Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Thoughts on Being an Expat

My thoughts on being an Expat the highs and lows, and tips for other expats, what are your thoughts?

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  1. :( I feel bad for you. Since moving just from the south to the north east I have found it hard to make new friends, because life is different here, people have childhood friends and their family around I adapted and realized home is where my husband is, and I just go back to friends and my sister when I can...

  2. When I moved to MN, I made friends while doing theatre. My closest friends remain my NYC friends - we all struggled together. Interestingly, we never became friends with our children's freinds parents - all very nice people but - a friendship separate from the kids never developed. I think cities are easier than small towns. Maybe because there are more displaced people?

  3. I could totally relate to what you underwent and are undergoing... the triumphs and the struggles of being one... ahh there are so many. But you know what comforts me is the thought that I am privileged to have the opportunity to live and know both worlds, both cultures that are far different yet that are similar in so many ways than one. That I as an immigrant or an expat has the opportunity to pick the best of both worlds and defines who I am now.

    Thank you so much for sharing Rebecca. Know that I sympathize, empathize and celebrate with you, the journeys that we expats have to go through!

  4. I know that when I lived in Florida for 8 years I felt very fish-out-of-water, and that's still in the US (mostly, I think;). It is hard for me to imagine what it must be like to be in a whole different country. I agree w/Malou (without having experienced exactly the same thing) that you and your kids' (soon to be 2!) lives are enriched times 2, or even three because of the Indian connection. So much history and culture and food from which to draw.

  5. Rebecca, how interesting that the first 4 comments are from Americans moving to other parts of the country. it was my first thought as well . . . this is a HUGE country. I moved from the Midwest (Iowa, a very agricultural and education-first state) to a big city, then out, WAY OUT to Los Angeles, (a very liberal, oestentatious, materialistic state -- major hollywood influence) and back to the talk about super, major sub-cultural paradigm shifts!

    I have learned alot in my 56 years of age in my many moves (due to husband employment each time, sadly): you are only going to be as happy WHERE you are, as you are INSIDE of yourself. It doesn't matter WHERE you live.

    I do know what it is like to have raised my 2 children without grandparents. Unlike you, my mother said that she had done her job and wasn't going to help me . . . she only did once, when I moved to Arizona going through a divorce....period. The sense of loneliness is unbearable at times. I returned to the Catholic church and found what was most important to me that was irreplaceable in humanity whether family or friends.

    You are a most beautiful and lovely lady that we are blessed to know here in America! As a professor, I am blessed with international (I never call them "Foreigners") students and my British students are just the absolute best! I meet their parents when they come over for graduation and follow their lives thru Facebook. I am grateful for them and their young insight on life.

    Someday I plan on living in Italy as I will not have grandchildren to keep me here once my parents pass away. I feel compelled to move for part of the year and will keep all of your valuable advice in mind.

    Stay happy my friend, you are loved!


  6. Chef E great advice your such an awesome person always learning from you
    Claudia i think your right its been easier since being in Winston Salem a small city then in Elkin where we lived before
    Malou love you in fact your blog always inspires me on this issue your such a sweet person
    Roz wow great advice really appreciate your input I have a huge respect and admiration of you hope to meet you one day hugs Rebecca

  7. Rebecca- I moved 5 hours away from my home, my family, and my childhood friends and I miss them all terribly. It's only a 5 hour car drive, but we only get there about 2-3 times a year and I struggle with the same things you mentioned in your video. You are so right about visiting your family and taking advantage of all the ways to connect (facebook, skype, etc). Big hugs. I know it isn't easy.

  8. How lovely of you to say such nice things about my blog! It's good to know some of the stuff I publish is useful ;)

    I also found it interesting that so many people who have commented here are Americans who have moved across the States. When I was 9 my family moved from Oklahoma to Minnesota and that was a really big culture shock--not just because of the different culture but also getting used to being so far away from family and our comfortable support network.

    It's definitely difficult being and expat but I think you;re doing an amazing job making it look worth doing.

  9. Being an expat does have its highs and lows, I have been living in malaysia for 4 years now and even though i fit in pretty well there are times when you feel a bit low :). I think Its all about just looking on the bright side of things. You know as they say every cloud has a silver lining :)

  10. Hello Rebecca and a lot of wwat you say resonated with me; I somehow felt the additional pressure of being an immigrant, not just an expat because I did not see myself moving back home. Adaptation is a daily struggle but ultimately one becomes a lot richer because of it. I can now say that I would feel comfortable in the US , or in France or in Lebanon, three very different cultures, and that is an asset, even if the process was painful.

  11. Life is filled with change, Rebecca. It always will be.
    We moved so much when I was first husband was in the Air Force. I had my daughter when he was in Korea. Many years later, we divorced and I moved from Michigan to Florida with my 3 young children. I had family about an hour away, but we had to make a new life for ourselves. It was hard but you eventually make friends via the kid's school and church.
    Also, it's difficult being a single woman.
    My kids are grown and away now and I've made yet another "new" life.
    How you face the challenges is what's important. Self worth is important as in the end, you have to depend on yourself.
    My daughter lived in Paris for 6 years so I also know something about being an ex-pat. It was hard at first, but she ended up loving it.
    Thoughtful post, Rebecca.

  12. very insightful~! even though i am not an expat, so many of my friends (including my parents) are and they've gone thru so many difficulties with fitting in, adjusting to a new culture, learning a new language, etc. this whole aspect of assimilation/acculturation is so intriguing to me actually.

    i actually wish i was an expat - living in spain of course. :)

  13. I feel for you, Rebecca, and as difficult as it is, you give some great advice on making new friends and maintaining those bonds with your family by visiting as often as possible:) It must be especially hard right now having just gotten home from visiting. Hang in there and I look forward to seeing you next week!

  14. Very touching and so genuine. I did feel the same to a certain extent living in Italy and I can sympathise with being in a position of not having your family around. I have nothing but the deepest admiration for me. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  15. Kim oh 5 hrs is far as well we have friends 5 hrs away and never seem to get there as often as we would like
    Michelle your great always enjoy your insight
    Nammi well said
    taste of Beirut great way of looking at it enriching
    Barbara very sound advice always learning from you
    Junia hope you get to live in Spain :-)
    Stephanie can't wait to meet you
    Ruth love you I know u understand

  16. Rebecca, I can relate to what you’ve said as we were ex-pats when we lived in the islands for years. I found that we had to make the effort to get to know people first, whether they were locals or other ex-pats such as ourselves.

    I know you’ve made the efforts; I’ve read about it in your posts and I really commend you for it. It’s still hard being away from family and friends, especially during holidays.

    When we lived abroad (and to this day still do this), we always invited anyone who didn’t have a place to go during a holiday to a spot around our table. We essentially “looked out” for people. Once we invited someone to Thanksgiving dinner at our house that we barely knew who worked at our grocery store and we knew was going to be alone. She cried right there on the spot. However, I remember one particular Christmas when we were alone and a couple that were “supposedly” friends of ours wished us a Merry Christmas as we walked by their home, but did not invite us in to celebrate with their family. I never felt the same about them again. There’s a saying, “What goes around comes around.”

    I think you and your husband have real courage to live in a foreign country and that your children will be the better for it in the long run. They will learn early in life how to make friends and will certainly be more worldly than most of their peers and their lives will be richer for it. Bless you my friend.

  17. Sam love you learn so much from you and wow your so kind to invite folks for Christmas I have an American family here who have taken us on like that they are amazing hugs Rebecca

  18. I love your videos. America loves you Rebecca. Did I hear you say future baby brother? I thought so! Wonderful! You have done so well and your candid views on being an expat made me pause to think of what you and others go through. This was very helpful for me, so when I see people from other countries I will see them in a more personal light. Well done. :)

  19. This video strike a nerve dear Rebecca. This is my second time living in the States. And it is hard, really hard. Specially when your parents are in their old age.

    When we went back to live in Mexico it was not the same. Mexico is my country but America is my home. For me is like those heart shape pendants divided in two.

    Your tips are helpful, we do need to create our support system here.



  20. I am sure that it is such a difficult thing moving to and living in a place that is so far from where you consider your home or roots to be. And I am sure that going back brings up so much for you. As I have never lived outside of my country of origin I have no advice of comfort to offer... I do however wish for you to feel at home no matter where you are.



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