You guys, how is it August already??? AUGUST! I’m already freaking out about the fact that I haven’t been able to write a single word for weeks now (OK it’s more like months), and that I need to plan eleventy-jillion things for the upcoming months (you guys can wait for couple more months right?), AND on top of everything I need to make sure I don’t lose my day job in the process!
First, sorry for my absence in the last couple of months, but I think I’ve been mentioning at least a couple (million) times in my social media that I’ve been suffering from what (Fancy) writers call: Blank page syndrome (lahynejikoum*!), but now I’m back, it’s the week end, It’s crazy hot outside (again), my coffee: check, my playlist: check. Let’s do this!
Now I’ll be the first to confess, like a lot of expats, that I am guilty of not being completely honest with my homeland family and friends (oh look and a blog post is the best way to do it!). What I mean is that I highlight the positive and kind of ‘forget to mention’ the negative. Partly because I don’t want to worry them but also because they might not understand. I know I’m incredibly lucky to have this opportunity to live my life abroad, but, and here’s the big BUT, sometimes expat life is not butterflies and unicorns. There I’ve said it. Expats everywhere and I both know it’s true.
One of the reasons Expats avoid expressing ALL what they experience, the good and the bad parts of it, is because I’m pretty sure every expat has probably a list of things they’re tired of hearing, statements/questions that they hear ALL the time, and they are really sick of. I have a list too, here it goes:
- When are you moving home? When do you get to move home? OK this one is quite confusing and I’ll tell you why. For me ‘Home’ is not only Morocco as a country, and yes I have no idea where I’ll be living in case I decide to leave UAE. And what’s with the “get” to move home? It’s not like I’m being held against my will in another country, suffering and miserable. I made the choice to move abroad, and even though there are downsides, I’m still happy with the choice I made (so far). And honestly, I have no idea when I’m going to move back (or to another country for that matter). Maybe in a year, maybe in 5 or 10… You know what’s the funny part of all this? The people that want to know all this are people that are very distant acquaintances and that are not affected by my future plans or how often I see them whatsoever.
- Must be a nice/Or tough life (with the right amount of sarcasm): Being an expat is a nice (OK great) experience…no doubt. But that doesn’t mean life is all butterflies. First, relocating to another country is scary, and hard, and stressful, and lonely in the first month. I’m not doing some big noble or admirable thing, but I’m also not living in a magical world where I don’t have issues, all the every-day issues I’d have in the Morocco…I still have them here, except a lot of times they are more stressful, complicated and more difficult. Errands, doctors, money… still have to deal with them all here but I’m trying to navigate doing all these everyday things in a new way, in a new country, with new rules and expectations. Oh and I get homesick and miss all my friends, family, celebrations, and struggles which can suck pretty hard.
- That’s the moment to settle and have a husband/family. Oh, is it? Here is what I think: you know when I think would be a great time to have a husband or family? When I actually WANT to have them. Thank you.
- “Please! It can’t be THAT bad!”. If I’m complaining about how frustrating it is to open a new bank account when I don’t yet have a permanent address, please don’t say “It can’t be that bad!” Just because I’ve moved, it doesn’t mean all my problems have melted away. My new country might have better conditions, but that doesn’t automatically negate all my problems.
- “Not that it matters to you!”. I’m in a new country which I call home (for now), yes, but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested or concerned about the state of affairs in my old home. Lately when I’ve been expressing my opinions on some things that were happening in Morocco, I’ve been told more than once that it doesn’t concern me because I’m not living there anymore. I still care about our education and health systems, the dresses issues (I mean really?! All our problems now are due to short dresses and bikinis on beaches?!) and all the things that make Morocco.Morocco. It matters to me. Don’t tell me it doesn’t.
- ”Do you know (insert name) from (insert city/class/company)? She/He is also there. Yes, we are a group of 10 foreigners in the whole country, and there are big flashing arrows over our apartments so we can conveniently find each other.
So please for my sake, for your other expat friends’ sake, take note of these words, they cross your lips, regardless of how nice the response is, your friend is probably pretty annoyed.
Cheers to the places we yet have to go to!
*May god protect you from it