Monday, February 1, 2010

Expat Life: Are you addicted?

There was a great article by Andrea Martins, co-founder of ExpatWomen, in the Telegraph about a year and a half ago about how some expats become addicted to the overseas life. Her reasons in a nutshell:

Money and Lifestyle

Excitement

Challenge

Elevated Status

Great People

No Incentive to Repatriate

I can relate. Here’s how:

Money and Lifestyle: Money? Who are we kidding, I’m a writer. But the lifestyle Switzerland offers is amazing. Most families in Switzerland can and do survive on one income alone (thanks, husband!) and I’ve got hiking trails right outside my door, ice skating rinks and swimming pools ten minutes away, and a grocery store right across the street. Oh yeah, and the country is so clean that even the garbage cans shine. Plus there’s a medieval clock tower and castle ruin outside my window so I always feel like I’m in Disney World.

Excitement: I can’t say I’m jumping up and down, but living abroad and reinventing myself has been an amazing experience. Almost every day something happens that leaves me thinking, “huh?” (like the time my neighbor spent several hours cleaning out my gutters). So there’s never a shortage of things to write about.

Challenge: I live in a country with four official languages, not including English. Enough said.

Elevated Status: It depends. Some Swiss love Americans. Some just stare at you and say, “George Bush, huh?” But either way, the minute I open my mouth, people know I’m a foreigner. This can be both good and bad.

Great People: I can’t tell you how many “Blogger Blind Dates” I’ve had where I show up at a café after a reader emails me, “I read your blog, let’s meet.” I don't know that I'd go out and meet so many random people in "real life". But expat life isn't exactly normal, so a lot of these people turn into good friends. Expats make friends fast and they’re usually interesting and intelligent people who have lived many places around the world. Even more satisfying is making friends with the locals.

No Incentive to Repatriate: True. Because then I wouldn’t be Writer Abroad anymore. And I’m not in the mood for another identity crisis. At least not yet.

How about you? If you’re an expat are you addicted yet? Why or why not?

85 comments:

  1. I'm not an expat but an official nomad. One of the things that can be addicting is that your life is always new and exciting. It comes across as much more glamourous and I FEEL like I am leading this wild and exciting life even when the reality is a lot of packing and unpacking.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Rebecca, that's a good point. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish whether I live the glamourous expat life or I just like thinking I do.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Chantal - I wanted to get back to you and thank you for your comment about Ice Charades on Urban Muse. I was on vacation last week, so I'm catching up with emails today.

    I'm a trailing spouse too, so I could really relate to your Portable Jobs post before this one. But I also have to admit it is nice not to have the pressure of a job. That's why I'm glad I was able to channel some energy into writing (and learning to write) a book. As for the marekting abroad, I'm very fortunate to have my sister-in-law mail everything, keep track of what and where things are going and what they cost. That way I don't pay exhorbitant shipping costs from Mexico.

    What I'm finding I'm not good at is the marketing, which would be the same case even if I were in the States.

    So where do you live in Switzerland? Sounds like the German side. I hope you're having a great time.

    I really enjoy your blogs, count me in as a follower now.

    Oh, and as far as addicted goes - yes. One thing nice about Mexico is that many things are cheaper, so for the first time ever I have a maid and a gardener that came with apartment. How could I say no?

    Thanks again - Jenny Hall

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Jenny,

    Thanks for being a reader! I wish I could say things were cheaper in Switzerland. Alas, I now think $60 for a dinner is a "good deal."

    I live in a spa town just outside of Zurich. I am envious of your Mexican sunshine.

    Marketing is a component of writing that seems almost as (or more) important as the actual writing itself. I am learning and am ever grateful for my advertising background.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I lived overseas for four years and there are moments that I am very tempted to do it again for all the reasons you mentioned above plus two others:

    1. friends: I made wonderful friends who came from all over the world. I miss that diversity.

    2. travel: the ease of travel was amazing, and I traveled extensively, often at the drop of a hat.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Suzanne, I agree with both of your points. The travel is amazing when you are living in the heart of Europe!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great post! I'm a former expat trying to settle back into Ireland; it's challenging!!! I miss the freedom of making new friends and how open expat society is the most!
    I love your blog too, now following!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Niamh, thanks for reading! I have heard that going home is much harder the going abroad and am interested to hear about your experiences. There is a great new Re-Expat blog, I'll try to post about that soon.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Chantal,

    I love your blog!

    Although I'm not an expat, I sometimes feel like one with the cultural differences here in Hawaii and because we moved here on a whim, leaving 95% of our stuff in storage.

    I've also spent time living over in England and am currently trying to convince the hubby to move there, although it will hard to pull him away from the weather of Hawaii.

    Needless to say, I don't have a desire to move back home and settle down, buy a house and have kids. I'm addicted to the adventure.

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Nadine,

    Ooh, Hawaii sounds great in the middle of this crazy Swiss winter we're having. I can understand how different parts of the U.S. can feel like foreign countries. I went through culture shock when I moved from Chicago to Richmond, VA.

    Anyhow, here's to the adventure!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello there!

    I agree with everything you said, although sometimes the money has been better than others. Although our standard of living has moved up and down a bit, I am still fortunate enough that we can live on one income.

    The other Big Bonus (at least I hope it is) is that my American kids now speak French fluently (amazing given that we have not yet lived in a French-speaking country . . . but will by the end of this month)and have a great sense of "the world outside." I hope every day that this is of some value.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Expatresse!

    Yes, if you are fortunate to get on an expat contract and have many expenses taken care of the money can be very nice. And many overseas workers are in well-paid positions because otherwise, many wouldn't come given the sacrifices.

    That is great that your American kids speak French! Wherever I live in the world when I have kids, even if it's the U.S., they will be starting a foreign language as young as possible. It's so important in this global world, even if you use English in most cases, because it shows you care and respect other cultures.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Just directed over here from LinkedIn and will become a regular visitor. I'm an expat but I've been in the States for twenty years so definitely not a nomad. I have a lot of trailing spouse friends and can't believe how well they adapt when they move every five minutes. I know they get used to it, and a lot of them seem to meet up in Thailand, Nigeria etc so it'd be nice to re-connect with people. Obviously that becomes your way of life and it's much less unsettling than just one or two big moves.
    So nomads who move around all their lives would find it difficult to stay in one place? Is that right?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Expat mum,
    Thanks for stopping by. I don't know if moving ever gets easier no matter how many times you do it. But I think the thrill and challenge of new places helps keep the adventure exciting.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm another blogging expatriate and it is always lovely to meet others.

    For my husband and me, it's not really the thrill of living in new places -- soon enough new places become familiar and lose some of their exotic allure -- it's the challenge of learning another language, another lifestyle, another way of thinking. There are a lot of headaches involved, but we have learned SO MUCH living in different countries, including how much we need to learn. We wouldn't have it any other way.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Mary,

    Welcome! I agree, it's great to meet others, hence this blog!

    I usually love the challenge of learning another language too, although I do have my "English moments". But yes, there is so much to learn about the world and it is exciting to discover some of it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi

    just want to say that I *love* your blog. I'm an American expat writer located in London and I've been perusing your posts all morning. They all ring true. I'll be linking to your blog later today. Nice to meet you!

    Delia Lloyd
    www.realdelia.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Yep, after 14+ years in NE England I am addicted. Americans aren't terribly common here in Geordieland and it's nice to be 'different'. I loved having 6 weeks instead of 2 for vacations and I've seen much more of the world than I would have had I stayed in Oklahoma. I retired at 51, thanks in part to not needing health insurance. Metros, busses and walking are all wonderful ways to get around. I love green markets, allotment gardens and historical landmarks going back to the Romans, all on my doorstep. I live a 5 minute walk from a major river and from the North Sea. We will return to the US (I landed me an Englishman) at some point, but I don't know how I'm going to survive it...

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Shelley,

    Sounds like you're an addict like me :)

    European vacation time is definitely a plus for all Americans across the pond!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I was watching that video of the SIT on the left and I couldn't be more amazed at how a single stone and some - See more at: http://www.technioniit.com/2012/02/1912-2012-technion-timeline-Cheap iBeacons

    ReplyDelete
  21. excellent. one of the best articles I have every read. This is the information which I have been searching. Great information. Watercolor Paintings for sale

    ReplyDelete
  22. just want to claim i always *love* your website. Now i am an United states expat author in Greater london along with I have Passbook passes online been previously perusing the threads most a . m .. Each will diamond ring true. I'm going to be linking on your website after nowadays. Great in order to meet an individual!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thank you Rebecca.Learn English Online That is a big theme of my book. I will have a look at your site when I get back on a good connection.

    ReplyDelete
  24. juicy couture tracksuit, http://www.juicycoutureoutlet.net/
    new balance, http://www.newbalanceshoes.in.net/
    barcelona jersey, http://www.barcelonajerseys.net/
    nike air huarache, http://www.nikeairhuarache.org.uk/
    seattle seahawks jerseys, http://www.seattleseahawksjersey.us/
    michael kors uk, http://www.michaelkorshandbag.co.uk/
    golden state warriors jerseys, http://www.warriorsjersey.com/
    boston celtics, http://www.celticsjersey.com/
    nike roshe run, http://www.nikerosherunshoes.co.uk/
    nfl jerseys, http://www.cheapnfljerseys.org/
    adidas wings shoes, http://www.adidaswings.net/
    san antonio spurs, http://www.sanantoniospursjersey.com/
    cheap uggs, http://www.uggboot.com.co/
    los angeles clippers jerseys, http://www.clippersjerseystore.com/
    canada goose jackets, http://www.canadagoose.us.org/
    michael kors factory online, http://www.michaelkorsfactoryoutletonline.com/
    asics,asics israel,asics shoes,asics running shoes,asics israel,asics gel,asics running,asics gel nimbus,asics gel kayano
    hollister clothing, http://www.hollisterclothingstore.net/
    karen millen uk, http://www.karenmillendressesoutlets.co.uk/
    927

    ReplyDelete

  25. لا تقلق بشان تلوث مياه الخزان الخاص بك , فمع شركة تنظيف خزانات بالرياض تتخلص
    من كل الطفيليات والطحالب والبكتيريا العالقه بجدران الخزان الداخليه وبالاعتماد على افضل شركة تنظيف خزانات بالرياض المواد والادوات عاليه الجودة فضلا عن الاعتماد على اكفأ وامهر عماله بشرية تعمل بجد واجتهاد فى مجال تنظيف خزانات بالرياض فاتصل بنا ولا تتردد ونحن فى انتظارك لخدمتك على الرحب والسعه نحن شركة تنظيف خزانات بالرياض نقدم لكم الشركة الرائده فى عالم كشف التسربات وتسليك المجارى بأحدث اجهزة الكشف وبدون تكسير بالاعتماد على اكفأ المهندسين المختصين بأعمال السباكة المنزلية واصلاح المواسير الداخليه والخارجية واللذين يؤدون خدمتهم على اكمل وجه وبأقل التكاليف واجود النتائج من شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالرياض فاتصلو بنا عملاؤنا الكرام من اى مكان بالسعودية لنتشرف بخدمتكم على الرحب والسعة نحن افضل شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالرياض
    تنظيف خزانات

    ReplyDelete
  26. Cleaning services company in Riyadh of Staff of the best companies in Riyadh cleaning workers technical coach at the highest levelشركة تسليك مجارى بالرياض
    شركة تنظيف فلل بالرياض
    شركة تنظيف خزنات بالرياضCleaning services company in Riyadh of Staff of the best companies in Riyadh cleaning workers technical coach at the highest level
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض
    شركة تخزين اثاث بالرياض
    شركة رش مبيدات بالرياض
    شركة نظافه بالرياض
    شركة تنظيف منازل بالرياض

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi ! This is my first visit to your blog! Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on.

    Whatsapp status dp for all
    Unique whatsapp status
    Funny whatsapp status for girlfriend

    ReplyDelete
  28. Superstars prefer to buy twitter followers as a method to increase fame in a small span. buy twitter followers cheap

    ReplyDelete
  29. You should consistently seek expert and experienced provider that are the appropriate people to be hinged on for promoting your company or products. how to get usa targeted facebook likes

    ReplyDelete
  30. As well as while at it, do not develop invasive and also aggravating rate app notices. Customers get bummed by constant pointers asking them to (positively) rate your app. web to buy app reviews

    ReplyDelete
  31. نقل الاثاث مع الفك والتركيب افضل شركة غسيل وتعقيم خزانات غسيل الكنب والسجاد ومكافحة الحشرات وتسليك المجارى بالمدينة المنورة المثالية 0552692371
    شركة تنظيف بالمدينة المنورة تنظيف الفلل والشقق بالمدينة المنورة متخصصون شراء الاثاث المستعمل بالمدينه المنوره

    شركة شراء اثاث مستعمل بالمدينه المنوره

    شركة شراء الاثاث المستعمل بالمدينة المنورة

    شراء الاثاث المستعمل بالمدينة المنورة

    شراء الاثاث المستعمل بالمدينة المنورة

    شراء الاثاث المستعمل بالمدينة المنورة

    شراء الاثاث المستعمل بالمدينة المنورة


    شركة تنظيف كنب بالمدينة المنورة


    شركة تنظيف خزانات بالمدينة المنورة


    شركة تنظيف خزانات بالمدينة المنورة


    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة


    شركة مكافحة حشرات بينبع  


    شركة تنظيف خزانات بالمدينة المنورة

    شركة تنظيف كنب بالمدينة المنورة


    شركة تنظيف شقق بالمدينة المنورة


    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة


    شركة تنظيف خزانات بالمدينة المنورة


    شركة تنظيف كنب بالمدينة المنورة



    شركة تنظيف شقق بالمدينة المنورة


    شركة تنظيف كنب بالمدينة المنورة



    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة  




    شركة تسليك مجارى بالمدينة المنورة


    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة


    شركة كشف تسربات المياة بالمدينة المنورة


    شركة تسليك مجارى بالمدينة المنورة


    شراء الاثاث المستعمل بالدمام

    شراء الاثاث المستعمل بالخبر


    شركة نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة    


    شركة نقل اثاث بالمدينة المنورة

    شركة نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة


    شركة تركيب غرف نوم بالمدينة المنورة

    شركة تركيب غرف نوم بالمدينة المنورة

    ReplyDelete
  32. Video-games are action relax everyone's mind, with games such as Tiny Tanks or Tiny Planes and Tiny Planes Beta will be the attractive game people, in addition to games such as Run 3 unblocked or Run 4 unblocked or hacked unblocked games also very charismatic players. You try to play view, it is very attractive!

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails