18 COMMUNITY

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 21, 2009

Expat Living is a section dedicated to the daily
living of expatriates. It is printed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. To share stories about your life abroad, send stories or story ideas to Matthew Lamers at

mattlamers@heraldm.com
Submissions may be edited for length or clarity.

Husband fell in love with another woman
EXPATWOMEN.COM CONFESSION
Dear ExpatWomen I am in a complete state of shock and have no idea where to turn. My husband of 22 years came home last night and told me he wants a divorce because he is in love with somebody else. We have been expatriates for 17 years, have lived in seven countries and have three dependent children. I have been financially dependent on my husband for all of our expatriate years and I have no idea how I am going to survive and make a living for myself from now on. Gosh, if I could have seen this coming, maybe I could have planned for it in some way. Instead, my head is spinning with a million and one questions: Where I am going to live? Where are my children going to live? How will they see their father if he continues to stay here in Russia? How am I going to support myself financially? How can I pick up the pieces and survive this nightmare? — PB Dear PB I can only imagine all the thoughts and questions that are running through your head at this time. Divorce can be a mindnumbing and life-altering experience in itself, but there are added complications for divorce in the expatriate community. Expatriate relationships do go through a myriad of unconventional stresses and strains, which can sometimes forge a deeper relationship, sometimes cause a distinct rift between the couple, and sometimes, unfortunately lead one of the partners to be seduced by the excitement of a new person and want to end the relationship. In addition to the overwhelming emotional and psychological strain that divorce causes, there are numerous practical and logistical concerns that present themselves in the face of divorce overseas. I would suggest your first port of call is to obtain a reputable divorce lawyer who specializes in family law. It is very important not to take any action that can affect your divorce rights before seeking credible legal advice. You need to determine what your rights are, what you are entitled to and the legal situation or requirements in your particular country. This can be somewhat complicated as an expatriate and can depend on factors such as your nationality, where you were married, where you are currently living, your residency status and where you are filing for divorce. It is also advisable to employ a different lawyer to your husband. You may also want to meet with a professional counselor to help you sort through the questions you have and help you to mentally process your circumstances and options. It can be difficult at times to believe that you have options. It may take some thought, questioning and external guidance to help see that you do and to help you sort through your emotions and options. If nothing else, a counseling session usually proves to be a priceless sanctuary for you to voice your side of the story, without the worry of what others think in your (usually tight-knit) expat community. In terms of finances, if you have been actively involved in the household finances and investments, you will understand exactly how much money you and your husband have access to and you will know how to access some of it, in the short term at least. If you have never actively managed the household finances and investments, you are not alone. Many expatriate spouses come unstuck when they need to know what they have money-wise, where it is and how to access it. Talk to your lawyer about how you can best determine your assets and liabilities, and then from this day forward, make a commitment to yourself that you will always be more in control of your finances. For example, from now on, make sure you understand how bills are paid, have all the various passwords for phone and internet banking and access to all the accounts. Keep abreast of your monthly income and especially your expenditure. To respond to your concern about how to support yourself in the future, the answer is two-fold: How is your husband going to assist you, given the many years you invested in your relationship and raising your/his children?; and How might you earn your own money in the future? Many expat spouses, both male and female, who have experienced significant periods of time out of the workforce, do very rightly feel concerned about resuming work (at home or abroad) and presenting a conventional resume. Self-confidence and self-esteem may also be running low and anxiety at a high, compounding the issue. Sometimes it may be difficult to believe you have anything worthwhile to put on a resume at all. However, think of it this way: everything you do and everything you experience can be translated into skills and honed for a certain job. You just need to think creatively about how to describe the attributes and skills you have nurtured and acquired on your travels. For example, have you served on the board of a club? If so, in what capacity and what were your tasks? Would you say that you are skilled at networking across cultures, with a broad spectrum of people and job roles? Do you now have an understanding and appreciation that people operate differently according to cultural boundaries and are flexible to work with those differences? All of these are valuable attributes that employers may be interested in and you should make them known. Consider using a professional CV writer in the location that you are seeking to work to increase your chances of getting your foot in the door. It is much easier to convince an employer of your experience and skills when you are sitting in front of them. So getting a great CV organized is really your first and most important step. It might also be worth exploring the idea of creating your own business. Being an entrepreneur usually allows you much more flexibility in terms of your work hours, especially if you become the primary caretaker of your three dependent children. You could either start a business based on your new skills in the cross-cultural/ global relocation field, or perhaps use this opportunity to build a business based on one of your hobbies or passions. When you are up to it, seek out advice, talk to other entrepreneurs and see if there is something you would love to work on each day that could also translate into a satisfactory income. Remember to call in favors from your friends and network — both locally and abroad. They most likely will only be too happy to help you out in your time of need either with emotional support, a temporary place to stay, a possible job contact or even a financial loan. It is amazing what you get, if you swallow your pride and just ask. Finally, whilst incredibly painful right now, be assured that the end of your marriage does not signify the end of your life — it just means the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. The most important thing for you to do right now is to allow yourself time to breathe, to grieve, to talk about your emotions and to process this major shock. Eventually, things will work themselves out. It may just take a little time for them to gain clarity. All our best wishes. This article was reprinted with permission from www.expatwomen.com — Ed.

Imam Zia ul Haq leads a prayer.

Dustin Griffin

A man prays at the Daegu Islamic Center.

Dustin Griffin

In Daegu, a meeting of the faiths
By Rosanne Dourado and Dustin Griffin

DAEGU — People of diverse faiths recently took to Gukje-Bosang Park in downtown Daegu to celebrate the city’s multi-ethnic character. The park was full of different nationalities and performances — a multi-cultural atmosphere resonated throughout. In attendance was the imam of the Daegu Islamic Center, Zia ul Haq, who had organized this secular multi-cultural event. Rosanne Dourado: Imam Zia, where do you come from and what’s your purpose in Daegu? Imam Zia: I came from northwestern Pakistan in 2003, and I am a religious leader for the Muslim community in Daegu. RD: How many mosques are in Daegu? IZ: There is only one mosque but there are six sub-mosques in different areas which are rented places. RD: Why did you organize the event to commemorate the independence day anniversaries of three nations? IZ: I realized that I have to make a

contribution from the Muslim side to assist Daegu in becoming a multi-cultural society. RD: Please give our readers some idea of your experiences in Korea during the last six years. IZ: As a member of the Pashtune nation (located in the northwest frontier province of Pakistan and in Afghanistan), I have had many positive and challenging experiences in Korea. A peaceful environment for living in, for giving my children an education, interacting with people from around the world, which has opened my mind and given me many opportunities to research humanity and its problems. One of the painful challenges I experienced was the control and discipline of the different Muslim groups. In Islamic countries there are different mosques for different denominations, but here they had to perform their prayer in one mosque and anytime such gathering can turn into the violence, as is the case in Western countries, but there are no cases of fighting among the different Muslim groups in Daegu. However, I have sacrificed much for this. As I come from the area in which the

Taliban live, it was an excruciatingly difficult period of four years for me to convince the authorities that I don’t have any contact, visit them or finance them. Even though Korea is much more developed than my country, humans depend on love and peace more than facilities, therefore for the last two years I have ignored the continuous harassment from the authorities and focused on my relations with the ordinary Korean people, and my family and I have found love and acceptance with ordinary Korean people. RD: What are your aspirations and goals for the future? IZ: According to a general point of view, I am responsible for leading the religious activities; however, I believe that as a religious teacher I also have one more identity as a human being and I have some other responsibilities, too. Our world is under the leadership of those who have distributed it among them in different business zones and those who have divided its people into two groups, “the people of heaven and hell.” These people are filled with the desire to fight, with hypocrisy and ha-

tred, and love has been limited and controlled. Therefore, with all of our experience, modern education, resources and technology, we have no hope for a shining, peaceful and powerful world. For the speedy and collective progress and development of the world, we have to spread love beyond countries’ borders, and to all human beings. This is my goal. RD: Do many people support you? IZ: Many support me in my efforts; however many also oppose me, and threaten me when I organize humanitarian secular activities. RD: Do you have any message for our readers? IZ: When you have extra time, spend it on study and research with an open mind. Have compassion for people, because this world is your home and its people are your family. Heaven and hell belong to the next life, but in this world your judgment and love must be for the one’s moral welfare and service. A portion of this interview was published in The Daegu Pockets (daegupockets.com) — Ed.

In Focus: To flash, or not to flash?
The Photo Challenge is sponsored by Hyosung Camera (English: 010-72039599) and Babo Shirts (www.baboshirts.com). Winners of the weekly competition receive a 50,000 won store credit at Hyosung Camera and a Babo Shirt. To take part in the competition, simply upload your photo at www.flickr.com/groups/seoulphotoclub — Ed.
By Shawn Parker

In recent years, flash photography has gained an undeserved reputation as a last resort, a tool exclusive to the snap-shooter. Something we use to blind our friends in dimly lit nightclubs with the resultant unflattering photos blanketing Facebook. They are often characterized by blown-out all white facial features and deep, shadowed backgrounds. Not cool. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The flash, even the built-in version that comes with most consumer cameras, can be a very useful tool and can indeed help you capture moving images. The trick is understating your light. That’s the light that’s coming out of your little flash and the light that’s already present in a scene (a.k.a. ambient light) — be it sunshine, the light of

PHOTO CHALLENGE — weekly winner — A jumping spiders in Anseong City, Ian Cuison Gyeonggi Province

the moon or the hot fluorescent stage lighting at a Wonder Girls concert. What you most often want to achieve with flash is good balance within the scene — blasting one element of the frame with flash and leaving the rest in darkness isn’t cool, but avoiding this is simpler than you might think. Understand that there’s nothing you’re going to be able to do to a dark background with a single, on-board flash. You can control the light you send out to your subject, but in a cavernous

club, a church or a Buddhist temple you simply don’t have enough power to bring the whole scene up to proper exposure levels. This is where one or more dedicated flash units become invaluable. Using a dedicated unit — often called a strobe — you can bounce light into the ceiling or off of a wall so it cascades down over your scene evenly, dropping soft, even light on your subject and carving out shadows that will give everything a 3-D look. You want to light

up the entire room, from front to back? Put two strobes on light stands and place them in opposite corners of the room, trigger them remotely (Flashwaves and Rembrandt triggers are affordable Korean makes) and delight at the studio-level quality of your light. You’ll be doing celebrity weddings in no time. It’s a myth that flash is best served in the dark. The next time you’re out shooting under the sun and you find the shadows and the contrast too much to deal with, don’t ask your model to rush into the shade so you can fire away in the even light. Your on-board flash unit is plenty strong enough to cut through the hard shadows and you’ll come to realize a facet of photography often ignored by the casual shooter: the beauty of the fill flash. Try it out for yourself. Underexpose a little and hit your foreground subject with fill flash. The result will showcase an evenly lit subject and dramatic, textured background — perfect when snapping friends at a temple or on a mountain. Without even realizing it, you’ll have become a strobist yourself. (raisey@hanmail.net) Guest contributor Shawn Parker is a member of the Seoul Photo Club and resident authority on strobism — the use of off-camera flash units. — Ed.

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