Hate to Burst Your Bubble: The Truth About Expat Life

The truth is Expat Life is not as dazzling at it tends to appear. Yes, we are experiencing a wide range of cultural phenomenon. We enjoy unique cuisine and interesting folklore and tradition. And there is no doubt that we never would have found these things in our home of origin. But, we are STILL just regular people.

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We don’t go jetting around on fabulous outings every single day. In actuality, a lot of what you see here are merely highlights from the best of our experiences.
Often times when we return from a big trip, we are flat out exhausted. Whether a weekend or a day trip, the stimulation can be overwhelming. Imagine seeing new things, hearing about them in a language you don’t understand, and then being served food that you may have never seen before. The senses are on overload, trying to absorb and interpret all of the microscopic details. And even after we leave, the brain is in overdrive, still categorizing and sorting out the memories.
We returned from our last weekend trip 3 full days ago, and we’ve barely moved off the couch. We’ve read some books and watched a few movies, baked a little bit and slept a lot. It sounds pretty ordinary, right? Even towards the afternoon when our energy levels began to resurface, the kids were plenty content for quiet activities. Blowing bubbles and drawing with chalk in the parking lot entertained them for hours.
After such great amounts of stimulation, the simplest acts become the best ways to re-center. The sweetest moments of our existence are still captured amidst these timeless pinnacles of childhood.

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20 Replies to “Hate to Burst Your Bubble: The Truth About Expat Life”

  1. When I read any type of travel blog that focus on living the expat life, it tends to make me want to drop what I’m doing and move abroad. It’s nice to see a realistic post about what its actually like. A lot of times I forget that regardless of where you’re living there is still going to be that daily grind and routine that you’ll fall into.

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    1. I think it is a good thing, for everyone to live abroad at some point in their life. But, I do think it’s equally important to not have fanatical views about it. For the most part, life continues on, just in a different location. It can be tough to deal with culture shock on top of the typical realities of life.

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  2. The grass always seems to be greener at the other side. But once you are there, you truly see and feel both the pros and cons of it. Your post is a very balanced one and puts forward a true picture

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    1. Thank you, that’s what I was hoping for! I have seen so many articles about disgruntled expats who have had a less magical life in paradise than they had dreamed of. I really believe that the problem lies in the expectations they have going into the experience. Moving to a new country doesn’t make the idiosyncrasies of daily life disappear. We still have bills to pay, mouths to feed, injuries, illness, arguments, messy houses…the list goes on and on. They just happen in a different place!

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  3. This article is so honest. I like the candour with which you talk about the everyday struggles of an Expat Life. I am planning a similar post on Solo Traveling. Often our readers think we are having a perfect life, so once in a while it’s important to tell them how it is actually like.

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    1. Thank you. I think that would be a great article for you with the rise of the Solo Traveler. I believe that it is our responsibility to enlighten our fellowship at least occasionally. Most of us strive to shed a positive light on the beauty and wonder of the world. While all of what we say is mostly true, what we don’t say is equally as important. We have to be careful to spread our wonder without glamorizing it to a point where the lifestyle is unrealistic and possibly deceitful. The truth is a powerful avenue!

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    1. The life isn’t hustle and bustle like it often when people are on vacation. But, the cultural differences, language immersion, and overall assimilation can be overwhelming at times. Although, I must continue to say that it still seems worth it.

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  4. Well said the expat life isn’t for everyone and those that glamorize it just don’t get it. However, having said that I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way and I admire anyone with kids who does it, brave mum.

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    1. Thank you, very much! Adding to kids to the equations certainly magnifies every angle, but it many ways seeing it through their is what neutralizes it as well. We have largely made the move with them in mind, with hopes for a better future. And yes, I continue to believe that it IS worth it!!

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  5. You’ve put into words a concept that’s been in my mind for years. My family moved to China fourteen years ago, and people Stateside sometimes seem to hold us in awe. But, like you said, life goes on – just in another country. There are beauties and novelties, but all in all the essentials are the same everywhere. Thanks for the down-to-earth view!

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    1. I suppose it takes one who has been there, to fully understand! In the end, we are still just the same folks living under different circumstances. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and check out our blog! It is always fun to connect with likeminded people πŸ™‚

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