Expat Article

Yet another article about the expat experience….

I can’t decide how I feel about this yet. Thoughts?

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7 thoughts on “Expat Article

  1. Hmm… not sure I agree with it entirely. Yes, there are a few expat bars here but I don't know may people that really frequent them – it seems to be the place to go if you are new in town and as for 'as time goes on it's more about what you're missing back home', um… no. Perhaps that's got a lot to do with personal experience and the stage of life that you're at when you move abroad, but for me, when we left most of my friends had already had their kids and were already married, or shacked up, or whatever, and in honesty, nothing much has changed. They hang out with more or less the same people, do the same jobs, go the same places, are on occasion even having the same conversation that they were having 2 years+ ago. I could be wrong, because I'm not going back that much, but I am certainly not feeling like I miss home because it's moving on without me.

    All this stuff about running away? I think that she should have written the article from a personal perspective rather than general, because while I feel sorry for her and her 'coffee shop arguments', it does't apply to most people I know. Some of the younger ones, maybe, but most people have come here because of their jobs, and the rest because they have married a German.

    I think she seems like she was unhappy at home and moving abroad hasn't fixed the underlying problem.

    And now, I've gone and commented on her post too which I wouldn't normally have done… grr.

  2. meh, the only fear I've felt was bureaucracy related. I was afraid they'd somehow decide my work wasn't visa-worthy and they'd kick me out. As for the anxiety over the lives of my friends moving on, I think that's nothing to do with the author being abroad but maybe insecurity about her own life decision. Even if you never leave your hometown, some people will seem to be “moving faster” in their life than others. Being an expat doesn't really change that, although it can make people from home think you're somehow progressing more interestingly than they are.

    The parents of my ex-bf said “wherever you go, there you are” when their son moved away, because they felt like he was running away from something that'd catch up to him eventually, and I think that might also apply to this author. The foreign country thing is exciting and distracting initially, but eventually your personality, your weaknesses and life fears resurface as you get comfortable in the new place.

    I also think this idea of being two distinct people is kind of unrelated to being an expat. We're all different people in different contexts. I bet the author is not the same with her grandma as she is with her best friend or her work colleagues. When I go back to the US I feel out of place because the culture has changed so much in my absence (WTF reality tv!) but I am the same person with the people who matter most. Maybe that's what really has come out of all this time being an expat- I realize who are the friends who have the important stuff in common and not just superficial circumstantial connections. And I'm ok with that.

  3. I tend to agree (rather a lot) with Fiona on this. Plus I really like her name…..

    As an older ex-pat, I find myself looking forwards as opposed to back, and I rarely (if ever) lay in bed and worry about what I am 'missing'.

    Even if I was back 'there' (wherever 'there' may happen to be), chances are I wouldn't be a part of everything anyway. I wouldn't be invited, wouldn't be able to attend, wouldn't want to attend, would have moved across the country for work, etc. That's just life.

    And as for the whole 'expat bar and coffee shop scene', whilst I am sure they do exist in big cities, I think they represent the exception as opposed ot the norm.

    Overall I found it a pretty depressing view of life as an expat. My own experiences certainly don't reflect the article.

    And I love ECS's quote – 'wherever you go – there you are'. That really made me smile.
    And here I am!

  4. I don't really agree with the fear part or the missing out part. Maybe it's because if I was back home I'd be missing out on everything I have in Germany or maybe just because I'm content living here.

    I spent a lot of time in bars and coffee shops when I first moved to Germany but not so much anymore. I think that's more a thing for new expats and young people. And hipsters 🙂

  5. After I got past the horrible comma usage (yes, I just sounded like a total grammar snob) and to the point of the article, I'm not sure how I feel about it. I don't think I've ever been to an expat bar, and I don't know that I'm really afraid of much. Maybe it's because I've spent so much time in Germany, but I just don't have these feelings.
    I probably wouldn't recommend this article to anyone, just because it doesn't reflect my own experiences or my own feelings on expat living.

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