For those on the outside, the life of an expat seems glamorous or exotic….grass is always greener….right? Truthfully, it is a never boring set of challenges that keeps us slightly addicted to the what’s next lifestyle. Here’s my short list of things that make being an expat so great. I am sure I am missing a few things so be sure to share your own thoughts in the comments.
1. We can butcher multiple languages without a blink of an eye, although this leaves native speakers slightly confused but graciously accommodating.
2. We will always have a place to stay when traveling the world because there’s only a few countries that exist where we do not have a friend.
3. We are automatically accepted into the expat community regardless of religion, ethnicity, social status etc. Only requirement is don’t be a loudmouthed jingoist.
4. We always have someone who shares our complaints and warmly embraces our need to vent and gripe. Venting and griping are widely viewed as not only acceptable, but appropriate behavior.
5. Everyone is always lost somewhere or confused about something so we never feel inadequate or stupid, and most likely, there’s another expat who can top any story we might have that begins — I remember that time I…..
6. We can order a drink in multiple languages AND we even know the names of foreign beers aside from Heineken and Corona.
7. Nothing surprises us. Absolutely nothing! We will always win at the “let me tell you my story” game when we return home.
8. We have lost our sense of norm. What is normal anymore? Who am I? And where am I from? Seems like unusual questions to ask but we are forced to soul search and challenge our own beliefs — and that’s a good thing.
9. We communicate in a mishmash of words, languages and hand gestures when trying to describe what we need to people. We have taken communication into an entirely different direction and believe that language is either over-rated or under-appreciated.
10. We love visiting new places and seeing new things and nothing ever seems too far to visit. Korea? No problem. New Zealand. We are there! One of the best things — we have loads of frequent flyer miles.
11. We love raising international children. It is incredibly satisfying to see our children comfortable growing up in such a diverse culture. Globalization is happening before our eyes and raising our children to embrace diversity is not only personally rewarding but a necessity for their future.
12. We have mastered problem solving. There is no problem too big or too scary to overcome. We can tackle anything.
13. We become friends with those who are like-minded because there are no outside connections that need to be respected. No family. No family friends. It’s just us and the people who we like to be with.
14. We no longer believe what we read in the papers or we see on TV. We have opted out of the mainstream media and have formed our own opinions based upon first-hand knowledge that we can share with our friends and family.
15. Going home always feels so good. The food always tastes so much better, the jokes and the stories are from our soul and the laughs come from a place only family knows. It’s great to be around the people who loves you most and has know you longest, while sharing your roots, those memories that can only be appreciated on a much deeper level when you’ve been immersed in a culture that is not your own — and especially when its been so very long since we’ve been back home.
Could you relate? Want to know more my life here in Abu Dhabi and/or what it feels like to live in a foreign country? Then sign up above and share below, and you will be my BFF for this week 😉