Expat life: visiting home

expat life visiting home

When you live as an expat the chance to go back home for a visit is a precious opportunity that you jump at.  There’s nothing like being able to go home and spend time with your family and friends.  No matter where you go in the world, no matter how much you love and enjoy where you’re living, there just isn’t any place like home.

So when you do arrange a trip home you make all of these plans, who you’re going to see, places you’re going to go to, and things you’re going to do.  Sometimes you have a full schedule before you even pack your bags.  You set off with the best of intentions, but often times what happens when you arrive home is that a different reality sets in. Family always takes the most important role, especially when you have a child.  And any plans made with little ones are really just more of a guideline than anything.  Things happen, stuff comes up.  Maybe the weather wasn’t cooperating one day, maybe the friend you had lunch plans with couldn’t get away from the office, maybe your child got sick so you had to stay home.  An endless number of things can come up, so you find yourself changing those plans, and sometimes even just scrapping them.

When you go home you see just how much things change with time.  Sometimes many friends have also moved away, and sometimes some friends become more like acquaintances.  Not all friendships last a lifetime, and that’s ok, but when you move away the state of that relationship can stay frozen in time, and it’s not until you make a visit back that you realize that things have changed.  As an expat, you quickly learn that the best of friends will always be around. They will always be in touch, and they will always jump at the chance to see you even if it’s just for 5 minutes.  But the not so close friends tend to fade into the background.  They will keep in touch via social media, maybe even by text, but you’ll rarely see them even when you’re back in town.  At times it’s a sad realization to come to, but the truth is, it’s rarely a surprise occurrence.  If you’re honest with yourself you know which friendships will survive the test of time and which ones won’t.  Relationships change, and as an expat it’s very important to invest the effort and time into those that are long distance.  That way, when you do get to see your loved ones, it’s like no time has passed at all.

Going home for a visit is always fantastic and special.  It’s great to reconnect with family, friends, and with makes you, you.  If you’re a new expat don’t be surprised to see changes, and don’t worry about the things that do change.  Just make sure you enjoy and cultivate those relationships that you want to stand the test of time.

Mummuddlingthrough
My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

You know you live in the Caribbean when…

You know you live in the Caribbean when

Anyone who has ever lived in the Caribbean can attest to the fact that it is a gorgeous spot on earth that you feel blessed to live in, it truly is living in paradise.  And like all places, living in paradise comes with its ups and downs.

You know you live in the Caribbean when:

  • The simple act of walking out to your car makes you sweat profusely.
  • Wearing sunglasses is not a fashion statement, it’s a necessity.
  • Fast and efficient customer service actually throws you off of your game.
  • When planning a family vacation you avoid the popular all-inclusive beach resort options.  Use your vacation time to go somewhere different, like a big city!
  • Having to drive more than 20 minutes to get anywhere makes you wonder if it’s even worth going that far.
  • You’re freezing if the temperature ever drops to 26°C (that’s about 78°F).
  • You probably don’t own one pair of closed toe shoes (ok so this one pretty much only applies to women).
  • Half of your clothes are some sort of beach attire.
  • Every occasion is a reasons for a party. Seriously, everything.
  • Your grill probably gets used a lot more than your stove.
  • You love going to the grocery store anywhere outside of the Caribbean. Everything is so inexpensive everywhere else!
  • You really enjoy a rainy day.  When you live in the Caribbean you enjoy beautifully sunny, blue skies on a daily basis, the occasional rainy day feels refreshing.

I’ll take all of the good, the bad, and the funny when it comes to living in the Caribbean.  It’s such a beautiful part of the world, it’s hard not to feel fortunate to be here.

Mummuddlingthrough

To the unhappy expat

To the unhappy expat

I’m an expat living in what can only be described as paradise.  While there is so much to enjoy, the reality of being a foreigner is that you’re in a place where everything is different and works distinctly to how you may be used to.  This can be a very frustrating truth to adapt to, it’s very easy to get lost in the negative.

If you’re one of those expats who harps on every negative experience that you have, or who dwells on how things just don’t work as smoothly as they do in your country, I challenge you to take a different point of view.  Try to see the beautiful side of the country you’re living in, and the culture that you’re being exposed to.  I know it’s not easy when everything is different, but something being different doesn’t mean that it’s bad.  The fact is, there is no place in the world that achieves perfection.

As an expat, who knows many other expats, I must admit that having to hear nonstop complaints really gets irritating.  I’m more than willing to be that person who listens supportively about any troubles my friends are going through.  But if you’re only about griping and pointing out all of the negative aspects of the country you’re living in, then don’t be surprised if I’m not calling you up to get together.  Being far from home is difficult enough without having someone else’s negativity dragging me down.

Part of the beauty of living as an expat is being exposed to other places and other cultures.  With that comes difficulty, you will have days where you are frustrated with the unfamiliar way of doing things.  But I would encourage you to focus on the positive.  If you want to enjoy your time abroad then you can’t spend the entire time complaining.  Get out and discover your surroundings, go see the beautiful sights, and learn from the new culture.  No matter where we are in the world there is always something we can learn.  Each culture, and each country has their own unique charm that they contribute to the world.  If you’re not careful, then you’re going to miss it.

 

Mummuddlingthrough

Family and the holidays

family and the holidays

Every year around the holidays you begin to read many posts and blogs about the stresses of gathering together as a family.  So I thought I’d be a little different and rather than point out the annoying quirks of my family members, I’d write about the joy of reunited with those we love.  My husband and I are parents to one year old (he turns one is december) and we’re also expats.  So the only family members we have around are ourselves, our little family of three (four with our beautiful canine fur baby).  So any time family or friends decide to come into town we couldn’t be more happy.  We have an open door policy, everyone is welcome to come see us at any time they wish.

When you live far away from your loved ones you realize that there really is nothing more important than family.  With a new baby that becomes increasingly evident.  There is no greater joy than seeing a grandparent enjoy their grandchildren, especially when they only have the one.  We wish that family get togethers were annoying, because that would mean that we see them far too often.  But in our case the complete opposite is true, we don’t see our family nearly enough.  Family members are the ones that are there for you no matter what goes on in life.  They are the ones who love you and support you through all of your ups and downs.  Spending time with them and creating memories is a true blessing that we welcome with open arms.  I love Christmas, it’s my favourite time of year, and the idea of spending it without family is a sad and lonely prospect to me.  That’s not to say we haven’t done it, because we have.  And we still have a great time just us, but we have an even better time if we’re surrounded by those who love us the most.

So whether it’s us travelling to see them, or them coming to us, any time we can spend with our family is a truly joyous and positive occurrence.  If you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by your loved ones then please count your blessings.  No matter how much they may get on your nerves, having family who loves you, wants to spend time with you, and is close enough to do so, is the greatest gift you can receive this holiday season.

Life as an expat; Saying goodbye

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Living life as an expat can be full of fun and adventure.  You get to explore new parts of the world, learn about a new culture, and meet lots of interesting people.  But life as an expat also has an unavoidable sad side to it, saying goodbye.  Along the way we meet lots of lovely people and make great friends.  Eventually, some of those friends will continue their path onto another country.  They will start a new, exciting adventure, and you will be forced to say goodbye.

Today I said goodbye to one of the girlfriends that I met here on the island.  This parting is particularly difficult because we met when we were both brand new to the island, we were pregnant together, and we had our babies together.  So we shared a special time in our lives, experiencing all of it together.  Her son is one my son’s first friends, and we are very sad to see them go.  I’m excited for her to embark on this new adventure, but I’m sad that we must part ways.  I’m sure we will remain in contact and I wish her and her family all of the best in their new home.  Bon Voyage my friend!

La vida de un expat puede ser emocionante y llena de aventura.  Es bonito explorar el mundo y conocer países, culturas y personas nuevas.  Lamentablemente esta vida también tiene su lado triste, despedirse de las amistades.  Hoy me toco despedirme de una buena amiga que conocí aquí en Puerto Rico.  Nos conocimos cuando las dos éramos recién llegadas a la isla, juntas vivimos nuestro primer embarazo, y juntas vimos nacer a nuestros hijos.  Su hijo es de los primeros amiguitos de mi bebé.  Hemos compartido etapas de la vida tan lindas y no es nada fácil tener que despedirnos.  Aun con la tristeza de verla ir, estoy segura que nos mantendremos en contacto y le deseo todo lo mejor para ella y su familia en esta etapa nueva de la vida.  ¡Bon Voyage amiga!