Life as an Expat

Okay, so it may be more than "this week" that I fill you all in on!  Time has flown by and I can't believe that it will soon be October already!
We are all settling in...and there lies the problem :)  We are begining to realize that...WE LIVE HERE!!!!  There is no flight back home!!  This is home!  Overall we are all really doing well.  It's just those days where you think "Oh, i'll run to Target to get that", then realize that there is NO Target!  Reallly what country doesn't have Target, or Ranch Dressing, or Pace Picante sauce!  The list goes on!  

We have all lost weight!  I would like to say that it's due to all of the walking, but I think it's really due to the fact that we don't like the food too much!  My big shock this week was when I was at the grocery with a friend and I grabbed my ground beef.  She said "You don't buy that do you?"  I said "Yes, it's really good and lean!!!"  She informed me that the whole time I have been here I have been serving my family ground heart, liver and kidney tacos!!!!!!!  Oh well, what they don't know won't kill them...right?

My Mom came for a visit and we had fun expoloring GermanyHolland and Belgium together!  Dad and Candee come in a few weeks and the boys are so excited!!!  

We continue to find amazing things near to where we live and the adventures are always fun!  For instance, I learned that Belgium Beer is very, very, strong :)

We have 2 Oktoberfest parties coming up.  I bought a direndle to wear.  For those of you who don't know what this is...look it up, or in fact, look below!!  It's worth it, or at least my hubby thought so as it you move at least one full cup size in the blink of an eye"full".  The Germans find this very odd that all of the American's go shopping for this outfit to wear once a year, but hey, we are getting in the spirit. 

I remember my mother-in-law telling me that when she lived in Singapore the American Women's Club always had activities planned!!  I must say, in many ways this has gotten me through!  They are always busy!  Parties, coffee, touring trips, there is even a trip to Poland to buy pottery.  Didn't know there was such a thing as Polish Pottery???  This being said, I have pulled a passage from a friends blog.  It's good for a laugh, although I wasn't laughing today at the post office when I was speaking broken German and they looked at me as if I had 3 heads.  The running joke with husband's is that in their next life, they want to come back as an Expat Wife.  I said to my husband that why wait, he can have my life and i'll go back to Target - I was just joking :)

"In my next life, I'm coming back as....."

Do you know what comes next?

It's hysterical.

I've heard it at parties, I've heard it at work functions and I've heard it from the big, fat, sweaty, hairy guy whose wife is standing next to him with a fixed smile on her face.

"In my next life, I'm coming back as an Expat Wife"

Do you get it?

Can you see how funny the joke is?


You know, because it's so easy. Sooooooo easy being an Expat Wife. You just sit around having tea parties all day and when you're not doing that, you're shopping and getting drunk.


The first time I heard it, G and I had been married for about a year and I'd just found out I was pregnant. We were considering the expat experience while I took my maternity leave.  G's new boss was in town and he'd taken us out to dinner. He was a seasoned expat and was explaining to me how 'easy' my life was about to become.

Now, THAT'S a joke.

This is not a piece about how hard it is to give birth or raise a child in a foreign country. It is not a piece about health care and being terrified that you may need help that is simply not available. It's not a piece about bomb scares or low flying planes or being told to avoid certain parts of the city on certain days.

It is not about trying to get the bloody phone connected or discussing your thrush with an audience of 10 while you spell out C.A.N.E.S.T.O.N. only to leave empty handed. It's not about getting lost ten times in one day. It's not about being 45 minutes late to pick up your child from his first day of school because you just couldn't work out how to get from one side of the ten lane highway to the other.

It's not about being out of your comfort zone, not being able to read the signs or speak the language when you first arrive. It's not about finding a toilet and then trying to work out exactly how you will convince your 7 year old to use it without either of you throwing up at the stench. It's not about the birthdays, weddings and family gatherings that you've missed, about feeling 21 hours away, because you are. About the grown children that you left behind that you now speak to on Facebook and Skype, trying to read or see the hidden signs that you'd immediately see in person.

This is what it's about.

It's about making a joint decision to leave your home, your career and your family and then having to listen to some wanker tell that joke.

Yes, there are fabulous aspects to the Expat life. There's the travel, the new friends, the possibility of new beginnings. Perhaps for some it's the chance to save money, for others maybe it's the possibility of having help around the house allowing more time with children. For many it's a chance to study or to develop a new career, an online business or a consultancy.

We are all individual, we all arrive coming from different situations, but there is one thing I think we all agree on.

Whether it's Singapore, The Hague or Doha, in the early days, it's not bloody easy.

What are you coming back as in your next life?


  1. Ground beef in Germany typically is just lean muscle and not kidney etc. Actually, if I wanted to buy ground offal, I would have to specifically ask my butcher to prepare it for me.

  2. Hi! What is offal? It's really so interesting to figure out the different foods.

  3. ohhh yes belgian beer is strong.

    the worst experience i had was in lithuania, where beer is $1 and SUPER strong. the cheapness just made me assume the beer was weak ;)

    i definitely agree that not everyone's situation is the same as an expat. but it is important to stay positive and help each other out the best we can :)

  4. That it is Megan, the beer and the stay postitive part :) It isn't always fun and games, it's often very hard work being an expat!! Like you said we need to help one another out, after all it takes a village to raise and expat doesn't it,,,


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