I’m an American expat from Georgia, living in the English countryside with my husband, whom I affectionately call “Brit Boy” or “Hubby”.
I’m an American expat from Georgia, living in the English countryside with my husband, whom I affectionately call “Brit Boy” or “Hubby”.
Hat tip: Euromight
Source: Myra Maimoh
Myra Maimoh, a smart and dynamic native of Cameroon, based in Germany seems to have a magnetic, almost magical pull to music not common for newcomers. Her genuine love for music together with genuine love for people, a trait which seems to be disappearing at these modern times are not only heard but felt in her music. It gets you dancing but also embraces you lovingly and whispers love to your soul in times of quiet. When asked how she describes her music, she said “my music is for dancing feet but also and especially for people with dreams, hopes, fears and worries”. “Answer’d Me” – her debut album is a truly multifarious 11 track piece covering a wide spectrum of modern R&B/Soul/Pop with some Afro influence.The difficulty in finding a known name as a tag or label for her combined with a truly authentic and grounded persona, such convincing, deep, but still yet a new-to-the-scene craft style is the best evidence of true and unique talent.
Even at the tender age of 6 years, Myra Maimoh would create her own “orchestra” with kids in her neighborhood getting them play mostly percussive instruments (read empty food cans and sticks) with her of course as the main vocalist in the middle. This happened quite often, the reasons for it being her convincing musicality already manifesting at that age. Her singing would bring neighbors out of their houses over and over, and not to scold but to listen and enjoy. She was a kind of moving, singing machine which her brothers could not always stop. After singing all the songs she had in her head, she would improvise and sing. The improvised songs were of course unknown to her brothers, so, they did not find it funny at all and therefore came up with a term, “forming” as a way of teasing her.
“Forming “actually meant “formed songs” or “created melodies” and of course created melodies were not to be sung since they were not known to any human apart from Myra. Each time she got in to the “improvise mood”, they would scream, “forming, forming”, urging her to stop singing since that could easily go on all day long. If there are people who have experienced life in almost all its colors and especially not the best colors, Myra Maimoh certainly belongs to them. She is extremely adventurous, philosophic (a bigger mind), spiritual, deep, loving and sensitive . Traits well reflected by her music. Before getting into this fresh, great, inspiring and very promising working relationship with Hitsmith Producer, Mbachi Halle (writer, Producer and Engineer of “Answer’d Me”, also of same origin Bamenda, Cameroon); they had long talks about working together with her always enthusiastically expressing her deepest wish – to create albums of extravagant and genuine musicality while completely leaving out the pressure of doing what others do. That request was answered – “Answer’d Me”.
Myra Maimoh grew up in a big, Christian family in Bamenda with her mother being her greatest musical influence not by singing and dancing as we all might assume, no – that lady shopped records!! She shopped anything that sounded great like Skeeter Davies, James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, African blues and throughout the spectrum from country music, traditional African music to jazz and pop. Myra started singing and dancing while still in preschool at the age of 3, being what she would easily do all day. She wrote her first set of songs and stories at the age of 13, examples being “It’s not too late”, “Life is short”, “Aberni ma Papa” and “Our Lord is always there”. “It’s not too late” later became a hit song interpreted by the Cherubic Queens, a very successful Cameroonian girl band in which she sang. She joined the Cherubic Queens at age 15, wrote and performed with them 3 years long. Myra has had an extremely intensive and extensive musical career ranging from singing and dancing with group – Crystalz, which won many inter-college awards for best performances. She was crowned Miss Coca Cola 1998 and 2001, a Coca Cola sponsored competition of arts. Every competition she took part in was almost always sure to end with her winning awards for best song, poem or performance. From 2001 till 2005, Myra Maimoh was not only a high profile studio vocalist recording in some of the country´s greatest studios for the greatest artists, she was among the most hired doing everything from background vocals, lead vocals to jingles for national and private radio stations.
For the past 5 years, she’s been living in Germany and has completed her International Business Administration degree program. Throughout this period, her musical activities consisted of live group performances, lead singing in choirs, solo performances and studio vocalist till the beginning of 2010 as she joined the Hitsmith family. The vocal recordings were completed May ending after an intensive working period with sessions often as long as 12 hours leaving her creep out of the studio at the end…. Well, still singing though! She lived at the Hitsmith Studios and the team described the time with her as feeling like Christmas even though it was such hard work. Mbachi Halle (Producer/ Writer & Engineer of “Answer’d Me”) was often heard saying ” If every other artist I work with would be like Myra Maimoh, I must have the best job in the world.”
In a nutshell, I’m a Canadian expat living in Scotland by way of Japan. This blog is about my experiences living abroad and my life as a woman and a wife. For a time, I anticipated writing about being a mother, but sadly that dream ended on 17th May 2010 when I went into premature labour and delivered a daughter, Isla. This is about what happens next.
Hat tip: Euromight
Wie allgemein erwartet wurde, hat sich Lydia Obute bei “Austria’s Next Topmodel” durchgesetzt. Die 17-jährige Wienerin wurde am Sonntag von der Puls 4-Jury als Gewinnerin der TV-Casting-Show auserkoren. Im Finale der letzten Zwei hat sich Lydia letztendlich gegen Katharina Theuermann (16) aus Kärnten durchgesetzt. “Ich bin total aus dem Häuschen”, sagte die Wienerin mit nigerianischen Wurzeln in einer ersten Reaktion.
Moderatorin Lena Gercke begründet die Entscheidung folgendermaßen: “Lydia ist von Anfang an durch ihre offene und sehr selbstbewusste Art aufgefallen. Sie hat die Bodenständigkeit, das Charisma und die Beweglichkeit eines Topmodels. Sie ist extrem wandelbar und überzeugt jeden mit ihrer unglaublichen Ausstrahlung.”
Zehn Wochen lang mussten sich vierzehn Modelanwärterinnen in Catwalks, Fotoshootings und Castings beweisen. Insgesamt hatten sich laut Puls4 4.500 junge Frauen aus ganz Österreich beworben. Letztlich stiegen vier Kandidatinnen ins Finale auf. Dort musste zunächst Darija Gavric (23) aus Wien die Sendung verlassen. In der zweiten Entscheidung traf es Romana Gruber (24) aus Tirol.
Katharina und Lydia waren die letzten ZweiNur der allerletzte Catwalk in Kleidern von Designer und Juror Atil Kutoglu wurde vor Publikum absolviert und laut Puls 4 live aus den Wiener Rosenhügel-Studios gesendet – mit einem Auftritt der Sängerin Victoria S., die den Titelsong der Show präsentierte. Bei der abschließenden finalen Entscheidung schien auf der Bühne das Coverfoto mit dem Bild der Gewinnerin auf: eine strahlende Lydia auf dem Cover von Woman.
Zur Person: Lydia Obute
Davor wurde ausschließlich aufgezeichnetes Material gezeigt: mehrere Catwalks vor der Finaljury und ein Fotooshooting auf der Bühne mit Hubertus von Hohenlohe. Im Unterschied zu manch kritischen Bewertungen in den letzten Wochen, blieb in der Finalshow ausschließlich Platz für Lob und gute Laune.
Kenner der Modelbranche hatten ihr von Anfang an die Favoritenrolle zugedacht, der rassistische Ausraster einer Konkurrentin brauchte sie also gar nicht zu tangieren. Die 17-jährigen Lydia, Wienerin mit afrikanischen Wurzeln, galt als schönstes Mädchen bei “Austria’s next Topmodel” auf Puls 4.
Schon vor “Austria’s next Topmodel” hatte die Schülerin Erfahrungen in der Modelbranche gemacht, etwa mit Modeschauen für den Designer Thang de Hoo. Ihre Eltern allerdings würden sie lieber als Ärztin sehen. Lydias Kompromissvorschlag: Schönheitschirurgin.
In Deutschland wurde übrigens mit der damals 19-jährigen Münchnerin Sara Nuru bereits vor zwei Jahren eine dunkelhäutige junge Frau zum “Topmodel” gekürt.
From Lisa Mitchell
A Guide to Expat Banking
1) Q – What is the single most important aspect of financial services that an expat should know once they have accepted an international assignment?
A – Take care of your financial services pre-departure. Do not wait until you have arrived in your new host country to determine how you are going to receive your financial compensation and fulfill your new host country and remaining home country financial obligations.
Investigate whether your current financial institution has a dedicated expatriate division or a special program for expatriates. If not, consider either switching financial institutions or opening new bank accounts for the duration of your international assignment. You do not want to find out at 3:00 a.m. on a holiday weekend after you or a family member has met with some misfortune that your bank in your home country cannot provide assistance to you in an emergency.
Take the time to do research on local banks in your new host country. Use any pre-visits or house-hunting trips to inquire at local banks about services for expats, foreign nationals and non-permanent residents.
Do not automatically assume that if you already bank with a global bank that banking in your host country will be the same as banking at home. Most often, banks are subject to local restrictions and may require different procedures than you are accustomed to at home.
2) Q – What should an expat know about using ATM and debit cards overseas?
A – Before leaving for any travel overseas, it always a good idea to check the functionality of your ATM and debit card.
ATM card – An ATM card will allow you to withdraw money from ATMs globally, depending on your ATM/Debit Card’s network participation-usually the information for accepted networks will be on the back of your ATM card. Before you leave for your overseas trip, it is a good idea to know your daily withdrawal limit (generally in the U.S. it is $300-$1,000 USD). Be sure to check with your financial institution on whether your withdrawal limit is per calendar day (generally Sunday through Saturday) or per business day (generally Monday through Friday). Friday, Saturday and Sunday are separate calendar days, but are generally considered as only one business day. If you were faced with an emergency or needed a large amount of money during the weekend, it could be difficult to access your funds.
Debit cards – Debit cards also have POS (point of sale) daily limits-restrictions on how much you can spend per day. Your current limits may not be high enough to meet all your financial needs for settling into your new home country. This is of particular concern if you are moving to a country where your currency is weak against your new host country currency, e.g., USD vs. Euro.
Be aware that for ATM/debit usage, you may only have access to your primary account which is usually your checking account. If you keep most of your money in another type of account, be sure that you can easily transfer funds between accounts while you are overseas.
In addition to daily withdrawal limits, some foreign countries also have withdrawals limits on ATM machines, which may differ from your daily withdrawal limit from your bank.
PIN – Make sure you know your Personal Identification Number (PIN) both numerically and alphabetically.
Often ATMs in certain countries do not have keys that display both numbers and letters. Also some countries only allow a 4-digit PIN code while in other countries it can be a 4 to 6 digit PIN code. Be sure to check the PIN code status of ATMs in the country you are moving to and ensure that you have the ability to change your PIN remotely, via telephone or Internet, in case of identify theft or fraud while you are overseas.
3) Q – How can I ensure that I am getting the best foreign exchange rate?
A – Many expats read the financial newspapers and do not understand why they do not receive the same rate of foreign exchange. What expats don’t realize is that foreign exchange rates quoted in financial publications are based on large trade volumes and do not accurately reflect the rates given to individuals. Also, printed newspapers do not reflect real time and foreign exchange rates change from second to second. To gain the most favorable exchange rate, it is best to use your ATM or debit card as you will receive the internal bank-to-bank rate. Also, many banks also charge an additional foreign currency conversion fee.
4) Q – Why is it difficult for expats to open a bank account in a foreign country?
A – Since 9/11, most countries have enacted tighter regulations regarding business with foreign nationals. For financial institutions that has meant requiring more documentations to open a bank account. When opening a bank account in a foreign country, at a minimum, expats should be prepared to have on hand:
Government identification (i.e., passport and driver’s license)
One bank reference or current bank statement from your local bank
A letter from your employer including length of employment, duration of assignment in foreign country and salary/other compensation (especially if applying for credit)
Proof of address in home and host country
5) Q – Can I still use online banking for all my banking needs?
A – Be sure to check the functionality of your bank’s online banking service.
Remember that online banking is usually country specific and will provide service for where your accounts are domiciled. This means that online banking in the US may only provide service for your US bank accounts and not any bank accounts held overseas. The Bill Pay function is usually also country specific meaning that you may not be able to use your US Bill Pay feature to pay a bill in a foreign country.
Also check to see if there are any transactional limits on account to account transfers, bill payments or wire transfers.
6) Q – Why is it difficult for expats to obtain credit in certain countries, especially in the US?
A – From a banking perspective, foreign nationals new to a country without a credit or work history in the country are generally viewed as more of a risk than local customers. While some countries have established credit bureaus and can provide their citizens with a credit history, a foreign credit history does not usually transfer across countries, and most banks are not familiar with how to interpret a foreign credit report. As a result, an expat new to a country, and applying for credit, such as a credit card, may experience difficulties.
Again, expats should establish their financial needs pre-departure and find a bank that can provide appropriate financial solutions to their financial needs.
7) Q – What is one of the biggest mistakes that expats make in terms of financial services?
A – Closing their banking relationship with their home country financial institution. Expats usually think they will not have a need for a financial relationship with their home country, but very few expats are ever able to fully cut ties with their home country, especially financially. As banking laws change frequently, an expat may not be able to get a bank account in their home country easily again after living abroad for a long period of time.
If an expat expects to receive home country payments from rental property or investments, or if there is a family member that relies on financial assistance from the expat, ties should never be severed with the home country financial institution.
8) Q – What should an expat know about transferring money between the home and host country?
A – Moving money across borders is a key issue for expats. Unfortunately most expats think they can rely solely on their ATM or debit card to obtain funds, not thinking that emergencies may arise that could exceed their ATM/debit card withdrawal limit.
Few banks will accept telephone instructions for funds transfers because they cannot verify the identity of the caller and will not authorize the transfer unless they are face to face with the customer and can verify the customer’s identification and signature.
If you are an expat living outside your home country the usual procedure of going to the branch and completing a funds transfer form and showing appropriate identification is not feasible.
Neither is mailing a funds transfer request to the bank from a foreign location. A friend or family member may not know the quickest, cheapest and most reliable method to send money. In other cases, an expat may not want to give a family member power of attorney over financial transactions, or the expat may find themselves in a sensitive situation, such as being incarcerated, where they don’t want to ask friends or relatives to handle their finances.
9) Q – Should I rely on my company to take care of all my financial services needs?
A – No. Even if assistance with financial services is part of your international relocation package, your company may have hired a financial services provider with whom you are not comfortable or does not fully understand the challenges in establishing banking services in a foreign country.
Also, be clear about what the international relocation package covers in terms of financial services. Some things to include would be reimbursement of wire transfers and ATM fees, and assistance beyond traditional banking products such as investments, retirement, savings for college, and insurance.
10) Q – How do I invest as a foreign national?
A – Countries generally have very specific regulations and products and services for foreign nationals regarding investments. Check with a local financial institution on guidelines. For investments in your home country, as with traditional banking products make sure that you can conduct your investment business remotely via telephone, email and the Internet to allow for time differences.
Lori van Echtelt from the Netherlands
One of the biggest causes of hair loss is stress. Stress caused by moving, loss of a job, death of a loved one, health problems, etc. can result in hair just laying all over the house. It is normal to lose 50 to 100 hairs per day. We also lose hair right after giving birth with the fluctuation in hormones. This is to be expected. This type of hair loss will immediately rectify itself once the hormonal balance returns to normal. So there is no need for concern. However stress will affect your adrenal glands. Your adrenal glands are little kidney like organs that sit right above your kidneys. These little powerhouse glands produce cortisol. Cortisol in excess sends your body into a fight/flight response. The adrenal glands produces 50 other hormones such as progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, etc. When you are under constant unrelenting high stress, this increased level of cortisol will affect your fertility, immune system, thyroid function over time. Stress is no laughing matter.
This is why it is important to be conscious of the stress that one is experiencing. If you feel that you have been under a heavy load of stress, that may be the cause of your hair loss. Do not despair, there are a couple of things that you can do:
Ask your doctor to test your cortisol levels. The best way is through a 24 hour urine test.
You can also take a look at your lifestyle. Which parts of your life needs a tune up? Are you a priority in your life? Martydom is so passe.
Do you feel utterly exhausted? How much sleep are you getting? What can you cut back on so that you can get yourself to a calm, peaceful state?
Are you eating lots of fried foods and foods high in sugar? Do you crave sugar? Try supplementing your diet with protein; lentils and mung beans are wonderful sources of protein. You can sprout them and add them to salads. Replace table salt with sea salt. Increase your intake of dark leafy vegetables. Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily. Take a multivitamin.
Breathe. Be aware of your breathing throughout the day.
Get a hobby to lower your stress levels.
Most important, slow down….we will often find that we can get everything done but at a slower relaxed place.
The benefit of the above practices will not only make you feel great but also stop the hair loss if stress is the cause.
I practice the above techniques and my nails are also loving the benefits.
Are you ready to Spring start your hair, please visit Mariposa Import, Europe’s First and Original web shop for people with curly and afro hair (www.mariposa-import.eu). We same day ship everywhere throughout Europe and out North America.
Love Your Hair!
Lori van Echtelt is the owner and founder of Mariposa Imports (MI), based in the Netherlands. She was on the Black Women in Europe™ 2010 Power List. Mariposa Import started in February 2004. It is the first and original shop focused on curly and frizzy hair in Western Europe. MI specializes in unique, high quality, hair and skin products from America and Afrika. We only sell products we ourselves use. The products we sell do not contain mineral oil or petrolatum, ingredients which block moisture absorption by the hair. We select products is based on our personal experience and that of our friends.
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Zhana is a writer, publisher and Transformational Growth Consultant. Author of Success Strategies for Black People and Black Success Stories.
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