June 19, 2020
black man in white shirt posing in studio. Designing your expat life
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Nothing gives me more pleasure than speaking with people who have high aspirations and then go on to smash these goals and forge for themselves the kind of lives they envision. Colin is one of those people. This podcast and post has him telling me about growing up as an outsider of sorts, being a child of immigrants and going on to work for huge companies before striking out on his own. I also update on Valencia as we go into the final phase in just a few days.

Designing Your Best Expat Life – Colin In China

Designing your expat life family with masks on
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Designing your expat life family with masks on
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Keeping away those germs, family style.

Colin Thompson is the founder of Oligye Enterprises, a Relocation, expat life and cross cultural awareness coaching company. Colin lives in Shanghai, China with his family. Being there at the start of the pandemic gave him a special insight to the situation, not to mention fear for his toddler son. Born to Jamaican parents and growing up in Canada, and then Kentucky, he felt like a fish out of water in his youth. I had a great time talking to him. I apologise for the lengthy interview, but I’m not really sorry. I wanted to hear it. :-)
designing your expat life- colin giving a lecture
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designing your expat life- colin giving a lecture
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Doing what he loves best. Coaching.

Highlights of the Designing your best expat life podcast include:

  • Kentucky life as a kid and seeing how the other half lived.
  • Feeling insecure because of a speech impediment as a youngster.
  • Following in the footsteps of his siblings, and why he wanted to :-).
  • Changing gears as far as studies, thanks to a professor.
  • Being part of the Mentorship program for Ernst & Young.
  • Moving on to work for IBM for many years.
  • Being in the minority in his working environment.
  • What finally made him strike out on his own and the reaction of his wife.
  • Eerie beginnings of the Covid-19 pandemic in China and how the government handled it.
  • Gathering coaches to step in and volunteer  for the public service announcements on the pandemic. (30 x 30)
  • His new program born from that, the 40 x 40 initiative.
  • Why the pandemic might be a great opportunity to pivot and design a new life.
  • Advice for others contemplating life overseas and steps to accomplish it.

Listen to the podcast here:

You can find Colin Thompson here:
Other podcasts of interest:

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Black man in studio white shirt and jeans on chair
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Update  on Valencia Spain Life:

 

Valencia Spain plaza with pope statue and pink building
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Valencia Spain plaza with pope statue and pink building
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Still quiet but ramping up.

The last day of the state of alarm is June 21, so as you can imagine, a lot of people are looking forward to that. Most are eager to travel. Within Spain, air travel opens June 21. For the Schengen countries, U.K. will be included (as of now, they are at loggerheads!) it will start, the next day, June 22.  Portugal , at their request will commence July 1. The trains will also start running on their regular schedule and at full capacity. It had been on an anemic schedule during the lockdown.

Just say NO to cruises:

Cruise ships however, are not allowed to dock. There is an indefinite ban on those bad boys, so if you’re planning on doing that, forget about it.They worry about the citizens contacting the virus from travellers. I am quite shocked at the number of people who have signed up for cruises already, sail dates from August of this year. It just makes me think that cheap tickets trumps health and safety. I wonder if they know there are still at least 40,000 workers still stuck on ships (without pay!) as l type this :-(.

What is happening in Spain: Latest polls

What is telling to me is that the latest poll shows that almost 97% of the Spanish people are extremely worried about the state of the economy. A full 75% of them would have no objection to the government extending the state of alarm, while 73% have no plans to go on vacation in the summer. Travel and money worries are strong. The one thing that everyone can agree on is that a second shut down must not happen. It’s being taken more seriously here.
black woman sipping drink in Valencia City of Arts
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black woman sipping drink in Valencia City of Arts
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Me sipping a drink in the good old days! :-) Four months ago!!! Hahah.

It’s going to be interesting for sure going forward, and the next few weeks should give us an idea. The buses are emptier than even just a week ago. Very strange times, but we are enjoying the quiet. We are no longer getting the daily updates of covid-19 infections either, but we know they remain low.

How the Spanish Economy Fared:

The government said the economy sank 34% during the confinement. Some sectors exceeded 70%. The banks are forecasting about 40% loan defaults. It’s obvious that the recovery is going to be long and tough. When you consider the fact that they haven’t fully recovered from the last recession, it’s going to be a long and painful journey. I am curious to see what effect this will have on rents and house prices. So far, I haven’t really seen a drop in either one, but it’s early yet.
How is life with you? Have the infection rates been improving where you are or getting worse? Are you getting antsy yet? Is travel part of your plans for the near future, or will you wait a bit like we plan on doing?. I have been enjoying reading the guessing games articles. At this point, that is all they are.