expat life

Can you learn to love living overseas?

15 Comments 14 May 2012

airplane taking off

Off to a new life!

Not everyone loves it. And of those who do love living overseas, not everyone loves it all the time. I’m currently thinking Texas in August is better than England reinacting the biblical 40 days of rain thin (and I’m a gardener, I’m supposed to love this stuff). The animals started pairing up a couple of days ago, wondering where they need to go to wait this out. Of course, the next time I’m in Texas in August and I start complaining loudly about THE HEAT and THE HUMIDITY you can remind me I said this.

Theoretically the best way to deal with a Bad Thing is to look at the Bright Side. Right? So if expats are feeling like life overseas is a Bad Thing they only need to look at the positives, such as more world travel, the cache they will have when they return home, the open mind they are gaining, etc. ad infinitum. But realistically, an expat feeling like this will likely want to slap the next person who says ‘awww, let’s think about the positives here, shall we?’

The next best thing to do then, and this isn’t theoritically, is something that has helped me in the past, read experiences of other people–in particular the positive experiences. Find books and blogs written by people who are passionate about their overseas life, or at least sometimes are and read them. Regularly. Seeing what others see in their host country, learning how others have decided to enjoy their adventure is a great way to start enjoying the experience.

Visiting these blogs regularly is also kind of like hanging out with these people. And it is a fact that you pick up the characteristics of the people you hang out with, so hanging out with these bloggers who love their overseas life might just help you start to love it a bit more as well–or find that the difficult times are a little easier to deal with.

(You’re thinking about the people you hang out with now, right? Wondering if you do and say and think the same things they do?)

Anyway, for a handful of these bloggers check out my monthly expat round-up over on the BritMums Blog. At the end of that round-up I ask if anyone else has a post they’d like the world to see about how they love their overseas life–of if they’d like to write one (a blog prompt!) and there’s a linky to link to, but you can also share here if youprefer. I’d love to see your ideas and passionate posts!

Oh, and don’t forget to check back here and on the BritMums Blog to see what else people have shared!

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15 Comments so far

  1. Great idea, I’m going to try to put together a post. Sorry to miss your expat dinner in June! I’ll make it to BritMums one year, I really will.

  2. barbara says:

    i love reading about life in other countrys and i guess people in other countrys love to hear about our life be it ever so boring

    • Michelloui says:

      I think humans are naturally curious and many of us enjoy reading about other people’s lives–and what’s boring to us, may be quite interesting to others!

  3. Diana says:

    Part of what makes our lives interesting living overseas is the daily challenges. If you’d rather live a life without complications, it’s not a good life for you. Ultimately it’s about perception and your outlook on life. http://www.raisingexpats.com/ouradventures/2012/3/26/i-love-you-and-im-thankful-for-you.html

    • Michelloui says:

      Thanks for this! I shall pop over and have a look at the post. I so agree that the daily challenges help make the life we live interesting. Perception is everything.

  4. I follow a lot of expat blog and I love reading about the differences, even ones I haven’t thought about.

  5. Lois says:

    This is exactly why I started reading expat blogs: to remind myself that there are good days and bad days and to see how others deal with the bad ones.

    And you’re so right, no one wants to hear ‘let’s count the positives’ when one is going through a ‘everything in this foreign culture is stupid’ time.

    • Michelloui says:

      Thanks Lois, glad blogs work for you. If only there had been blogging when I first moved to the UK 20+ years ago, I might have found life overseas so much easier. I still enjoyed my early expat years over all, but I think I could have made more of that time if I could have seen what others did, read tips, shared stories about the down sides, etc.

      • Lois says:

        True, eh? I’ve lived abroad three times: once as part of a semester-long study program 19 years ago so that was very positive to be part of a dynamic group. Then I spent two-years post-university teaching in Asia. I think it was seeing all the unhappy expats that helped me want to look for the good and help them see it. Now I’ve been in Eastern Europe for 10 years and I think the same is true again. While I tend to enjoy my surroundings, I know expats here who don’t and so I’m always thinking of ways to help them adapt (I oversee Cultural Orienation in my organization) – and if that can be by referring them to someone else’s perspective even in a Western land (they get tired of hearing mine), all the better. Thanks for your contributions to the conversation!

        • Michelloui says:

          I agree that reading a selection of other people’s stories is the most effetive way of learning how to cope with the ups and downs of the expat life–and yes, I think no matter where they are most of the stories are transferable. I suppose for some people their difficulties are country specific and for them I know there are forums and sites (like Expat Focus and Blog Expat, I think) that list blogs by country. Great idea to recommend blogs to your ‘clients’ (or whatever you call the people you help!). You must see a lot of expats in the whole spectrum from excited adventurers to reluctant and depressed in your role!!

          PS Thanks for your contributions!

  6. I loved living overseas until I had my son and now I crave being closer to my family. Coping with a new baby and trying to deal with everything in a language I didn’t understand was exhausting.

    Whilst we intend to move back to the UK, I wouldn’t rule out another stint abroad in the future. I’d find it very difficult to say no to if the opportunity arose.

    Expat blogs give you a massive insight in to different countries and cultures because you get to read about the good and the bad. Daily life is just so interesting with the quirks of individual countries to navigate.

    • Michelloui says:

      I totally agree with that. The overseas life was a fun adventure but when I had my daughter I just really wanted to be near my family–for support, advice, yes, but mostly just to share family events and memories.

      I agree! Daily life in other places is really interesting–and even reading about new expats in your own, or adoptive country are really interesting (and revealing!).

  7. Ann Marie says:

    I’m having a little giggle over the Texas comment. I’ve lived in Texas for 10 years now (15 in the US). Today it’s 108F and even the locals are unhappy, especially as we’ll have at least 2 more months of this. I never had a problem with British weather, and right now wearing winter clothing in June has wonderful appeal, and not the only one either. :-)


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