J Simens.com

An Expat’s Job is to Flutter Around: Hectic or Peaceful, That is Up to You

wing-flapping rates - 50 times per second

Wing-flapping rates – 50 times per second

Happy Groundhog Day, it is a popular tradition celebrated in the United States and Canada on February 2. Weird Holiday in my mind and I never got into celebrating it – ever.

I am sitting on my patio watching the hummingbirds feed. Roatan is the kind of place you can just sit and watch hummingbirds. I wish our kids were with us but one has a new job and one is still in college. We want them to be successful doing what they are doing.


Planning Ahead

As the Easter holiday season approaches all the Expat’s in the world might be thinking about their family. It is amazing how some people are in a hectic frenzy while others are taking a very peaceful voyage.  I am talking about how we go about getting our offspring all in one location or how we decide on where we will spend the holidays. It is not an easy task.

I find myself caught in a “groundhog” type of day. (This refers to the movie where Bill Murray has to relive February 2 Groundhog Day over and over and over hoping to get the day right) I flip between flight tracker of my son’s travel from Honolulu or my daughter’s trip from Los Angels and a peaceful movie about pollination. Looking at a live flight tracking map of an 16-hour flight is just not that much fun. I find Louie Schwartzberg’s : The hidden beauty of pollination much more exciting.

The connection between the two events – you might ask?

It is sometimes the little things in life we take for granted. It is the connection of nature’s tool for survival, we will protect what we fall in love with. Pollination is a love story that feeds the Earth. It reminds us we are part of nature and we’re not separate from it. Having a child reminds us that we will try to protect them even if we know that by tracking their flights we can’t really “help” in any way but we are connected.

Raising expat children reminds us we are not separate from our families, we are intertwined on Earth.

Schwartzberg said, “What motivated me to film their behavior was something that I asked my scientific advisers: “What motivates the pollinators?” Well, their answer was, “It’s all about risk and reward.”

Like a wide-eyed kid, I’d say, “Why is that?” And they’d say, “Well, because they want to survive.” I go, “Why?” “Well, in order to reproduce.” “Well, why?” And I thought that they’d probably say, “Well, it’s all about sex.” And Chip Taylor, our monarch butterfly expert, he replied, “Nothing lasts forever. Everything in the universe wears out.”

And that blew my mind. Because I realized that nature had invented reproduction as a mechanism for life to move forward, as a life force that passes right through us and makes us a link in the evolution of life. Rarely seen by the naked eye, this intersection between the animal world and the plant world is truly a magic moment. It’s the mystical moment where life regenerates itself, over and over again.

I see expat children returning to their families current home as a mechanism for life to move forward. We are the links that form the family. It is truly a magical moment when you see these global nomads reconnect with their families in airport terminals around the world.

The following video shows both the power of doing something over and over:




  • January 15, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    I found your linking pollination and our children returning at the holidays both innovative and accurate, Julia. While we are all in different places, we maintain contact while we each are living and growing individually. We really do await their return, gathering them to us for our collective family life to move forward.

  • January 17, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Thanks Linda,
    I like the idea of a ” collective life” moving forward. I wonder how this will feel when I am the oldest generation in the family.