photo by birdAve
Being an expat is not always easy.
Being an expat is not always easy.
I think I must be going through some new phase of expat adjustment which has been set off by the fact that this October I will eligible to apply for a UK passport. It seems like a long way off, but times flies and it will be here before I know it. I was looking at the calendar the other and it just hit me that in October I will have lived here in the UK for four years.
That's a long time.
It feels like a long time and yet at the same time feels like nothing. When I think about what I've done and experienced in that time I just can't believe how much I've been through. Time is another thing that has been playing on my mind, but I'll leave that for another blog post.
When Matthew and I got together we agreed that we didn't know where we wanted to end up. We're both easy going and have a flair for adventure. We've talked about working and living somewhere other than the UK or America. We are both open to seeing where things will take us.
However, I did tell Matthew that I wanted him to live in Minneapolis with me for a least a year. I wanted him to experience life in the States and I wanted to be able to share my family, friends and special places with him. Matthew has of course agreed. He's been to Minneapolis with me three times and has always enjoyed it and my family and friends really like him. I've never taken him during the winter......but I think he'll learn to love it.
The thing is.......well.....I've been more aware of time lately. Life is short and you've got to experience as much as you can. I've been beginning to think a lot about our future and what we're going to be doing where. I've been thinking about when we might head to America.
Of course, this opens a whole can of worms. Sure I am homesick, not as much as I was when I first started living here, but I've definitely adjusted to life here.
I've also been worried about how I am going to feel when I move back to the States. I've read on other blogs and have heard from other expats that it can be a very emotional experience. I am not so worried about Matthew adjusting, but how I'll adjust. Which sounds a bit selfish :)
I worry that it won't feel like home anymore, that it will just feel different. What if it's not as wonderful as I remembered? What if people have changed? Places have changed? What if I've changed so much that I feel like I don't fit in? Will it be weird? Will I be able to find a job? Will Matthew be able to find a job? Can I get used to driving on the left side of the road? Will American people seem strange? What will it be like not having 25 days paid vacation? Will I miss the NHS? Will I be able to pick up where I left off with my friends or will we have grown apart?
We'll have to get Matthew a green card in order to work and every time I go the U.S. citizenship and immigrations services website I get a headache. Getting Matthew a green card is going to involve forms, paperwork, time and money.
Lots of questions on my mind.
I think the biggest fear is that it won't feel the same or be as good as I remember.
Of course it won't feel the same, it has been four years and I've changed.
It's just one of those things. When you marry someone from another country, where you live is an issue that you get to deal with. It's exciting too, don't get me wrong.
Living abroad changes you, there's just no two ways about. I feel like I am so different to the person I was before I moved here. I feel like the way I see the world and life has changed and of course it's a good think, but it feels strange. A good strange.
I thought I'd link to this article, which explains about repatriation. The UK-Yankee website also have a great forum about it as well. We will see how it goes. Lots to think about.
Many expatriates, living in far-flung corners of the globe, long for home. Paralyzed by culture shock and reeling from homesickness, they imagine how wonderful it would be to return to the familiar comforts of the life they once had. Even those who have adjusted well to the host culture and are happy with expatriate life assume that repatriation will be a breeze.