Expat Musings

Expat Q&A: What I am Holding Back

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Well hello my sweet little jelly bean kittens, and welcome to this month’s installment of Expat Q&A with Bailie and I.  The idea behind this informal Q&A session was for expat bloggers to chat about thoughts on a prompt, almost like having a cup of coffee! Being in a new country and adjusting to a new culture has alot of highs and lows, so it’s a relief to connect with fellow expats to share some thoughts and advice!

 

Found Love. Now What?

Question #1: How does your family and friends back home perceive your new life, and is it accurate? I’m not really sure how my friends and family back home perceive my new life in the UK.  But, based on the information that I provide here on the blog it’s safe to assume they picture life of visiting castles or estate homes while drinking tea and eating fish and chips.  Sure, that’s true…we do spend a lot of our free time enjoying historical sites around England and Wales.  Or when it seems simply divine that Paris is 2 hour flight, or Venice is just a mere £150 roundtrip ticket away.  I live such a glam life, right?

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Well, not really.

Sure we went to Paris earlier this year, and hope to explore more of Europe now that I live in the UK, but most of the times are weekends are very very real. Like the times when your fridge/freezer breaks and instead of a fun birthday holiday away we buy a new one. {Being an adult is awesome.}  Or when we are lazy on the couch watching reruns of TV shows, because we are too tired to be tourists and explore for the day.

So for me, it’s finding that fine balance between exploring and living a “normal” life here in the UK.  We can’t always be out for adventures, it’s a fast away to burn out!

Question #2: Do you find the need to edit your life from friends and family?  Yup.  All the time.   For example, when friends back home asked me what I did to celebrate my birthday I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I was so upset on my birthday because of homesickness, and Costco cupcakes were the highlight of the day.  No one really wants to hear that.  {Or if I do confess it, I down play how upset I was and make a little laugh about it.} Like many of my expat blogging buds, I hate the idea of having anyone back in America worry about me, and how I am doing.  There are days when I am homesick, when I miss something from the States so small or insignificant {like flavoured coffee creamer} that telling someone about it back home is lost on them or seems even silly.  I rely heavily on my blog to communicate with everyone back home: the good, the bad and in-between.  In fact, it’s my primary source of communication, so what you see here is the message {all of it really} that my loved ones back home receive about my life.

Whelp, there you have it. A few of my thoughts this lovely Tuesday about my life in the UK and how it impacts those back home: How much I share and how my life is perceive.  What are your thoughts? Even if you are not an expat blogger, how do you find the balance of how much edit away from friends and family on your blog? I am very curious here!

Before we all linkup, I want to introduce you to lovely Alana, a LA girl living in Chile and the blogger behind the blog Pretending to Be Real.

Pretending

 

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I’m from Northern California and just finished my undergrad degree at Occidental College in Los Angeles. I was offered a job teaching English in Chile and decided to jump on it! Life as an expat definitely poses some challenges but so far living in Chile has been one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences of my life. I started my blog in order to keep in touch with family and friends at home (I don’t have a facebook–I know, shocker!), but I’ve realized that I actually love writing posts. I’m really excited to get more involved in the blogging community and meet other expats around the world! My blog is definitely a work in progress, but so far it’s been an awesome way to keep my thoughts and experiences in South America organized–poke around!

Now Alana, if you could move anywhere where would you move and why?  This is such a hard question to answer! I think eventually I want to end up back in the states, but one of my all time favorite cities is London. I’ve been all over Europe, and despite the fog London is hands down my favorite location. I love the blend of old and new stuff, I love the obsession with tea, and I love the cute winding streets. It’s all so amazing! Plus something I really miss here in Chile is ethnic food. In the Bay Area I would eat Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indian etc. food all of the time. London has an awesome food scene that I would love to take advantage of. If I could move there I’d be one happy lady! Plus one of my best friends in the whole world lives there–so ya, London would be an ideal destination!

You guys, one of the first things that drew me in with Alana’s blog is that she is living adventures in South America.  I was able to travel to Brazil, Argentina and Chile when I was on the cruise ships, but I would love to return and immerse myself in the culture there.  Alana, and her storytelling allows me to join along, which I love!  She’s been in Chile since July, so there are plenty of adventures in store!  But want a taste? Check out her ski trip or her visit to a neighborhood chalked with amazing graffiti.  I loved her adventure to the Chilean beach: buses, Chilean beers and a creepy cabin. {Talk about adventure!} Make sure to pop over and say hello!

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  • obviously there’s a lot about your family dynamics that we don’t know, but I really do recommend being honest with your friends back home about the hardest parts of being an expat as well as the glam ones! Of course they’ll be worried – though, if I were them, I’d be concerned from this post anyway – but who knows how they could help? Maybe someone will send you a care package containing flavored creamers, or someone else will text you at the beginning and end of a day that they know might be especially stressful. From my experience, people worry most when they feel they can’t help. But just because they’re far away doesn’t mean they’re powerless! You just have to communicate with them so they know how to help 🙂

    • Ah Betsy… you are right. I know you are. I guess it’s tough because I rarely talk to my parents or my close friends. Maybe once every 1-2 months (if that) so when we can finally chat, I hate unloading on them… it isn’t a very fun conversation. We haven’t figured out even how to communicate on a regular basis, and I feel like I do my part with the blog…. so it’s tough to keep putting myself out there, you know? I am waiting for someone to meet me halfway, I guess. **sigh**

  • Funny enough, I haven’t a clue how people in California perceive my life in SA. I don’t really share my blog with personal friends, although my parents and few select others have the link. The only time I really sensor my life is when I feel like people just won’t get something. A cultural innuendo or a trend that I know will be lost on them.

    • Oh, that’s something I didn’t even think about. Cultural innuendos or even the news could be easily lost on my Amercian counterparts back home…

  • I sensor all the time. Mostly I wait because I want to make sure I’m not overreacting in the moment, and then I either chill out or forget about it be the time i speak with my family or write my next post. But I think I was sensoring a lot of feelings even when I was living closer to family, so I’m not sure that this is unique to my life as an expat.

    • I think that is a really interesting point, about waiting to calm down until the moment has passed. I very rarely reach out to home when I am massively homesick, it doesn’t make me feel any better and stresses folks back home too.

  • I hear you on how you can’t always be up for adventures. After living a couple years in Asia, most things were just business as usual. It would have been awesome to take a short trip every weekend – that “well, I’m already here so I might as well” mentality – but sometimes you just need to enjoy your life. And that’s something that’s hard to communicate, that sometimes you do the same things abroad that you might at home!

  • I had a bit of a revelation recently about being honest in my posts and although I don’t want to be depressing I feel better for sharing the bits that aren’t so good too. I totally get where you’re coming from with the ‘small things’ that drive you nuts, it’s only expats that get that kind of thing. Thanks again for hosting this, I love reading about other expat experiences 🙂

  • i wonder how people back home view our lives here in korea. i also try and downplay certain feelings or events here, especially when things were tense between the north and south this past spring. it wasn’t that bad but i definitely made it seem like even less of a big deal to family back home. there’s nothing they can do to help so why make them worry more than they usually do? sometimes a stressful thing since i would love to share how i’m REALLY feeling at times but hold back

  • Rachael Stone

    Love this post! It is very interesting!

  • I cannot tell you how much I miss flavoured coffee creamer!!! I miss how creamy and delicious it made my coffee every morning. My heart hurts a little just thinking about it.

  • Birthdays are difficult as a nomad. I turned 30 last year and wished I could have my friends (scattered all over the globe) to be there with me to celebrate. However it was a more quiet evening at home after coming home from work where I didnt mention it was my birthday.

  • Happyeverafter_Bride

    I understand the homesickness part. Most peeps think I am living the life too but little do they know that I really envy them because they fulfill dreams that I could never, like helping rub my Grandmother’s sore muscles or cuddling the newborn nephews and nieces and celebrating all the birthdays back home.