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Expat lives: Los Angeles to Ramallah


Thomas Hill, a native of Sacramento, California, lived in Russia on and off for nearly a decade, spending his final years in the beleaguered republic of Chechnya, where he was a country director for the International Rescue Committee. The opportunity to return to the US was hard to pass up. So when the IRC offered him a job as executive director in Los Angeles, he jumped.

“On the surface it would seem to be a big smog-laden, gun-fighting, traffic kind of place,” says Hill of LA, who bounced between neighbourhoods before settling down in West Hollywood. “You get [the neighbourhood] right, it’s awesome.” It was there that he met actor and writer Genevieve Parker, whom he married in 2012.

But last spring, just a month after their wedding, Hill and Parker moved to the Middle East, settling in the Palestinian territories via Israel. “We decided to become very minimalist . . . we got here with two bags and my camera gear,” he says. “If we get something new, we have to throw something out.”

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