Lauren from Flaurena is a gem - almost as sweet as her jewellery is pretty.
Flaurena makes beautifully intricate jewellery - fit for a princess. Well, I'm sure that's how you feel when you wear it. She has a penchant for striking, bold designs and blames her Amazonian frame for that. She's rather tall.
She was kind enough to answer some questions on her experiences as an expat.
Why did you move?
The truth is, I’ve always been on the move.
I was born in London, England, but most of my childhood was spent living overseas: I went to school in southern Spain, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., and Assisi, Italy. Additionally, I spent a few months in Miami and Jaipur, India.
Later on, I studied French and Spanish at university in London. Typically, most B.A. degrees in the U.K. are three years, but when studying languages it’s a four-year degree, because you are required to spend your third year abroad: I spent 7 months in Madrid, followed by 3 months in Paris. It was there that I met S., an American who would eventually become my husband!
Since then, S. and I have lived in London once, and twice in New York. We’ve been living in Brooklyn for 5 years now, and it’s the longest I’ve lived in any one place (city AND apartment!) without moving. I tell you, I’m beginning to get itchy feet! We’re thinking about leaving the Empire State, but don’t know where to… suggestions/ recommendations welcomed!
Biggest challenge being an expat?
To be honest, both my parents are ex-pats, so in some ways I don’t think of myself as one.
Also, my immediate family is comprised of people who are all different nationalities – British, American, Belgian, Spanish, and Bulgarian – so for me, moving around and being immersed in different cultures feels perfectly normal.
But that’s not to say there aren’t challenges living an ocean away…
Firstly, living so far away from family is hard: it seems that I either have the time or the money to visit them, but never both! I’d love to be able to pop round for Sunday lunch every week… On the plus side, the advent of Skype means we can ‘see’ each other when we do speak.
Secondly, paperwork: the day I naturalized and became an American citizen was wonderful for many reasons, not least of all because it signified the end of immigration bureaucracy.
Finally, crossword puzzles, ha ha! The fact that I didn’t spend a lot of my formative years in the U.S. means I am sometimes at a cultural disadvantage, which means I don’t always know the answers to clues…
Biggest joy being an expat?
It seems that wherever I go, I’m a foreigner: I’m too emotional to be English; too reserved to be Spanish; too eccentric to be American… Being considered an outsider can be frustrating, but most of the time I enjoy “being different”. Most people are naturally curious and the fact that I “speak with an accent” (in both English and Spanish) here in the U.S. can be a wonderful icebreaker.
Thinking about this question more, though, I think the biggest joy is the fact that I think of myself as a true world citizen. My eyes have been opened to the world around me, through being exposed to different cultures, languages, and cuisines. Moving around as much as I have has made me more culturally sensitive, more independent, and more open-minded. And though I may have plenty of room for improvement, it’s made me a better artist and, I hope, a better human being.
I love reading these expat stories. Thanks for taking the time to make this post happen Lauren.
Next week I'm featuring a lovely collector and secret artist.
Post by: Jacqueline Fouche (Tangentine)