expat life

Would you admit to preferring life as an expat?

15 Comments 22 May 2012

Living overseas

Do you love living overseas…more than back home?

Does it matter to you that your friends and family back home may be hurt to learn your prefer life as an expat?

Most expats are able to find something they enjoy about their overseas life. Some are miserable expats the whole time they’re there and that makes me sad for them, not because I think everyone should embrace an expat life, but because I think everyone should embrace life–wherever it may be.

But some expats actually prefer living overseas. Is this you? If so, do your friends and family back home know this? Some happy expats have no problem with shouting it from the rooftops, but others know how much it would upset their friends and family back home if they announced that they’d rather live overseas than at home.

My post over on Expat Focus this month, Do you prefer living overseas? explores what this means and I’d say keep checking back there because the comments on Expat Focus often provide quite an interesting conversation!

If you prefer living overseas, do your friends and family know? Will you just let them figure it out or will you say something to them? Does it worry you that they may be hurt? Do you find your anxiety about their feelings holds you back from sharing stories about your overseas life or do you just carry on in hopes that they’ll eventually adjust?

I’m curious, readers! Share your stories! Or your friends’ stories!


Your Comments

15 Comments so far

  1. Jenna says:

    I very much prefer living here in England than back home in the states. I will always miss California, and there are many things I miss about the states, but I love it here oh so much. I am not shy about talking about how much I love it here, but I know my mom would be hurt if I told her that I preferred it here over closer to her.

  2. Because I grew up overseas, it was often hard for me to imagine living the rest of my life like a regular American in the States. I couldn’t picture raising my kids in the US, either. But when I got married to my husband, I figured that I was going to just have to get used to it, and find a life for myself in America. That said, when the opportunity came up to go and live Europe, I never hesitated for even a moment. Not a second.

    My immediate family knows that I prefer life in Europe, and they are accepting, even though we miss each other. My husband’s family is much harder to negotiate with on this, although they can acknowledge that our lives are better, and we are happier over here.

  3. Interesting subject Michelle. It seems the longer we left the USA in 1999 and haven’t looked back. I miss it but when I go back, I realise I enjoy living overseas more. I often wonder how long that will last.

    BTW…thought you might be interested in this group

    Let me know if you have any problems getting in.

    Jeanne :)

  4. Robert Cirricione says:

    I love living overseas and I frankly don’t worry about what friends and family feel about it. This is my life and I have the freedom to live most anywhere in the world. Some people never stray more then a short distance from where they grew up and so they experience life from that perspedtive as well as TV or other passive modality. I prefer to see it all first hand and live the adventure. Learning to speak as well as eventually read and write an Asian language is definately an adventure in itself. Having to work as an expat has made me expand my horizons, continue my education and keep an open mind to the different perspectives of people I now live and work with. I went back to America once and found myself wanting to get back to my home overseas. I am possibly too independent for my friend’s and family’s tastes so the communications from America have tapered off despite my sending e-mails on a regular basis. I am not surprised and I am not upset. I have a great life and I love what I am doing. I hope everyone in the world can feel this way about their lives regardless of locale. Have fun and smile every day. Robert

  5. Iota says:

    Oh, please, could you STOP writing posts that get right under my skin? What are you? A surrogate therapist for me, or something?

    I didn’t like being an expat, and I still don’t like being an expat, but I have so learnt to love it, that I kinda sorta DO love it.

    Does that answer your question?

  6. Iota says:

    And in answer to your last bunch of questions, I’m finding blogging really hard at the moment. I can’t share my feelings about leaving America, because I know how hurtful it would be for my family (especially my Mum) to read them. She is counting down the days. I’m sure she could nod in the direction of my being sad at leaving friends behind, but she thinks it’s all good news. From my perspective, it kinda sorta is, and kinda sorta isn’t – as I so eloquently said in my previous comment.

    It’s a bubble here, and I love my bubble. The difficulty is relating the bubble to the bigger picture of my life.

  7. Angela says:

    Friends, and most of my family are well aware of my desire to move and work abroad (to UK). Some understand, none are ‘hurt’ per se, but most think it crazy to pursue such an ‘adventure’ on my own. Its a calling, and part of my heritage, so there’s not much else to say. Still, immigration requirements have stiffened. While I understand the reasons, it complicates my goal.

  8. I grew up as an expat, so it seemed completely normal to me to want to go and live abroad. My friends and family knew that I wanted to go, and everyone was pretty positive. I’ve loved living in the US – whether that’s partly because I know it’s not forever, I’m not sure. But I am quite restless and love new experiences – I would have been disappointed to stay living in England for the rest of my life.

  9. sarsm says:

    One of the things that struck me about being an expat is that you can see good and bad in both countries.
    I love a lot of aspects of living in Germany and I think it would be really hard now for me to turn around and go back to Scotland.

    My husband surprised me with putting his name forward for a two year position in my old home town. I was pretty shocked by own internal feelings. I don’t feel I absolutely belong here, but I don’t actually want to leave either.

    I think it is pretty hard for a few of my friends. I know they would like me to come ‘home’. I tell them less of the positive points because of it.

    I do miss friends but I also miss other things I never expected. Like friendly small and the sea.

  10. Lucy says:

    My brother moved with his girlfriend from the UK to Bulgaria two and a half years ago (she’s Bulgarian but had been living in the UK for 10 years). It was unbearable for me when they went, but the life they have made for themselves out there is so much nicer and more stable for them, so I am genuinely very happy for them. The funny thing is, when they lived in the UK, we hardly saw them. Now they live in Bulgaria, they holiday here a couple of times a year and we get to spend so much more time with them.

  11. As David Sedaris says, the great thing is it’s not your country and nothing is your fault. I kind of think that, though sometimes I suppose its copping out!

  12. Rebecca says:

    I LOVE living in the UK and I would not go back to the US for any reason.

    When I meet people, they always ask me “do you like living her? Is it better here than there?” and my response is always that I love living here, and I prefer living here. The UK is where I found love and where my husband is, and it would be pretty difficult to move him to the US (his job doesn’t exist in the US)….and moving without him is so not an option!

    I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about loving living here at least once, or it gets mentioned in random updates…I think my family and friends know how much I love it here and I would hope that they would support me in letting me do what makes me happy without the guilt trips about me living so far away.

    This being said, we do keep a credit card for an emergency flight back to the US, which I had to utilize in December (a week before Christmas!) for my Aunt’s funeral. And being in the US was weird. I didn’t feel as though I fit in….but I’m not sad about that, because I fit in here. This is where I belong.

  13. I’m an American and have been living in Scotland for 4.5 yrs. I like it. My family was very supportive when I loved here. Yet, they thought I’d be back by now. So did I. I think if I was to move back to the states I’d have some major culture shock.

    I do feel though that it might be time to move on soon. I’m feeling some place sunny and warm!! My husband is Venezuelan and Portuguese. He’s used to nicer weather and I worked onboard cruise lines for a few years. I love the sun and we don’t get much of it here in Scotland!

  14. Cindy Tuisku says:

    I’m a Californian moving to the UK in 3 weeks. I’d love any advice you could give me!

  15. Tammy says:

    I’ve been thinking of this post every since it went up. I had to write about it on my blog to go into full depth. Thank you for the inspiration!

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An American writer in the UK for over 20 years. Lives in Essex. A pretend extrovert.

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