I didn’t feel I had become who I was supposed to be until recently, and it was only then that I started feeling like I was ready to do what I was supposed to do. You know, fulfill my destiny and all that good stuff. Fellow expat Vicki Jeffels has written a wonderful piece about identity and how being an expat has forced her to consider who she is. I can relate to this, as I’m sure many of you can!
I’m not sure who I am anymore.
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. ~e.e. cummings
Or maybe it’s more accurate to say, I don’t know how to define myself. All my reference points have gone. They are historical markers pointing only to who I once was. Isn’t that true of every major life change? Changing from child to teenager, from student to work, from backpacker to wage slave, from career woman (or man!) to mother (or father).
From wife to ex-wife.
From Kiwi to expat.
From expat to…what?
I don’t know what.
I’m not moaning about it. It’s a gorgeous Spring day outside and it feels in tune with the seasons that something is happening. If nothing else, change is repainting the landscape and scenery. I’m changing too and it reminds me of the times throughout my life that I’ve felt change so acutely.
How many lives I’ve lived already! I’m grateful for my adventurous life. I’m reconciled that things happen to me… natural disasters occur around me, banks get robbed when I’m in them, armed intruders storm through my roses.
It happens, and if nothing else makes excellent fodder for the blog.
When you move your life to another country, everything changes (of course) and you are left with who you know yourself to be. You don’t belong to the new country, and the links with your homeland become more and more tenuous. Sometimes I find myself thinking about going home, and then I stop myself short and wonder… ‘where is home?’ I don’t have a house there. Even my friends ring a little less often.
This is probably the biggest lesson in being an expat.
To thine own self be true.
In the UK I’ve noticed that there are so many little nuances that highlight who you are and where you’re from. How you speak, what accent you have, where you come from, what town/city/suburb you live in. Of course the other universal ones too; what car you drive, how big your house is, what job you do.
If you took all of that away and started again in a new country what would you be left with? Would you know who you are if you couldn’t point out where you’ve come from?
How do you define yourself?
Who are you?