Do you like Mondays? I have the feeling that claiming to hate Mondays is not only the new norm but also widely socially labeled as “cool.” Everyone is posting a sad face and a reference to Mondays on social media. I recently found out that there is also the term “blue Monday” referring to a Monday in January which weatherwise brings the most depressed vibe with it. However, if you are the expat partner, Mondays might have reached a new level of stress. In this article, I want to explain why and what will help if you are feeling moody.
Visiting home as the Expat
Visiting home as the expat
I will be flying to Europe tomorrow and living abroad for two years now my feeling about this holiday and coming “home” has changed a bit. In this blog post, I want to share my view about this. If you are an expat yourself, you might resonate with this, if you are a friend of an Expat this might help you to understand your friend a bit better.
"Aren't you excited to come home?"
This is one of the most asked questions recently. Everyone around me is assuming that I am 100% excited about flying home and seeing all my family and friends again. The truth is: Yes, I am excited (and grateful that I am able to) but also, my definition of home has changed a bit in the meantime. This new place I am living in has become my home more than it was a year ago and while I am missing things when living abroad, I am also missing the local culture when visiting back home. Moving abroad brings a funny culture shock experience along. I am trying to illustrate that in that image below:
First, you are missing things from one country; later you are missing things from the other. It is the natural process of adaptation and growing as a person. I am now one of those “in-between” people, and I am excited to see what I will say about this next Christmas.
"Tell me about you!"
Another typical thing of visiting home as an expat: You are always in the middle of attention. No matter how often I am asking my friends to tell me about them and their life, our conversation will soon go back to me. I understand where this is coming from. Moving abroad is exotic, and I did not only switch countries but culture, lifestyle, hobbies and even my career. So there is a lot of change going on in my life people want to know about. However, I am also very interested in how my friends are feeling. The general answer is something like “You know, same old. Same job, same partner…let’s talk about you!”. If that is true, we would have had nothing to talk about before I left. Of course, things are going on! And only because they don’t entail turning your whole life upside down, they are not less important. So please my dear friends: Let’s also talk about you <3 Also, let’s face it: I will be answering the same questions about me again and again for the next couple of weeks 😉
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I have the feeling of never doing enough. I am not doing justice to the friendships I want to cherish.
"Why did you not say you are visiting home?"
Christmas for an expat can be a stressful time. I sometimes have this image in my head that everyone wants to have ” a piece of the cake.” I have the feeling of never doing enough. I am not doing justice to the friendships I want to cherish. My dear friend, I want to meet you! And not only in passing. Best case scenario would be to sit down with a cup of coffee for a couple of hours and really talk about life and not just meet in a bigger group discussing small talk topics. But it is also draining. Not only is it overwhelming to be back in a culture that suddenly feels foreign, but there is also always these thoughts: Have I told her I am in town? Should I call her or is it too late now? Should I meet with my former colleagues? Where do I get some last minute Christmas gifts? And just like that one week is over and I am rushing to the next city, and the struggle starts again. Each year I am telling myself that I want to be more present in the moment. Let’s see how this is working this time 🙂
If you are having a friend who is living abroad here are my 2 cents:
So these are the thoughts in my head when visiting home. I am so looking forward to hugging everyone! I want to walk around town without a tight schedule, to re-connect with the German culture that was home for me for such a long time, shopping all the food I missed and smile about the different cultural differences I totally forgot about.
So, friends, the countdown is on! I am coming “HOME” and I am looking forward to reconnecting and being shocked by the German straightforwardness and I will definitely pay to much tip out of habit 🙂
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Each country has its smell, taste and smaller habits that you can feel more than explain. When you are living abroad, and you are coming home for Christmas, this is a perfect opportunity to explore your own culture with new eyes. You will recognize differences you have not been aware before moving abroad. Here is my selection of 20 typical Germans things that caught my attention after living in the US.
So, I covered in several posts the identity struggle than can come along when you are moving abroad for the partner’s job. It’s a new beginning on several levels and a change also in areas that you have been happy with such as the job situation. In this blog post, I want to present you an interview with a very experienced Expat who moved abroad for her husband’s job and managed to re-invent herself and be happy with the new lifestyle. She contacted me after reading one of my blog posts where I covered the topic of why the question “What do you do?” can be a tough one. She expressed her disbelief that modern women are still struggling with this and showed me her perspective. I loved it and wanted to present to you her point of view so I asked her for an interview. And here it is: A conversation about the modern challenges of being an Expat Partner and what to learn from more experienced Expat Partners – with the amazing Antje Döhring.
This interview is the perfect proof that when you reach out to the universe, it will reply. I was searching for Expat Partners who were willing to share their story of becoming a professional blogger, and I found Christine. She was an Expat in Germany when she started her blog and turned it into a real profession. In this interview, she is sharing her tips and tricks without whitewashing. She is pretty straightforward about the ups and downs of blogging making this interview a perfect resource for you! I promise it is worth your time! Thank you so much, Christine, for your contribution!