Tom poses with garbage from the first round of IKEA unboxing.

Tom poses with garbage from the first round of IKEA unboxing.

Writing this in the midst of a sea of flattened cardboard boxes, I am thinking about the entry I wrote fifteen months ago, in which we were busily collecting cardboard boxes much the same. Now they are going to recycling.

We have settled in to a grand new Portland apartment. Since we let go of everything but a few antiques and good clothes, we are like newlyweds settling in. We needed everything from a couch to a garlic press. After four trips to IKEA, Tom has built a dining table, chests of drawers, bar stools, and a bookcase. There’s still no place to sit down. Back to IKEA tomorrow.

A lot of people ask us what it’s like to be back after our big adventure. It is absolutely amazing to rediscover this ever-evolving magical city. It is wonderful to have a telephone, Netflix, Indian restaurants, cool weather, Thai restaurants, movies in English, and Orange is the New Black.

Tom is loving Portland beer. For me, it’s all about native shoes and big discount drugstores. By mid-May, we will have been visited by all our children. Wow. It’s so tribal, and it’s just what we wanted. I have a strong feeling, in this regard, that absence made the heart grow fonder on all sides.

But it hasn’t all been boxes and family reunions. We have been working away on The Expat Almanac book, formatting it for e-book readers, computers, and actual paper. We each combed through for mistakes, and so did Amazon’s publishing division. (They found 26 “spelling errors,” all of which were words in Catalan, Italian, Greek, French, or Italian. Phew!) The next step is to start a publicity campaign. Ideas? Anyone want to throw a book party?

But if you are reading this now, you have been reading all along, and we cannot express how important that is to us. This has been an act of love from the start, and your feedback has kept our pencils to paper.

In return, we want to offer you all a free Kindle copy of The Expat Almanac (although an Amazon account is required, a Kindle is not – free Kindle software is available for iOS, Android, and Windows). If you download a copy, we hope you’ll rate the book on Amazon, perhaps throw in a comment, and help us share our story with the world.

The free Kindle book will become available starting tomorrow (May 2nd) and will only be available through May 6th, then the regular e-book price will return to $3.99. (At this point you can start sending copies to your friends!)

Here’s how to get your free e-book:

  1. As mentioned, you will need an Amazon account (sign up at www.amazon.com).
  2. You will also need a registered Kindle or registered Kindle software on a phone, tablet, or computer.
  3. Wait, if necessary for May 2nd.
  4. Sign into www.amazon.com
  5. In the search field at the top of the page, type “Expat Almanac” and click Go.
  6. Click on our book, “The Expat Almanac.”
  7. Identify the device to which you want the book downloaded.
  8. Click Buy Now.

Whether you order the free Kindle book or not, as one who has read the blog, please rate the book on Amazon. Although we would love your comments, a simple star rating helps immensely. Immensely.

The paper edition of the book will be available later this month. As I write this, an evaluation copy is in the mail to us. After we’ve looked it over, we’ll press the magic “publish” button and you’ll be able to order hold-in-your-hand copies for yourself, all your friends, and their friends too. Think Christmas.

We thank you all so much for continuing to share our journey, and for sharing your journeys with us. This has been a memorable experience, all the way around. Perhaps the best way to wrap up this post is by quoting the wrap-up from the book:

“Is it over? It’s never over. Like love, adventure is too precious an opportunity to neglect.

“We have unpacked our bags…

“…but not our passions.”