About




 I’m a writer, mom, wife, pretend artist, and constant mover, jumping over continents like it’s hop scotch. Well. Not quite.  But sometimes it feels like that.  Really, it's just a fancy way of saying I'm an expat. 

…Which is kind of funny because I was the 13 year old girl who struggled moving from a very small farming town of 1,200 to a city with a high school of 1,200 students.  Since meeting my husband just after 9/11, I’ve lived on four continents, in five countries, mostly in bustling capital cities. 

It’s a fun adventure and cities are great, but you can never take the small town out of the girl.  Ever.

That doesn’t stop us from moving around, though, chasing pesky malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. Damn things.  My mosquito hunting husband, superhero daughter, and I live in Myanmar.  Not sure where that is?  It borders Thailand, Laos, Bangladesh, India, and China. (You can check-out more about this fascinating country here.)

This is my crazy little family:

When I’m not doing mommy stuff like having play dates and helping out (kinda) with Girl Scouts, I write children's picture books and free verse poetry.  I also have a go at mixed-media painting.


  

Random nuggets of info:


  • I laugh until I snort. Then I snort more.

  • I abhor bananas. And no. Abhor is not an exaggeration.

  • Glitter makes me happy.

  • My bones ache for the Pacific.

If you want to know more, check out this post

Keeping in touch:

In the meantime, I’ll keep you arm chair travelers (or expats thinking of moving to Myanmar!) posted about riding elephants, white sand beaches, the monsoons, and visiting ancient empires with 200 pagodas. 

I’ll also keep you updated on my writing adventures, querying agents, editing, finding retreats, and surely getting carpel tunnel one day from all the keyboard click-click-clicking!

Thanks for visiting us here!


30 comments:

  1. Hi Becky. How are you?

    I stumble on your blog in searching for a Burmese words for desert:)Anyway,it is a good thing, your blogs had open my eye on Myanmar generally.

    My name is Carol and i am from Malaysia, I'm originally from Sabah(Borneo)but working and living in Kuala Lumpur.Being engage to a Burmese gentleman and the wedding will be held next year in Kyauktan, i admitted i am a bit nervous to the how on earth is Myanmar look like. Reading on some of your blog just gave a different perspectives on the situation. I mean i have been to the other part of Indochina like Laos,Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam...never had a change to get my visa to enter the country on my last trip. I was disappointed but i guess am coming next year to complete my Indochina dream trip. Plus the wedding:)
    MY best friend(she is from Holland)are determine to go out on the road and explore the country. What would a fastest way to do so and what are the best option? We got like one week to do it as the wedding probably took a couple of days.

    Thank you.

    Carol Jim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Caroline,
      Thanks for your message! Congratulations on your engagement and so-to-happen marriage. ;)

      There are many places to explore in Myanmar. It's pretty big country and it's beautiful. Depending on your friend's budget and depending on how she prefers to travel, she may want to fly to different places within the country, especially since it's such a big place. What time of the year will you be coming? That will also impact where to go/what to bring, etc. because of the weather. If you come before the end of March, the weather should be good everywhere. It's very hot in April and May. Monsoons begin in June and end usually in October (but this year, they are still hanging on!).

      The top destinations are: Yangon; Bagan; Inle Lake; Mandalay; Ngapali Beach; Mrauk U (Rahkine State); and the Golden Rock. People also like to go to Pyin U Lwin up in the mountains where it is cooler. If you all like to trek/hike Kalaw is a place people like to go to. It's 22 miles of trails through mountains and hill tribe villages in the western part of Shan State. I think you can walk down to Inle Lake from here (unless I'm confused with a different trek/hike that takes a few days).

      I have not traveled a lot within Myanmar since I only moved here in April. I am not an expert. But hopefully this gives you a start! I would def travel to at least Bagan and Inle Lake. They're magic! :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks Becky for the quick reply.I am definitely looking forward to see Myanmar now:) My bbf and i would basically have to sit down and finalize the best location to go for such a limited time. Definitely listing on the destination you had mention.I'm a fan of semi-jungle trekking but i don't think i would have enough time to do so. Bagan and Inle would be the top choice.

      I heard the news about the devastating earthquake there,i hope you are not affected. My fiance call home today to ensure that the family are all right. Thank God his hometown just felt the shakes but no big damages.






      Delete
    3. Thank you for your concern re: the earthquake. We were very lucky in Yangon that we were not impacted at all. We continue to think about everyone up north. I am glad to hear that your boyfriend's family were OK!

      I hope you have a wonderful time in Myanmar. I'm sure that you will! :)

      Delete
    4. Good to hear that you and your family are alright Becky. Yes. I am looking forward for the trip i am going to make to Myanmar next year. Actually it would have been soon but my fiance and i decided to spend Chinese new year in Singapore instead. I guess i have to wait till the wedding then which is in December next year:)But who knows, maybe i change my mind and get on the plane for a quick laquerware shops:)If i do i will let you know. Maybe i can bring you some good cheddar cheese or good pasta sauce as well. I can imagine its probably difficult to get supply of western ingredients there:)By the way i enjoy sampling good food. I read your food section as well, definitely some good recommendation and look forward for more post. Cheers:)

      Delete
    5. Hi Caroline,
      Sorry it has taken me so long to respond!

      Would love to hear from you when you come to Myanmar and if you come before the big wedding, def let me know! So sweet of you to offer to bring good cheddar cheese or pasta sauce!

      I will remember your suggestion of writing up more on different recipes here. I had recently made a butterfish curry. Maybe I should do it again soon + take pics of the process. :-)

      Delete
  2. Hi Becky,

    I saw your blog and it is a lot of fun. I admire your spirit. A lot of great pictures too! We are a family of four (husband and two boys - 4 years and 16 months) moving to Yangon in January - initially for 6 months but possibly for 3 years, which I will know in March. We are super excited and it is great to read all the information you provide. We have previously lived in Thailand and other places before we had kids and while I have never been to Burma I have worked with many communities from Burma. I certainly can do Mingalaba! This is the first time we move with kids outside of Europe (currently in Geneva). We have found a place for our eldest son so that is fine, for our youngest we will have to see once we get there. BUT I am also being totally cheeky and contacting you for help if possible. Deperate situations require desperate measures! I apologise on beforehand for bothering you with this question: We are looking for a place to live which will not cost us an exhorbitant amount. I understand that prices have skyrocketed due to the increasing demand.... My office is looking into possibilities but they are not able to faciliate it fully for various reasons and my organisaiton does not provide accommodation, unfortunately. We need a two bedroom and could even get by with a one bedroom if that is easier, apartment or house does not matter preferably furnished for any period up to 6 months. I know about the serviced apartments and we are looking into these through my office but the first offer I got was 300 USD a night at Sakura for a two bedroom and that is not sustainble for the long run if we are also to eat something ;-)) So, if you hear or know of anyone wanting to let their apartment or house or even share, and if you have any tips for us please advice. I would be most grateful. I also understand if you do not want to entertain this query.
    All the best
    Maja

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Maja,
      Thank you for your message! Sorry it has taken me awhile to get back to you.

      I am happy to help in any way that I can. I know that housing is def an ongoing problem and it seems to be getting worse, sadly. A lot of the prices do depend on where you live (well, sometimes...you can have two houses next to eachother that are very similar but renting for $1,000 difference. That's not a joke).

      The things I would recommend that you consider are: where your four year old will be going to school and how far that is from your office. If the school and your office aren't too far from each other, then I think it's perfectly OK to live a bit further out (we do) if you have a car. (Will they be providing transport for you? I certainly hope so!)

      I'm assuming that your organization provides a housing allowance? I hope?! If not....eek!

      I am more than happy to talk more to you about this privately if you want...I doubt the sort of questions I am going to ask you'd want to answer in this public space. :-) My email is: beckyinburma at gmail dot com. You can also go to my Facebook page and send me a message there.

      Also a bit about the serviced apartments: most have wait lists, I'm afraid. Personally, I wouldn't really recommend Sakura, but a lot of people stay there. And they do have a lot of kids and a very nice pool! I think their 2 beds run about $2,400 a month. And they're small.

      I am also going to suggest checking out the new website: whatsonyangon.com It's a brand-new community website and you can post questions there.

      There are many flats/apartments. Downtown tends to be cheaper, I hear. Anyway, once you get here, will your organization pay for your accommodation until you find a place to stay? If so, then I suggest taking your time to find a place. Also, more and more people may be willing to split the rent on a house. Everything here is done through an agent that helps you find a place to live...

      Anyway...email me some info and I can help in any way I can!

      All the best!

      Delete
    2. Hi Becky,

      Thank you so much for getting back to me and for your support. I have been running around in preparation for departure, Christmas and what not... There are just not enough hours in the day. I am afraid that Sakura is what we got and it's a one bedroom and it's 4,500 per month (!)... That was what was avaiable. I will write to you on your private e-mail address tonight and later this week.

      Congratulations on the gold prize!

      All the best
      Maja

      Delete
    3. OMG. That is amazing/crazy/stunning re: Sakura! I will keep my fingers + toes crossed that you will find something else when the time come. Eek!

      Whenever you are ready you can write. Thank you for the congrats on the prize. Very sweet + kind of you!

      Delete
  3. Hi Becky!

    So glad to have found your blog. I'm a Kiwi and have been in Myanmar, along with my folks, for three months now. We are finally starting to feel settled in. Would be awesome to maybe meet you in person one day. Your art and poetry are amazing and very inspiring. :)

    Marisa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Marisa! Thanks for reaching out and leaving a comment.

      I'd be more than happy to meet-up with you for a coffee. :) You can email me at: beckyinburma at gmail dot com

      :)

      Thanks for your kind words and welcome to Myanmar!

      Delete
  4. Hey there! What is this about "pretend" artist; you better get to work and change that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! Thanks, Kerry. Nah, I think I still feel like a pretend artist. lol And I haven't been painting very much since moving here. Only one or two paintings in the last six months. Still need to finish one of them, even. :) I suppose I need to give a little more time to that, too. But I find it hard to write AND paint. Strange, isn't it.

      Delete
  5. Dear Becky,

    I just discovered your blog. It's very well done, full of interesting stories and nice tips.
    And indeed, tips are exactly what I'm looking for.
    I'm a french journalist visiting Burma for a story about how the things are moving there. I'll arrive tomorow, the 1st january, in Yangon for an 18 days trip. I'm looking for people who could help me to better understand this place. And you seem to be exactly the good person.
    Do you think it could be possible to have a drink and discuss about Burma ?
    I can't send you an email but you'll find my contact on my website : www.media-reporter.com
    Looking forward to meet you.
    Best regards,

    Romain

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Romain,

      Hope you are well. :) I sent an email to you through your website...hopefully you received it. I am back in Yangon now + would be more than happy to meet-up for a coffee.

      Cheers + Happy New Year!

      Delete
  6. Dear Becky,

    Greetings! I came across your blog when I was searching for resources on Yangon/Myanmar. I hope you don't mind my emailing you out of the blue.

    I am a Philippines and US trained lawyer who will be assigned by a Singapore-based firm to its Yangon office in a couple of weeks [most likely, the third week of January]. While I am excited and upbeat about the prospects of Myanmar with the political and economic developments going on, I am, of course, a bit anxious of the posting, because of the very little information on how life is in the city. I will be staying in the Firm's villa located about 8 minutes by car from the office, and this office, meanwhile, is located at the Kyauktada Township.

    If you have time, I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on life in Yangon, particularly, food, transportation and the general environment of these two places where I will most frequent during my stay in the city. Are there any health or other tips that I ought to know and for which I can properly prepare for while I am still en route to the city? Medicines/vaccines I should get, appliances that I should purchase, etc.?

    Thanks in advance, and I look forward to maybe meeting you when I reach Yangon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Pedro Jose,
      I hope you find this email. I'm sorry it has taken me over a week to reply to you.

      Welcome - almost - to Yangon!

      Kyauktada Township is downtown, so you ought to be able to be near lots of places, which is great. Downtown Yangon isn't like Singapore or even Bangkok, but it has a cool vibe to it. You just have to look past certain things, or choose to find the beauty there. There's a plethora of old, beautiful architecture which is just screaming to be restored. Some of it is.

      I would be happy to help provide information about life in Yangon. This will be quite short to start, but feel free to email me at beckyinburma at gmail dot com and I will spend a bit more time, going a little more in depth.

      Food:
      There are lots of good restaurants, but local and international. Myanmar food is good: it's kind of like a toned down version of Indian or Thai. There is a large supermarket chain called CityMart where most expats go to get brands/foods they're more familiar with. You can get most things, really and the the branch on Damazhedi Road is lovely and new.

      Transport:
      There are a lot of taxis and you'd be surprised how well you can get around with English: much better than in Bangkok, for example. Still, I'd recommend that you download Yangon Taxi app on iTunes. It's a great app that can help you. Also, be sure to have someone write down your home + office address in Myanmar script to give to taxis just as extra help.

      Health:
      The main thing to be concerned about is dengue fever. The type of mozzie that carries Dengue feeds from about 6-8am and 4-6pm. Be sure to wear repellent at those times.

      Vaccines: I would check out the CDC.GOV website for the vaccinations recommended for Myanmar + be sure to have those. :) (center for disease control in the usa)

      Meds - If you are in the US and have access to Immodium or Pepto Bismol, I would bring some of that because of course, it will be quite easy to get diarrheal infections while here. Never drink tap water or even rinse your toothbrush in it.

      Medical care: I have certain prescriptions I take, so I just got a year supply at home and brought them here, but you can buy most medications/antibiotics over the counter here. Many expats go to the International SOS clinic for medical care as there is a good English speaking expat physician there. He is prompt to refer you to Bangkok for anything that isn't minor + can't be resolved in Yangon. The advice is that if you're ever uncertain about the care you're getting here, go to Bangkok or Singapore where there are great medical facilities. Thankfully, Bangkok is just an hour flight away.

      I hope this helps a little - I know I only touched the surface. Please feel free to email me with additional questions!

      Delete
  7. Becky,

    Loving every time I take a moment to check on you!!!

    Becky RedBarn(BRB)
    http://www.beckyredbarn.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello Becky,

    I am looking on the internet to gather practical information for my holiday next month to Burma. I have 2 questions:
    1. I read on different sites that ATM's are now present in Burma, this is a good thing of course. But can I pay everything with Kyat or do I hotels and travel agent only accept USD? I will take USD with me but rather prefer to keep this to a comfortable amount.
    2. The past few weeks the news on Burma is about riots and even parts of Yagon are disadvised by the US embassy. But how bad is the situation? Based on the current situation I do not see problems in visiting the (4) high lights of Burma.

    Ruben

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Ruben,

      Thanks for reaching out. I hope that I can answer your questions.

      1. You can pay either in Kyat or USD. Either is fine. :)
      2. I think I would keep looking at your country consulate's website for advice. In Yangon, outbreaks of violence were pretty much contained to specific townships. Expats/foreigners aren't targeted. There are always certain areas of Myanmar that are ill-advised to travel to. Be sure to stick to that advice given by the US Embassy or other country consulates. Having said that, travel to major tourist areas like Inle Lake, the beach, Bagan, etc. should be just fine. I think where you may want to be a bit more careful is taking public transport, like buses. If you go by plane, I suspect that you would avoid potential hazards on the road if traveling through certain areas where there is unrest.

      Having said all of this, I am by no means a security expert. Yet, I do live here and at least for many people living in Yangon, business is as usual(sadly). It's hard to predict how things can go, but I suspect just as quickly as there are flare-ups, things can calm down, depending on the area and the conflict, of course.

      Please let me know if you have other questions. You can always email me also. :)

      Delete
  9. Hi - I see you just published a book on moving to Burma. I was born in Burma in the 50's and my family lived there for 8 years in Rangoon and Pyinmina. I am hoping to visit there next year with my son. I grew up TCK and went overseas as an adult as well. I had marital problems that ultimately ended in divorce but I stayed until I was back in the US and more financially stable. It is a very difficult question. I saw many breakups while living in Moscow, Russia and it is never easy. All I can say is you need a strong support system. I will look forward to reading your book. You might want to check mine out since the beginning is about Burma many years ago... Expat Alien, My Global Adventures.
    Cheers, Kathleen

    ReplyDelete
  10. Dear Kathleen,
    Thank you so much for reaching out. I will buy your book - it looks fascinating! Thank you also for sharing your experiences with marriage and also what you saw as an expat. I'm quite astonished by the silence that seems to surround this issue, even though it's fairly common knowledge. Given that, it's a shame there aren't resources out there to help.

    Thank you again for reaching out! So lovely to talk with other expat writers. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Dear Becky,
    I came about your blog while searching for anything about Myanmar. My husband is an expat in Myanmar for 2 years now. We decided to stay where we are, that's a college girl, a 5th grader and I) because we were not so sure of the educational system there. He goes home every April which is the water festival. I wish to visit Yangon soon although my husband keeps on complaining about the on and off status of the electricity there. He said the kids would complain about it and the slow internet connection...oh well, I'm quite intrigue as we live in a fast paced life and I want a laid back, less technology and mall kind of life and we plan to visit in December. Is it s good time then? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Dear Becky,

    Hope all is well. I was searching for expats blogging about living in Myanmar and came across your site. Thanks much for the tips on “How to Survive Packing”. I have a few more questions regarding the move if you don’t mind. Can you tell me which city in USA you moved from? Also, please let me know if you used any moving companies to ship your items from US to Myanmar as well as the estimated cost if you don’t mind sharing.

    My husband and I are looking to relocate back to Yangon/ Burma later this year end, so any info you can provide is greatly appreciated. We’d also like to meet up with you when we arrive if you don’t mind. To tell you a bit about ourselves: I was born in Burma, but have lived in New York for the last 13 years where I met and married my husband of 3 years. I do have families in Yangon, but we are also looking to connect with some of the expats living in Myanmar since my husband will be a stranger to this Golden Land while I am more of a native to the country. Thanks much in advance!

    Best Regards,
    Kathy

    ReplyDelete
  13. you've been nominated for the Liebster award! http://bagladylulu.com/blog/

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hello Becky, maybe you like my movie. It's a really nice project.
    What is the project about ?
    Myanmar Goes Democrazy is a documentary about the ostensible change in acountry which suffered a military dictatorship for 60 years.
    This country is Myanmar also known as Burma.
    In November 2010 the first “democratic elections “ in decades took place.
    On the 1st of April 2012 reelections became necessary. Currently the country again faces a huge turning point in its history. Scepticism and Euphoria go hand in hand in daily life.
    We accompany 8 people from different social backgrounds and get to know their daily life and biographies. As there is a reporter who shows us her way to freedom of speech, astudent who was forced to flee from Burma, a monch who was condemned to house detention.
    In 90 minutes MGD confronts us with further subtile but striking stories about the lifes of people between past and present. Their struggle to fit their repressed biographies into a freedom yet to be gained.
    Democracy is one step ahead, but but hopes and fears of the people need to be heard.

    Here you can watch the Trailer:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C52ifP9ft-U&feature=youtu.be

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hello,

    My name is Amanda Roberts and I am the author of the blog Two Americans in China. I found your blog and contact information through Expats Blog. I am the author of Crazy Dumplings, a fun food fusion cookbook that was funded throughKickstarter. My dream, though, is to write a cookbook written specifically for expats about how to cook foods and dishes from their home country in their new adopted country using ingredients that can be found locally. However, my only experiences cooking abroad are in China, so I thought it would be a good idea to get information from the worldwide expat audience. I would love to hear about your experiences cooking abroad. Please click the following link to take my survey. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3DKT52R (Works best if using Google Chrome.) I will include a link to the blog of everyone who responds and helps me out in the book.

    Thank you so much for your assistance, and I look forward to hearing from you!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hello! My name is Jennifer Wolfe and I work on a very popular international travel series that documents adventurous individuals’, couples’ and families’ experiences as they make the decision to move abroad. This series is a great opportunity to tell your story and share more about what you like/dislike about your new home. If you think that you or someone you know could be a fit for the show, or if you’d like to get more information, please contact me at JenniferWolfe@LeopardUSA.com. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi! I am Nerissa, a Filipino living in Italy.
    We just started a website dedicated to the lives of all those living in a country other than the one where they were born. Thru PeopleAbroad.org we intend to increase connections, awareness, and understanding among people.
    We would like to ask you to contribute as an author to the website by writing even one single post with photos and/or videos about the region of the world you live in. Your post can be externally linked to your personal websites, blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter account, and/or anything else you like, in order to promote your own activity.
    If possible, we would also like you to write your story (bio - where you live and how you decided to live your life abroad) – example: https://www.peopleabroad.org/nerissa-filipino-living-in-italy/.
    To become an author, it is not necessary to live in a different country from where you were born, but simply to know a bit of the world by having lived, studied, or traveled abroad.
    Please, sign up to our website at https://www.peopleabroad.org/register/ and send all your files with things you would like to share (your story or your posts) by email to people(at)peopleabroad(dot)org. In case of big files, send them by WETRANSFER.
    Since this website is still under construction, we do not have yet made it available to search engines for indexation. So, to access it, just type www.PeopleAbroad.org.
    We are just starting and that is why your help is essential. We would love to see you onboard!
    All the best,
    Nerissa
    PeopleAbroad.org

    ReplyDelete

Messages that are negative or mean or hurtful or political will be deleted; so play nice. This is meant to be a happy place. :-)