Even writing that title I feel like a smarmy little jerk.
My life lived around the world is sooooo hard.
But hear me out.
Life abroad isn’t all the Facebook posts and Instagram photos would have you believing. Sure, I eat different foods, see new sights often, I push myself in ways that I never would if I were living back in the states.
But life can be just as humdrum in Australia, South Korea, England, New Zealand, as it is in suburban America. I still need to work everyday, I still have to go grocery shopping and cook meals and buy socks when my cute ones from Korea get a hole in them.
I still have to pay bills and wait in line at the post office and take the bus and sometimes, life can get a little bit routine.
But that’s not really the part that’s hard, that’s the part that’s simply life.
The hard parts are more emotional. The hard parts are not having your bff’s a phone call away because FaceTime and Skype are great, but time zones aren’t. The hard parts are missing babies grow up and crawl and talk and ask where Uncle Luke is even though you walked in the door first. The hard part is when friends and family get together without you and their lives carry on just as yours do only they’re miles and miles away.
The hard part is dealing with the guilt of missing things you wish you could attend. The hard part is letting people down that you love. The worst part is feeling selfish because you want to have a life that’s lived around the world and not beside the people that want you there.
Being an expat is amazing and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love moving to new countries, I love learning new languages and really, truly pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I learned a long time ago that stagnancy makes me feel sad, it leaves me unfulfilled. I get this immense weight upon me that I can’t shake.
I thrive in the uncomfortable, I feel alive when I’m in a sticky situation navigating and problem solving on my feet. I think I always have. Being still in a familiar place gives me a pit in my stomach, I feel like I’m not really living at all.
So I keep moving, I keep exploring and putting myself in these places and situations. I keep going to work everyday in a different country, I keep going to the grocery store where I discover new eats and cook meals from recipes that I’ve never heard of and yes, buying socks when the cute ones get holes in them.
I keep going and I deal with the emotions as best I can. I get home when I can, I call and Skype and email and write letters by hand because it’s all I can give of myself.
I just hope that’s enough.