World Mom: Kyla P’an of Portugal
In addition to WMN Founder, Jennifer Burden, many of our Senior Editors have been with World Moms since almost its inception. Our Managing Editor, Kyla P’an was among our first World Moms. She joined in 2011. Here’s her story and what makes her a World Mom:
Where do you live?
I live in the lovely coastal town of Parede, Portugal almost halfway between Lisbon and Cascais. We’ve been living here since August 2019 and we were lucky enough to be “stuck” here during COVID too. Living in Portugal was supposed to be just a 2-year, expat assignment but we all love it here so much we plan to stay.
Where are you from?
I was born in the Philadelphia suburbs but spent much more of my life in New England. Before moving to Portugal in 2019, I lived outside of Boston, Massachusetts for the past two decades and before that, Japan for a few years.
What languages do you speak?
I speak English and pretty basic Japanese and Portuguese at this point. I used to speak Japanese pretty fluently but when I moved back to the US from Japan in 1998, met and married a Chinese-American and forced two kids to attend Sunday Chinese School for 10 years, my Japanese got pretty rusty.
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
I have two ‘Muses,” Ella, 15, and Parker, 12. They were my inspiration for getting into the blogosphere in 2010 with Growing Muses and also for my involvement with the amazing, global-minded and multi-cultural company, Barefoot Books.
In 2020, during the Summer of COVID, I taught my teenage daughter how to build a basic blog and we documented our road trip from Portugal to Paris from a mother/daughter perspective, resulting in our joint blog: Muses Where We Go. Aside from parenting, blogging with my child was one of the most full-circle activities I have done.
How did you connect with World Moms Network?
In 2011, Jennifer Burden did a search on global blogs and parenting and came across my blog post about Barefoot Books. I quickly got involved with World Moms Blog and before I knew it, Jennifer took a three-month maternity leave and asked me to step in as Managing Editor. She handed me this “baby” so she could be more present for her own.
How many years have you been a part of World Moms Network?
I joined in 2011 and worked as Managing Editor until I stepped down in 2016 to homeschool my daughter. I didn’t get back in the saddle again until the Pandemic, when Jennifer Burden reached out to World Moms around the globe and got us reunited and re-engaged; so six, non-consecutive years. I’m honored and thrilled to be back in my original role as Managing Editor. I love the team of editors and contributors I have the pleasure of working with and knowing.
How has your life changed since you joined World Moms Network?
Oh boy, how has my life changed? Well, for one, I live in Europe now and am raising my kids in a foreign culture. I also no longer do as much freelance writing as I used to but I think that’s about to change. In the parenting world, a lot changes in a decade. My kids have gone from being young kids to teenagers. I have a lot more gray hair but also a lot more amazing memories.
What is your occupation?
I’m a journalist and copy editor. I did a lot of projects with the Smithsonian Institution and other museums and academic institutions before moving to Portugal. Now that we have decided to settle here permanently, I plan to dust off my keyboard and do more of what I love most…traveling and writing about it.
What did you want to be as a kid?
Truthfully? The President of the United States. But now that I’m older and wiser, and see how complicated and inauthentic the job is, I’m glad I didn’t pursue that dream. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a diplomat. Now I am a mom and raising my own Global Citizens. Living abroad, I get to connect and coordinate with other international moms on a daily basis. So, I guess, to some degree, I am living out my diplomacy dream.
What are your top 5 places on your travel wish list?
- Camino de Santiago (by bike)
- Machu Picchu (by foot)
Book, Movie or Show you recommend?
Book: The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of the Donner Party by Daniel James Brown (also author of The Boys in the Boat). Not only is this a true and remarkable tale of the mysterious outcome of a group of Pioneers traveling west in late-1800 America, it also reminds me to be deeply humbled and thankful for the comforts and ease of modern day travel. It puts into perspective how minor all of the COVID swabs and complications I had to put up with in order to travel during the pandemic were in comparison with the trials and hardships the Donner Party endured.
What brings you joy?
Open-air food markets wherever I go. I love seeing what the locals eat, how they shop and interact with one another and the vibrance of smells and colors. If I can’t find an open-air market, I will happily default to a grocery store. Even in my home country I can get lost in a good grocery store. I find the aisles full fo choices and ingredients so hopeful and inspiring. When I see new and unfamiliar products, sometimes I’ll wait to see someone buy it and then try to ask them, or the shop owner, how they cook with it.
Here in Portugal, they do an amazing amount of things with three main ingredients: laurel, garlic and olive oil. And most Portuguese deserts also consist of three main ingredients: egg yolks, sugar and cream. It reminds me how important having good building blocks are and the value of 3.
This is an original writer’s interview for World Moms Network with our Managing Editor and Editor of the European Region, Kyla P’an in Portugal. The photographs used in this post are credited to her.