About Us

Greetings readers – Thank you for taking the time to share in our overseas adventures!  We truly enjoy sharing our learnings (and mishaps) and have made some great new friends as a direct result of this blog.

Here’s a little about us:  Nick and I got married twice in early 2009 (once in court and once for God) after Nick got the offer to join the State Department as a US Diplomat (or Foreign Service Officer). Update coming soon…

In the meantime, please also connect with me online HERE.  Please introduce yourself when you connect and let me know that you’re a blog reader!




From Novakistan, post About Us

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Halima January 14, 2011 at 12:54 am

Hello there – I came across your blog as I was searching for blogs for fellow FSOs! I’m joining the 160th A-100 class in March 2011 and have my hubby and kids along for the ride. It’s been such fun reading about your experiences – keep up the sunny blogging – it is highly appreciated!

sarahlynn60 January 14, 2011 at 9:41 am

Awesome! Nice to meet you. You’re going to have a blast in this exciting life… I hope we cross paths if you’re still there come September. We’ll be back at FSI for Spanish! Let me know if you have any questions about anything related to FS life. Happy to help! Sarah

Drahmir January 18, 2011 at 9:56 am

My application to join the Foreign Service hasn’t even arrived yet in D.C., but in the event that I make it on someday, I’ve bookmarked your blog. You have some of the most informative and insightful posts about life overseas that I’ve read in my many hours of FS blog surfing. Looking forward to reading more about your guys travels in the future.

sarahlynn60 January 19, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Thanks much, I appreciate that! Best of luck to you on your application process – it’s been a wild, wonderful ride for us and I know it will be for you too! Cheers, Sarah

Carla February 3, 2011 at 9:51 am

Just found your blog! We’ll be arriving in Manila in April (we just found out about it on Monday!) — also our first tour, and we’re also doing it as newlyweds!

I’m in love with the view of your apartment — we’re hoping we’ll end up in Makati too, but I heard there’s not much you can ask about it.

Totally stalking your blog now :)

sarahlynn60 February 3, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Yay! So excited for you! I just friended you on Facebook so that we can connect there as well. Feel free to send anyone else from your class that’s going to Manila this way too. I’m happy to answer questions. Looking forward to getting to know you better!

And you’re right, housing is a crap shoot. Just say a praying to the housing Gods. Honestly though, for the most part, the housing here is fantastic. No need to worry about it.

Glad to have a new blog stalker, Sarah

Katy February 12, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Hi Sarah! I’m currently posted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, but just received our bid list and there are a number of Manila jobs on it. I’ve been following your blog for a bit and I don’t know too many people who have been in Manila so was hoping to ask you some questions. Please let me know if we could connect over e-mail. Cheers! Katy

sarahlynn60 February 12, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Of course Katy, happy to help out! I’ll send you an email right now. Sarah

Quenby Wilcox June 5, 2011 at 10:55 pm

I would like to invite you to join my Global Expat group pages on Linkedin and facebook. We are dedicated to assisting the expat family in their years abroad as well as the trailing spouse (STARS) in maintaining a career.

At the moment I am looking for other Stay-at-Home Trailing Spouses around the world interested in working on the project. Please visit my profile on Linkedin.com (Quenby Wilcox) which explains it in its entirety (note the business plan and website links.)

Basically, the project copies present trailing spouse associations (American Women’s Clubs Abroad, FIAFE French Acceuil chapters, etc.), but turns it into a revenue producing entity (mainly from advertising opportunities on http://www.global-expats.com ) and remunerates all of its managers and staff.
If you are interested assisting in the development of this project, please contact me at my email address quenbywilcox2@gmail.com or on skype quenby.wilcox2.

Or, just interested in increasing your blog’s audience, please feel free to post links to you blog on our Linkedin group page (http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Global-Expats-3906296?mostPopular=&gid=3906296 ) or facebook group page (http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_173565119365394&view=members#!/home.php?sk=group_173565119365394 )

Best regards,
Quenby Wilcox
Founder – http://www.global-expats.com

Anna Florence Sontillano September 29, 2011 at 4:42 am

Dear Sarah,

It was good to come across your blog since I am a citizen of the Philippines. Too bad you are no longer here when I got to read your posts but I want to let you know that I am so happy to know that you appreciate our country, our culture and the shops. I would have to admit I like the shops you have listed too!

Wishing you and Nick a great time in Peru soon. Do you know that there are a handful of people in the Philippines who speak Spanish? We have been colonized by Spain for a good 300 years and a lot of the older generation are fluent in the language.

Hasta luego amiga! :)


Sarah Novak September 29, 2011 at 10:05 am

Hi Florence – thanks for reading the blog! Yes, it’s true. I’m a HUGE fan of the Philippines and hope that we will be able to live there again someday… there is something so unique about the spirit of Filipinos! We did know about the Spanish influence and it helped us learned some of the words that are similar in both languages. Before moving there, I had no idea that the US had such a strong presence there as well! I appreciate you stopping by. Ingat! Sarah

Chris January 29, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Hi Sarah,

Thanks so much for your fun-to-read and comprehensive blog.

My wife and I are headed to Manila next month with USAID, and your blog has been extremely informative. Could I get in touch with you by email to ask some questions?

Thanks again for sharing your experiences. And belated congratulations to you both on Nia’s happy arrival!

Steph May 19, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Hi Sarah,

I am one of Jenna’s friends from CSB (we studied abroad in Guatemala together in 2009) and am entering A-100 this July! Your blog has been incredibly insightful as I prepare for my first pack-out to Falls Church. I just wanted to touch-base and introduce myself. Hopefully we’ll cross paths some day!

Sarah Novak May 20, 2012 at 7:56 am

Awesome Steph, congratulations! What a huge accomplishment! Please feel free to ask us any questions you have. I’ll friend you on Facebook. You’re in for a wild, wonderful ride!

Sharon August 23, 2012 at 7:07 pm

I love your blog and your love for my home country, the Philippines. Thank you for sharing so many wonderful things and photos about it in your blog!

Sarah Novak August 23, 2012 at 7:12 pm

My pleasure – the Phils has a very special place in my heart!

Annika October 16, 2012 at 10:22 pm

Mabuhay Sarah, we just arrived in Manila on a 3-year assignment. I read your Manila blog to get prepared :-) and really loved it. Thanks for taking the time and sharing all your experiences.
You have been praising Norma over and over and I was wondering what actually happened to her when you left? Are you still in touch? Just thought I ‘d ask since we are currently looking for a cook :-)
All the best for your remaining time in Peru! Annika

Sarah Novak October 17, 2012 at 10:55 am

Hi Annika – Thanks for reaching out! I’m so excited for you – we absolutely LOVED Manila! Where will you be living? Do you have a blog? I just friended you on FB, so now I can track your adventures there! As for Norma, she was picked up by another family immediately after we left. I’ll check in with her to see when their tour is up. She really is amazing!


Kristin Ramirez October 18, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Hi Sarah,

I found you blog through Jill Perlman, Jill knows everyone! We too are Foreign Service and have just been assigned to Peru beginning summer of 2014. I saw on Jill’s blog that you are leaving in 2014, so we may or may not pass paths. I was hopping you could share about your time in Peru. I have two children a son in 3rd grade and a daughter in 10th. We would love to get to know you and learn from you over the next few years.


Sarah Novak October 19, 2012 at 11:00 am

Yeah! Hi there! Yeah, we’ll be gone in May 2014, so I don’t think we’ll cross. I still feel quite new here, but I’m happy to answer any questions you may have as it gets closer. I’m hoping to blog more in upcomign months, so hopefully you’ll find some value in those posts as well. Thanks for friending me on FB. I look forward to getting to know you better!


Mary Roxas February 24, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Hi Sarah,

I found your old blog while looking for Edsa/People Power Day photos to put on mine (its February 25 today). I’m linking it back to that old site and this one for the credits, hope that’s all right with you.

I’m a Filipino but grew up as an expat kid when my father worked overseas for a number of years and took us along with him. I took my FSO exam after graduation and passed it but was too chicken to take the next step. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had been braver. But I have no regrets. I see the world now through the eyes of others, such as yours, and share what you see with my family.

Now that I’ve found you, I’ll be following you and your adventures around the world. Hope you don’t mind adding this stalker to your list ;-)

Warmest regards from Pasig City – Philippines,

Sarah Novak March 22, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Good to have you Mary! I am enamoured with Filipinos in general and always enjoy having more as my friends! Thanks for following our travels!

Luisa Mendiola April 26, 2013 at 5:16 am

Hey Sarah and Nick,

I´m so jealous about all this trips. I´d like to do a long journey around the world.

Now I´m living in Germany, but I´m native from Spain and I´ve been also in France and UK, but nothing outside Europe yet.

From now on I´ll follow your new adventures around the wordld, it´s amazing what nature and people can offer us.

Could you please contact me via email? I want to talk to you about Peru. Thanks.


Luisa :)

Raen October 30, 2013 at 8:36 am

Hi there! I recently found your blog (while doing research on posts) and have been reading here and there. Thought I’d pop by and say hello and thanks for sharing your adventures! :-)

Sarah Novak October 30, 2013 at 10:50 am

Cool, glad you’ve found it helpful. Let me know if I can answer any questions for you. Are you at FSI currently? What dept is your hubby with?

Raen November 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Hubby’s a local hire (Diplomatic Security); he did FSI last year and his first post is here in DC.

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