Erin asked: I saw in a couple of pictures that your real name is Helen, which I love. I was wondering if people in real life call you Hopsy or if that is just your name for yourself on your blog. It's over-the-top preppy and really cool!
When I was little my mother had always hoped to make Hopsy my nickname (aka she would write it on doctor and camp forms). I was VERY into Peter Rabbit so it just seemed fitting, plus it works with my initials. However, when we lived abroad the name Elena seemed to stick a little bit better than Hopsy. So, Hopsy came and went until last year at least! I have somehow managed to bring it back. My given name is Helen, but I adore the name Hopsy and do think it is the perfect nickname for me!
SPG asked: ¿Por qué estudiaste español?
When I was in second grade my mother worked for Cargill and was transferred to Honduras. Before we moved I took Spanish lessons with a tutor as I would be going to school where we studied in English and Spanish. Since I was young I picked the language up at a very young age and after three months of remedial Spanish I was placed back in History and Spanish with all the native speakers. I continued to study Spanish all through high school and college and now use it every now and then at work. Last year I also taught a Spanish Sunday School class to immigrants at my church. Texas is the perfect place to put my Spanish to use!
AEO asked: What does your dad do that your family has lived abroad so much? When he retires, will it be in the states or abroad? Did you enjoy living in all the places you have? Sorry, multiple questions but all one topic!
My father attended West Point so upon his graduation my mother and father were married and then not long after they moved to Germany. After serving his time father accepted a job with Cargill. When I was growing up he worked for a total of two multi-national food companies which took us all over the US (Fayetteville, AR; Americus, GA; Memphis, TN; Jacksonville, FL; Downers Grove, IL) and to Honduras and Panama as well. Father left that line of work and switched over to ethanol a few years back so we lived in Garnett, KS and then Waseca, MN. However, that job seems short lived compared to the others and his current job. Father is now working for an American company which deals with food in SE Asia, but mostly India. Mother and father plan to stay in India for a good while, but eventually they will hopefully retire in the US. There are several towns we have lived in that they are eyeing, but spending part of the year in Panama is not out of the question either.
As far as living all over goes I would not trade my childhood for a thing! I absolutely ADORED the experiences of moving and meeting so many people. I feel as if it has made me a well rounded person and really taught me how to get along with people from all walks of life. When living in a different country (or even traveling to one!) I think it is important to try and reach out to the natives. It is very easy to want to be a stuck up American, but you learn nothing by doing that! Immerse yourself in the culture by reaching out, trying new foods, learning their customs and the language. Take it all in! You will not only create life long memories, but make some great friends. Many of our best family friends are people we met while living abroad. I also have so many dear friends from living all over the US. A handful have also ended up here in Dallas so it has been so much fun to reconnect!
Okay, that seems to be enough for today. I do not want to overwhelm you all or lose readers with a novel of a post!