Leon de Leeuw
Difficulties of being an expat
It's never easy and it never will be. I'll be the first one to recommend anyone to go abroad for a while but I'll be the last one to say it's an easy thing to do. It can be really hard at times. And it's mostly the missing people part. Probably you'll tear up each time you say goodbye to your loved ones who just brought you to the airport. And even though that gets better, there's always this feeling that's a bit like a hangover each time you leave your family behind. And the work is probably fine, most expat jobs are well paid. Otherwise, what's even the point of leaving your country, having to miss what you're used to and above all, having to leave your family behind? The job will be the least of your concern once you're in the expat flow. You'll most likely try to make as much of the experience as possible. Finding new friends, going out, taking a rental car to the coast. Then living paycheck to paycheck. Perhaps some promotions. But as the months slip by, you'll start missing birthdays that continue back home, just without you. And it's terribly hard. You can connect through Facetime, an incredible technology. But, sorry to say, you'll never be part of the conversation as if you were around the table.
Besides, if you're single, you'll need to get comfortable with being alone. Or with going out to find company. But often, you'll find yourself alone. And there's nothing wrong with that. Because on the upside, no matter how hard it gets - the times you do speak with your loved ones back home and the times you get to embrace them when they pick you up from the airport again.. They feel so much better. Remember, like virtually every high school kid, you used to come back home, threw your bag in the corner of the living room and ran upstairs, just barely saying "hi" to your folks? This will now have completely changed. Their company, their presence, will become immeasurably more valuable to you. What is rare increases in value. Just remember that every downside has an upside, and the other way around. And do realize that what matters is your happiness. You live life for you and if you need to lose your wild hears, live out these adventures, your folks will certainly understand. And you're only ever as lonely as the next traveler or expat you meet. Life is good on the road so no matter how rough it gets, there are others on the same path. Just remember that and go live some adventure is what I would say.
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