The downside of being an expat

Posted by on Dec 5, 2015 in Life, Travel | 0 comments

The downside of being an expat

Talk to someone living overseas and we will likely gush about the excitement of experiencing a different culture, the fun of meeting wonderful people and amazing new opportunities.

That’s all true, and most of the time it’s pretty awesome, but what we don’t often talk about are the sacrifices made.

It’s coming up to Christmas now, a time when families and friends are all getting together, and I am constantly being reminded of the people I’ve “left behind” at home.

Those at home know we are off living an adventure and see photos of our fun outings and frequent holidays, but what they don’t see are the waves of homesickness.

The simple things like wanting to share a coffee with your best friend, spend the weekend with your sisters, or eat at your favourite cafe.

The pang of guilt that you’re not there for your nephews and nieces.  The mixed emotions when people tell you they miss you, happy to know they’re thinking of you, but sad because you miss them like crazy too.

Feeling that the words “I miss you” aren’t actually enough to convey the void you feel without their presence in your daily life, but not knowing what else to say.

The fear of missing out when you see photos of your friends together on social media, for birthdays or a Sunday brunch.  Almost jealous when they hang out with someone new, an irrational thought of ‘they’ve replaced me!’

Or worse, people whose friendship you feel weakening and drifting away, hopelessly watching as it unfolds and knowing you’ll never be as close as you once were, feeling responsible for causing this sorrow because you were the one who left.

Watching your loved ones go through times of grief and wanting nothing more than to hold them and really be there for them.

I personally also decided to take an indefinite break from my career as a lawyer to move overseas.  I don’t regret it, but admittedly when friends careers are sky rocketing there are brief moments where doubt creeps into my mind about my chosen path.

But we don’t talk about these feelings because it doesn’t make good memes or status updates, because we don’t want our family and friends to suspect we are ever unhappy, and because we want to reassure ourselves that we’ve made the right decision.

It’s good to be positive, and the majority of the time there is so much that reminds me we made the right call.  But today, let me say this: to the laid back Australian disposition, to Sydney’s sparkling beaches and stunning harbour, to my beautiful friends and to my loving family, I miss you more than you know.

If I could have it both ways I would. But life’s all about choices, and I couldn’t stay at home for others, I needed to chase down my dreams and be true to myself.

I am grateful that I have such wonderful people in my life that leaving them was so difficult, and I am thankful for all the love and support I have received from those closest to me.

Thank you, I love you, I miss you.

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