better put, 
a travelling spouse and mother.
I have four children who call me 'Mom' and 'Mum'.
My travelling partner in this crazy life is Mr. H.

Some of us are American by birth, 
some are Australian by birth.
We call both countries home in addition to 
New Zealand and England where we lived for several years.
Oh yes, we have a family dog who travels with us. 
Her name is Tika.

In 2012, we moved to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
To say it is an adventure, equal to no other, is an understatement.
You can find lots on that topic within this blog.

My interests today...
my family, travel, photography, gardening, fashion, 
to name a few, it's all here.

As a mother,
I stay in touch with three of my children, one living in Australia, 
one living in New Zealand and the other living in America. What does it feel like
to have them spread wide and far? I will be honest, it is not easy, but we manage
through Skype and visits throughout the year.

The story does not end there as our fourth child, the lucky last is
with us in Ho Chi Minh City. At the age of twelve and knowing only 
the life of an expat since birth...we have only to guess where he will call
home one day.

As a wife,
I am the travelling spouse or as I frequently write on my immigration forms,
the 'Homemaker' to Mr. H and our children. I have thoughts on that one, 
long ones, you can read them here and here.  I often feel like Jane following Tarzan,
with a tribe of little ones (who are not so little anymore) following behind. The life of a wife?
I haven't written much about that yet, I will take note for future writing.

As an expat,
Life is interesting and I reflect on that through my photography and writing at Collage of Life.
We moved away from the USA in 1999, with thoughts about when and if we would return.
A question we often ask ourselves..and one that we can never find a definitive answer to..
'Where is home?'  Each of your children would have a different answer but at the end of the day, 
it is the time and place when we are all together. 

I should mention that I also write another blog, Expat Diary: Vietnam (here). 
I fill it with travel notes. If you are thinking of travelling to Vietnam, 
you just might find something to guide you.

If you like to stay connected, you can also fine me ...
and hang around here, where I list my favourite books, 
music and bits and pieces, My Shop Around The Corner ...
they might be some of yours too. 

With that, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart
for reading along. If you would like to drop me a line, with your story.
I would love to hear from you...

Warm wishes from Vietnam...
Jeanne xx



  1. Dear Jeanne,
    I really wish that I could sit there and chat with you. I met up with Vicki Archer and Simone a few months ago but just missed out on the meeting that you had with them .....and then, you were gone !!
    Hope that life is treating you well in Vietnam and that you are all enjoying the experience. Much love. XXXX

  2. Very nice introduction Jeanne. I enjoy reading your blog and learning from you. Thank you. Have a good day!

  3. Dear Jeanne,
    I can't tell you how much I enjoy reading both of your blogs!
    I check with you everyday to see if there is a new posting, and eagerly read each one.
    Thank you for letting me tag along with you in your adventures around the world.
    You write beautifully, and honestly.
    I see a book or two in your future!
    Shari from Houston, TX, USA.

  4. Jeanne, what an amazing life you describe, only I'm not sure where to begin. I'm such a homebody by nature that I'm in awe of the sheer miles and countries you've lived. And the idea of having three children in three different countries is hard to put my pedestrian little brain around. Will I ever be able to let go to that degree? I seriously doubt it. But I've always admired this large embrace of the world you have here at your blog, and the inherent sense of sweetness and smiles that I hear in your blog voice. Thanks for sharing, in fact I really need to update my About Me page myself. What a lovely reminder.
    Blessings to you,
    Leslie (Gwen Moss blog)

  5. As always Jeanne a wonderful post. How fun it would be to sit and chat. Be safe.

  6. Jeanne, you have interesting stories,love reading and learning from you....
    Jane Tanaya

  7. Strong work, here, Jeanne.


  8. Jeanne, I think I have said this a couple of times when writing a comment on your blog. I normally don´t read long posts. However, yours are truly interesting. Maybe because we seem to be at similar times in our lives, I am from another country (an Argentine living in America), with children in other locations, trying to figure out whether to continue my blog(s), trying to get some direction, and finally figuring out that if my blogs are not about the real me, they are not worth spending time on. But at times it feels a bit scary, doesn't it. I think you have a fascinating life and a way of putting it into words that it feels real and relatable. As long as you continue to post, I'll continue to come. Have a wonderful week.

  9. i will gladly have a seat with you :):):)

  10. The song "Getting to Know You" is coming to mind and we can just see you walzing through life with a smile... and great photography! Being the daughters of expats with 18 years in Europe in our past, we miss the days of picking up and leaving for new destinations. Funny how if you live the expat life as children, all you want for your own is to put down roots in one place. But that doesn't mean they haven't seen the world... Would love to have you over any time!
    C + C

  11. I love it. It captures you so well. But you left out one apt description - amazing woman. I am so lucky that I found you at the beginning of your blogging journey. You really are an inspiration, a talented photographer, and a lovely person. And if your travels ever bring you to New York, my door is always open.

  12. Hi Jeanne, your story is always interesting. I love to come and read along. Sometimes I am finding it hard to juggle all my chores with writing posts and commenting. So I try to make the most of the little time I have.

  13. Jeanne
    It is my delight to read your posts, no matter the length, take in the glorious photos posted from your homes and travels and find the in-depth writing, as you have done today, to be most delicious. Having lived my entire life in the US, I find my dreaming, imagining self absorbed in your travels and living abroad. Appreciating you every time I see your name in my inbox and hurriedly doing other tasks so I can sit with your words and bask in their descriptive, colorful exciting song of your life.
    Thank you over and over for your sharing,

  14. Dear Jeanne:

    Loved loved this multi-faceted YOU. It has been a long time since I stopped by here but I am glad that I used to read your delight-filled posts consisting of pictures, personal stories, among other things.

    And, I so yearn for a cup of coffee with you so that I can hear about you from you instead of reading a post.

    Glad to have stopped by today :)

    Joy always,

  15. Those two chairs definitely look the perfect place to sit and relax! I always enjoy popping over to your blog and today was no exception.

  16. I would call yours a life well lived! I had the opportunity to travel to Thailand when I was in high school to see my father who was working for Air America at the time, but I didn't go. I would of have had to traveled back to the states alone for the family I was going with were staying and as a young girl from a rural area I was too afraid to make that trip back alone. Yes, I have regrets for being a scaredy cat! Love your blog!

  17. A life lived indeed...I wish I had an ounce of your tenacity big sis. Lou x

  18. As I've said before...I don't know how you do it! If we were to sit in those two chairs, I'd be dying to ask you what your husband does for an occupation...which would be terribly unmannerly, I'm sure but I do wonder what "expats" do that takes them out of the country.

  19. Just delightful, Jeanne. You always take the path less travelled - how wonderful. J x


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