IL’s Morning Recess #3 – Every Crisis Brings an Opportunity

Welcome to International Living’s Morning Recess, hosted by Dan Prescher.

“Just the fact that we’re together right now, you and I, is a graphic example of how lucky we are. And yes, I said lucky, because I’m old enough to remember a time before the internet, before Uber eats and Amazon Prime, and if I have to be hiding from a pandemic for a few weeks, I can’t help but feel lucky to be doing it in this day and age.”

In today’s episode, Dan talks about opportunity, his love for the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper, and our upcoming Retire Overseas Bootcamp.

It’s called Morning Recess, but join us anytime for the latest updates from Dan’s personal perspective, whether he and Suzan are out on the road, at home in their most recent overseas home town, or back in the U.S. visiting family and friends and playing with their granddaughter.

Episode 3 Transcript

Good morning, and welcome to International Living’s Morning Recess, I’m Dan Prescher, good to be with you wherever in the world you are.

Wearing my hat again today because I forgot to put it on last time and nearly blinded myself with the glare from my forehead. I hope you escaped without any vision damage. Enjoying my coffee, and I’ve already had breakfast, which lately is a big hot bowl of oatmeal. Good for you, right? Oatmeal? So why am I gaining weight so fast? I think I have it at least partially figured out…aside from not going outside much, I watched myself making breakfast this morning and realized that the oatmeal is really just a binder for the butter and brown sugar.

I’m going to get a handle on that, and I’m going to start doing my pushups and situps again.

No, I’m not. I MAY start walking around the backyard a few minutes every day if I can pry myself away from the laptop and the internet.

Speaking of which, I was tempted to start this edition of Morning Recess with “Day five of my captivity”, but that wouldn’t capture the full physical and emotional spectrum, at least around here. Just the fact that we’re together right now, you and I, is a graphic example of how lucky we are. And yes, I said lucky, because I’m old enough to remember a time before the internet, before Uber eats and Amazon Prime, and if I have to be hiding from a pandemic for a few weeks, I can’t help but feel lucky to be doing it in this day and age.

In fact, my wife, Suzan Haskins, is taking this quarantine thing a lot more seriously than I am, and that’s probably a good thing, one of us probably should. She indeed suggested last night that we follow all the official and unofficial advice we’ve been getting and actually stay home for the next two weeks…as in never leave the house and yard.

Well, I thought about that for a minute…forced to stay home with my wife and best friend in a well-stocked house with an internet connection and all my musical instrument and not have to physically interact with any other people for two weeks? Well, I said…OK.

I don’t want to minimize the hardship and the actual danger of coronavirus. This will cause changes and have repercussions in almost every aspect of our lives, but as I’ve said before, lots and lots of people are going to come out on the other side of this better and smarter and with new skills and broader knowledge. Every crisis brings opportunity, and for so many of us, that opportunity is right in front of us. Literally. What you’re watching and listening to me on right now IS an opportunity for growth, learning, and change. Lucky, lucky, lucky to be alive right now.

Just an example, and one that involves food, which is probably my number one topic right now, over on the International Living Mexico Facebook page, Jason Holland has a link on how to make chilaquiles, one of my favorite Mexican breakfasts. I just ate, and I’m hungry again thinking about it. I’m certain that if I learn to make chilaquiles, I’ll be better for it.

There is also a link provided by the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper to movies and documentaries about music, and they’re featuring a film about Leonard Cohen. I may do a Leonard Cohen song for you in a future episode if my tune last time didn’t get me banned from performing during these posts, but Leonard Cohen, come on…for free!

And let’s talk about newspapers, speaking of the Philadelphia Inquirer. No matter where Suzan and I live in the world, I get the morning edition of the Omaha World Herald every day. It’s my hometown newspaper, and I can get it online…actually in the format of the print edition, which I really appreciate. Newspapers as we know them may or may not survive much longer, they were in danger as soon as the internet became a thing.

But while they’re around, these bastions of a profession I trained in myself—real, actual, professional journalism—should be read, appreciated, and treasured. I have four newspapers on my daily reading list that bracket the range of editorial opinion from right to left, and if I had a choice between these news sources and any other broadcast or online news sources, I’d keep these. Real journalism, done right, still exists at these newspapers, and I’m savoring them as long as I can thanks to their online presence…again, lucky lucky lucky.

But a guy can only handle so much straight news…you gotta have the inspiration, the goals, and the dreams to work toward and build on. It was those goals and dreams that actually got Suzan and me out in the world and writing for International Living almost 20 years ago. I’m bouncing around the International Living website all the time, poking around the country pages, checking out all the reports, and looking at all the courses available…how to learn a new language, how to do photography, how to teach abroad, how to do online consulting. Even, believe it or not, how to move abroad in the first place, which brings up something I have to work on right after I’m done here.

International Living had a conference scheduled for Los Angeles before this whole pandemic thing started, and of course, travel restrictions made it impossible. So since we couldn’t get everyone together for it in Los Angeles, we did it online, and it’s what International Living calls a boot camp…one of those conferences we hold once or twice a year at which we introduce the basic concept of living and working abroad and actually walk people through the process of doing it right, from finding the place that’s just right for them, to arranging their affairs at home, to settling into their new country and community, to what to do afterward to make sure everything turns out the best it possibly can.

That’s it for today. Breathe deep, be kind, maintain situational awareness, and we’ll see each other next time. Ciao for now.

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