Liebster award
Expat tales, Posts

What do LA, Libya & Liebster have in common?

Life here in LA is getting so busy.  It’s the kids last week of school before “finals” then one of our besties arrives for a holiday next week.  Next week.  Ahhhhh!

Last week I was talking about how well I was acclimating and this week I have to be careful that I’m talking (well writing) like an Aussie because I’m finding myself and the kids talking in hybrid Ausmerican.  I’m not sure if it’s so we’ll be more easily understood or whether we’re picking up on words and phrases but I’m definitely not talking like I usually do.  Best I fix that up!

What do LA, Libya & Liebster have in common?

Is your first question what/who/where is Liebster?  Good question!  Liebster is an award for new bloggers.

Liebster award

My very-own Liebster Award


That’s my way of saying yours truly has been nominated for the Liebster Award.  I (and many others) have tried to find out how it all started and who organises it (surely it’s a great way to make money right?!) but its origins are unclear.

What is clear is its intent: recognition for the hard slog that blogging is.  I am so happy to be nominated that I could be singled out (ok, one of 10 but you know what I mean?) by a fellow blogger and given recognition for my baby.

So …. what do Libya, LA & (the) Liebster (award) have in common? Well I was nominated by a fabulous fellow blogger I came across one day, Diary of an Expat.  She lives in Libya, I live in LA and we’ve both been nominated for the award.  In fact, she nominated me!

Bloggers are recognised by their peers and nominated to receive the award.  Part of that nomination is to nominate other bloggers with the same privilege.

As much as the origin of the award are unclear the rules are also slightly different depending on who’s passed on the award.  A bit like Chinese whispers as the nominations go from one Blogger to the next the message changes slightly. Here’s a Blogger who took the time to try to research the origin of the award if you’re interested.

Liebster Award


For example I’m not sure when it changed from five questions and nominate five people to 10 as in my nomination.  I also read some people were part of a group of 11 people nominated to answer 11 questions.  The number of followers has also shrunk and it’s unclear if it’s subscribers to your Blog or Facebook followers or even Instagram and Twitter.  But the spirit is there and we follow the rules as we see fit.

So … here are the 10 questions I was asked to answer:

1. What is the difference between a traveller, an expat and a tourist?

I guess the difference between a traveller and a tourist is that a traveller takes the time to hang out in a place and try to get inside it and get a feel for it.  A tourist takes lots of photos and is ticking off a list.  Mainly.  You can’t say a tourist isn’t enjoying it or not trying to get to know a place better.  I’d say it depends on the person and the trip.

The difference between an Expat and a tourist/traveller is much clearer.  The privilege of being an Expat and living in someone else’s “place” is you get to experience their life as they see it.  And the best bit is you’re forced to put down some roots and go through the hard yards of meeting people and forming friendships.

You can’t also just leave and move on when you’ve had enough so you have to take the good with the bad.

2. Which one(s) are you?

I’m a pretty good tourist.  And a traveller depending on where we are.  For example we visited this town in China called Stone Drum Town in Lijiang, China.  They had their regular market day and we wandered through the market interacting with the locals and watching them do what they do day to day.  We enjoyed the moment and truly interacted (as best we could).  Same with climbing the Great Wall of China, we really bonded with that experience.

Other times, however, we’re like OK, got the pic let’s move on!

And of course now we’re expats again.

There are also different types of Expats.  I was a different Expat living in Shanghai doing “ladies-who-lunch” activities with other Expats. I had all week to be driven all over town for different things and no house to clean or often no dinner to cook.  Here in LA I’m doing stuff with the locals (if you can call them that because LA is a melting pot).  Thankfully some of my friends are the rare beast that is the “LA native” so I get to experience the full gamut that is the melting pot.

3. What did you learn “on the road” that you could never have found in books?

Experience.  Noone can tell you how to make friends or what friends will be best for you.  You have to navigate your way through based on your gut.  It’s also hard to communicate a vibe, you have to feel it and experience it for yourself.

4. What stereotype(s) did you find out was NOT true?

That America is super modern and has all the bells & whistles, you know? like in the movies.  I don’t think it could be further from the truth.  Lots of things here are quite antiquated like the banking system.  And if you think there’s going to be (free) wifi everywhere you go … think again!

5. The one memory/experience abroad that will stay with you forever?

It’s a toss up.  Bonding with our Ayi in China, she was our live-in maid and we adored her.  She didn’t really speak English and we didn’t really speak Chinese but we forged an incredible relationship, she is such a gorgeous soul.

I’m pretty sure going to the Golden Globes (after-party hosted by Warner Bros and InStyle Magazine) is up there at the very top of the list too.  Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be at an event like that and it was nothing short of memorable.

6. The most beautiful place you’ve ever been?

Wow, this one is a tough one.  I don’t think one such place exists.  So many places are beautiful for so many reasons and it depends what attracts you.  Generally we are attracted by beaches.  One of the most beautiful beaches in the world is in Jervis Bay (where we have a beach house).  It is totally under-rated and we love it that way.  We call it Magic Beach, after the Allison Lester book of the same title.

Magic Beach

One of the most beautiful places in the world


We loved Palawan in the Philippines for the same reason and are dying to get back again.

We also loved the Great Wall of China, the rolling valleys and castles of Wales and the old town of Lijiang is spectacularly beautiful. There’s lots of different beauty in China.

The Grand Canyon was amazing and I can’t wait to get to Yosemite because from what I’ve seen that is one of the most beautiful places in the world.  Paris and Copenhagen rate amongst the most beautiful cities I’ve visited.

7. What does Exotic mean for you, could you paint us a picture?

Can I phone a friend?!  I don’t know.  The first thing that comes to mind is: beaches followed by palm trees, pineapples, cocktails, sun and sunsets.

8. If you could give three pieces of advice to future travellers/expats?

1.  Do it, experience it, live it.  Experience is a gift, you may not be able to wear it to flash it to others but you don’t have to pack it or store it either.  And those experiences will live with you forever and mould you into who you are. It is indeed a gift and a privilege.

2.  Research.  You may want to go with the flow but it’s always a good idea to know what’s in store for you before you go.

3.  Pack light.  Don’t get bogged down trying to carry too much with you.  What you don’t have you can usually buy and what you don’t need you can do without.

9. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Home … Maybe!

10. When do you stop travelling?


My nominations for the Liebster award

In the spirit of bending the rules, I’d like to nominate three Blogs. And those Blogs are:

Living Life at 56: Because I love reading your work and want to encourage you to write more and often.

A Little Birdie Made Me: Because I don’t believe you’ve been nominated before (technically you have more than 200 followers but what’s in a number?) and I enjoy reading your Blog especially because it’s different to those I usually read.

ukdesperatehousewifeusa: I enjoy reading your blog: it’s short, it’s sharp and informative.  You probably don’t qualify because I’m so envious of all your likes but in the spirit of nominating Blogs I enjoy I nominate you.

How do I discover new Blogs that deserve recognition?

Why haven’t I nominated more? Because the ones I seem to stumble across have thousands of followers.  Which leads me to a little soapbox moment that there are probably lots of new blogs out there that haven’t found their way to me and are finding it as hard as I do to find new followers and be noticed by others.

Which is why this nomination (and award) is so significant and so special that a) someone found me and b) that they thought highly enough of my Blog to nominate me.

Ten questions

So here are my questions to you:

1)   Why did you start your Blog?

2)   How do you attract new followers?

3)   How much time do you spend on your Blog and other activities that go into promoting it?

4)   Why do you Blog?

5)  If a friend came up to you and said they wanted to start a Blog what would you say to them?

6)   If you could change one thing about your life what would it be?

7)   Why?  Or why not?

8)   What’s your favourite part of the day and why?

9)   Are you a scruncher or a folder?

10)  Finish this sentence: The best thing about my life is …

I look forward to hearing your responses so I hope you play along.  Thanks again to Diary of an Expat for your nomination, it is indeed an honour just to be nominated ;-).

xx It Started in LA xx

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Jameela May 28, 2014 at 2:39 am

    Thank you for playing the games (and bending the rules lol) and answering my questions. We do have a lot in common it seems and your answers made me laugh. As for the Golden Globe, this must have been interesting. I once went to the Festival de Cannes, not as a guest though, and it was quite like stepping on another planet, with people all dressed up, fancy cars everywhere, flashing cameras, the red carpet over the famous “Steps”… not that it matters much to my life now but i’m happy i saw that once in my life.

    happy blogging, keep up the good work, you totally deserve your Award 🙂

    • Reply ItStartedInLA May 28, 2014 at 10:02 pm

      Wow! Cannes. That & the Oscars are next on my list! I’m pleased you enjoyed my answers just as I did answering them–there were some tough ones there! If I stumble across more great blogs in the category I’ll be sure to add them to my nominations! I’m constantly looking.

    Why not tell me what you think & comment below

    %d bloggers like this: