A Letter to Expats
Expatriate (expat for short)
1. a person who lives outside their native country.
Expats (then, now, and future),
I know that this life is hard, but it is also a blessing. Don’t tell my mama, but there have been several occasions in which I want to throw in the towel and go home. Back to the place where I know I’ll have my back scratched when I want it, back to the place where I won’t have to worry about money (as much), back to the place where I will have friends to hangout with all the time, back to the place I call home. But I can’t do that.
Think about what we are doing (or have done or will do). We are living in a foreign country. We are living, breathing, working, traveling, seeing, touching, learning, in a whole different world than we one that constantly surrounded us for so many years. Do you know how ballsy we are? I mean, seriously. We just up and moved ourselves all the way around the globe. Some people plan, some people don’t. We uproot ourselves for different reason. From some of the stories I’ve read online or in books, others before me have left under worse circumstances and gone to more remote regions and have come out just fine. Better in fact! We are so ballsy. Go expats!
I get it. I do. I see posts from people all over the globe talking about the struggle that is expat life. The language barrier, the food, the money, the transportation, the lack of friends, the hole in our hearts that only our families can fill. It sucks. It really sucks. But then I see posts that talk about the pure wonder of life abroad. The shear joy of living in a new land and meeting new people trumps every single struggle we go through.
We live in Korea, China, Germany, Peru, New Zealand, Ireland, England, South Africa, but we all go through the same struggles. With that, come the same wonders. It’s magical. If you are having doubts about your life abroad (I have them every day), just remember how truly blessed you are. What you are doing is magnificent! Think of the people you have met, the words you have learned, the foods you’ve tasted, the sounds you’ve heard, and all of the strange things yet to come. It will be ok. We will endure.
Expats are a unique group of people. We live all over the globe and have never met one another except maybe on Tumblr, Instagram, or the pages of a book, but we are supportive of each and every adventure. I love reading books written by people who have been expats. Their stories shed light on the struggles I go through everyday. They also give me something to look forward to. All of the people I currently follow on Tumblr or WordPress are either living abroad presently, or they are getting ready to. I get so excited when they post something new because I can relate to their experiences, give advice, or a Social Media hug when the stress takes over (and boy does it take over). I love it. I love our little world of fellow adventurers. You’re not alone. Like I said, we may be thousands of miles apart from one another, but our stories are maybe a block down the road.
Now, this is not to undermine ANYTHING that other people do with their lives. Every person goes on his or her own adventure, and no adventure is bigger or scarier than the other. This is purely a pick me up to those of us on this particular adventure. It’s a wild and crazy ride. Every now and then, just like with everyone else, you need that optimist to come in and remind you that everything will be ok. And it will.
Struggling but loving everyday in Ireland,