Post image for expat+HAREM bloggers

Check out the identity quests and cultural exploration of our guest bloggers. Where they’re from. Where they’ve been. Where they’re headed now.




After moving to a small town in Turkey from Californian suburbia, Tara Lutman Ağaçayak had to find a way to recast her career. With few offline options, she jumped onto the web and into e-commerce where she began offering locally-made Turkish products in Citara’s Handcrafted Boutique. Her connections to local artists and designers inspired the shopping and sourcing site Behind the Bazaar. It all comes together at Turquoise Poppy, where she explores how to make the most of your circumstances, discover who you are, and build meaningful and fulfilling life-work.

Tara’s contributions to expat+HAREM



Karen Armstrong is an American living in Italy with the love of her life, her husband Nino Quartarone. A few years into her expat life, Karen decided to pursue life coaching, which led to the creation of her Life Design program. She then discovered Arbonne International and started her own Arbonne business, which she considers “life coaching with tangible results” in personal and financial wellness. A seeker of simplicity and lover of coastal living, Karen is passionate about empowering women to thrive in life.

Karen’s contributions to expat+HAREM



A blogger from an ex-Soviet Muslim republic, uprooted to live in a posh suburb in the UK. Foreign here, foreign there…foreign everywhere. Besides the blog, I run a regular culture clash column in MagAZine in Baku, Azerbaijan and contribute to Women’s Forum.

Scary’s contributions to expat+HAREM



California native Catherine Salter Bayar’s first international solo travel at the age of 14 awakened a passion for travel and exploring other cultures. After 15 years as a clothing and interior designer around the world, she traded a fast-paced career for the slower pleasures of life in an Aegean Turkish town, tending a vintage textile shop and water pipe café with her Mardin-born husband Abit. A decade later, they’ve moved to Istanbul to open a crafts workshop, where local and traveling women will meet, create and share the common language of handmade fiber arts. Catherine was a contributor to Tales from the Expat Harem, and blogs here.

Catherine’s contributions to expat+HAREM



Elmira Bayraslı splits her time between writing and do-gooding (with an hour for yoga). Eager to give voice to the voiceless she has spent the past 15 years working on post-conflict and development issues. Four of those years was spent in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, where she realized that aid wasn’t the absolute answer and the private sector wasn’t entirely evil. Today she works to support entrepreneurs in the developing world. Elmira is writing a book about these experiences. She hopes to become a yoga teacher and spend a season following the New York Mets.

Elmira’s contributions to expat+HAREM



British-born interior designer Figen Çakır lives in Turkey with her husband and two children dividing her time between developing an online venue for creativity and fostering a love of Turkish fiber and traditional arts.

Figen’s contributions to expat+HAREM



Born and raised in Japan, Deborah Davidson has been translating professionally for over thirty years; everything from patents and business contracts to Ainu folklore and the novels of best-selling Japanese author Miura Ayako. Her passions include books, creative cookery, and the Japanese folk art known as Etegami.

Debbie’s contributions to expat+HAREM



Crafting an art and writing practice while nesting abroad, Rose Deniz is the curator and moderator behind Dialogue2010 hosted at expat+HAREM. Through her blog, short fiction, illustrations, and podcasts, Rose merges the homespun sensibilities of a Wisconsin upbringing with a vibrant hybrid family life in Izmit, Turkey, where she can be found tied up with embroidery thread while writing her first novel.

Rose’s contributions to expat+HAREM



Jocelyn never thought that China would be anything beyond one memorable year of teaching English. But after that year, she abandoned teaching for writing, pursued fluency in Mandarin Chinese, and, later, walked down the aisle with a Chinese national in Shanghai. She has also lived in Hangzhou and Zhengzhou, and traveled extensively in China, from Anhui to Zhejiang. A freelance writer and Chinese translator, Jocelyn explores China through the unique perspective of a yangxifu (the foreign wife of a Chinese national, that is), such as reminiscing on that moment when her Chinese mother-in-law told her to have children — sooner. Her blog, Speaking of China, is featured in the Global Post.

Jocelyn’s contributions to expat+HAREM



Veteran American expat Jennifer Eremeeva has called Moscow home for almost two decades. After jobs in tourism, travel, hotels, and investment banking, Jennifer settled down happily to write at home. Her monthly humor and cooking columns appear in Russia Beyond The Headlines, distributed together with Le Figaro, The Washington Post and the UK Telegraph, and her work has also appeared on numerous blog forums. She is currently at work on her first book, trying to figure out how Twitter works, and writes a blog about the funnier side of life in Russia, Dividing My Time, which refers to her long-held dream to split her time between Moscow and Northampton, Massachusetts. To contact Jennifer click here.

Jennifer’s contributions to expat+HAREM



Virginia Guneyli teaches post-colonial literature, English as a second language, and English composition at St. Charles Community College in St. Charles, Missouri, where she lives with her husband and son. She previously taught at the American School Foundation in Mexico City and Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Illinois. Currently, she is working on a novel based on her experiences as an expatriate in Mexico.

Virginia’s contributions to expat+HAREM



Madeline Jhawar has lived in 5 different countries and has tried to learn 6 different languages but currently only speaks 3. She added a couple more cultures to the mix when she got married and hopes her children embrace the undefined or the ill-defined otherwise they may end up confused. By day she designs itineraries for travelers to Italy.

Madeline’s contributions to expat+HAREM



is a nomad technical writer melting technology and communication in the Asian pot. Born in Japan, lived in Taiwan and Europe, was reborn as a TCK (third culture kid), moved back to Taiwan as ATCK (adult third culture kid). Blogs, reads books, writes haiku, watches ’80s music videos.

Isao’s contributions to expat+HAREM



Sezin Koehler is a half American half Sri Lankan novelist, blogger, photographer and fairy talker who finds herself plunked down in the icy land of Prague. As a Third Culture Kid she has lived in Sri Lanka, Zambia, Thailand, Pakistan, India, California, Switzerland, France, Spain, Turkey and the Czech Republic. Sezin’s first novel, American Monsters, was launched in 2010 as well as the hybrid/MONSTER sideshow photography exhibit she founded and curates. A member of the inaugural Dialogue2010 as well as the hybrid/AMBASSADORS blog ring, Sezin spends her online time connecting with people via Twitter as well as chatting about the things that catch her fancy, like horror films and books, Lady Gaga, culture, politics and human rights issues.

Sezin’s contributions to expat+HAREM



Sarah is an American food blogger living in Israel, interested in food history and culture. After years of working in biotechnology, she left her career to become head chef of her family kitchen. When she isn’t researching ancient recipes or cooking weird foods for her family, she’s probably off exploring the local outdoor markets. Her other hobbies include hiking, foraging for edible wild plants and photography.

Sarah’s contributions to expat+HAREM



Briget Murphy is a writer and photographer who flew to Turkey after seeing an ad for an English tutor in Craigslist. She’s presently in Iowa working on a book of Istanbul street photographs taken by expats, and writing another book about the history of halos in art. Briget is always seeking new adventures and learning experiences and has an intense interest in other cultures.

Briget’s contributions to expat+HAREM



is an inspirational rebel who delights in challenging the status quo. She teaches life shops on how to get out of your rut, writes inspirational essays, sings “big” songs at karaoke nights and kicks conventional butt in her small town. She biked across Italy on her most recent international adventure and plans to visit Bhutan in the near future to learn more about their gross national happiness. To read her rebellious posts, visit Giulietta at

Giulietta’s contributions to expat+HAREM



Originally from Chicago, Chantal Panozzo arrived in Switzerland in 2006, relieved to discover a country where people can actually pronounce her name. Her essays and articles have appeared everywhere from The Christian Science Monitor to Swiss News, where she writes the monthly “Expat Adventure” column. She has also served as a correspondent for National Geographic’s, been commissioned to write and perform a corporate drama for World Radio Switzerland, and her essays have appeared in several best-selling anthologies. She is the founder of Writer Abroad, a blog about surviving (and thriving) as an international creative person. For more information, visit her website. To contact Chantal, click here.

Chantal’s contributions to expat+HAREM



I’m British and have spent 23 years in 5 countries, happily accompanying my husband wherever his oily career takes him. I recognise that I am more comfortable as a visible alien than an invisible one and have learned that the length of the journey is not inversely proportional to the effect it has. Developing a portable career as a writer, publisher, writer’s mentor and teacher, I wrote the book that coins the phrase Career in a Suitcase. Today I specialise in helping others to write their life stories and turn them into publishable books through a range of on and offline programs. Find me on

Jo’s contributions to expat+HAREM



Hilda Saffari is a film editor / mother/ blogger/ photographer/ dreamer juggling her multiple cultural personalities and life in London, England. She was born in Iran, and raised in France and the United States.

Hilda’s contributions to expat+HAREM



Rebecca Self is an American who’s given up her permanent residence in Lugano, Switzerland for life on the road for a while. She works globally in organizational development and talent management for multinationals and organizes the European Summit. You can find her personal blog at XpatAdventures.

Rebecca’s contributions to expat+HAREM



Living in the gaping hole between Britishness and everything Dutchified, Amanda van Mulligen is crazy paving her way through expat life. Her toughest job is raising her two little boys, instilling an Englishness in them that complements their dominant “Dutchness”. But she also writes. She writes about living in another country, about adapting to a new culture, about the trials and tribulations of expat life. About finding a new place in the world. You can find out more at The Writing Well and Letter from the Netherlands.

Amanda’s contributions to expat+HAREM



Silvana Vukadin-Hoitt is an activist currently developing the sustainable food movement in Colorado. The entrepreneur and aspiring writer grew up a Third Culture Kid and is most at home where diverse cultures intersect at a well laid out table.

Silvana’s contributions to expat+HAREM



Living northeast of Troy, across the Dardanelles from the Gallipolli peninsula, Irishwoman Catherine Yiğit lives in the shadow of an epic past. She moved to Turkey in 2001 and wonders where the time went. Writing began as an outlet but as her Turkish improved it became a vocation. Currently she is working on a non-fiction book about Çanakkale, a historic crossing-point between continents. She also runs a business specializing in editing the English of academic manuscripts, Skaian Gates English. Catherine blogs at the Skaian Gates and microblogs on Twitter.

Catherine’s contributions to expat+HAREM

Previous post:

Next post: