Expat Life: Repatriation Woes
A girlfriend of mine asked me the other day about repatriation. She was worried she wouldn't fit in back home after being away for so long. The stress of having no one to talk to who'd understand and accept the person she'd become was weighing heavy on her.I admit, I hadn't thought about repatriation until she mentioned it.
And it got me thinking.
How will the repatriation process work for me and my family when the time comes?
I've always been an introvert and never cared what others thought of me. Back home, the only family waiting for me are my grandparents. So, I don't have to worry about family members making me feel guilty about having lived out of the country for so long.
What did worry me, was how I was going to adapt to not having the luxuries I'd accustomed to. The leisure time; more disposable income; travel and adventure; an expat package that includes business class airfare, housing allowance and private schools.
(Yes, expats get spoiled. It's part of that life.)
When we return to the USA, would I enroll my kid in private school or public?
How would SHE adapt?
We moved abroad when she was nine months old. Every birthday she's had has been overseas. She hasn't even encountered bullying and boy, I know how bad bullying can get in the USA. I'm from Brooklyn, NY. Tough town.
How will I adapt to doing things myself again? The cooking, the shopping, the cleaning, everything will fall back onto my lap.
You see, as expats we get get to experience a lifestyle few will ever understand or experience, but that doesn't mean we can't take care of ourselves or our family. It means, that we can have it all, even if for a short while. And, yes, we're contributing to the economy by hiring domestic help. Hiring a driver is convenient. It's not a necessity, but it's unnecessary to go through the hassle of obtaining a driver's license in a foreign country when you don't have to.
Plus, have you ever driven on the right side of the road? Not fun at all! And don't get me started on motorbikes. I still haven't recovered from my first and last attempt at driving one.
As a test, I started being more active at home last week. I washed the dishes after every meal. I cleaned up after my messy kid. And, whenever she wanted to play, I dropped my work to play with her. And you know what I realized? My job is not to make sure my kid has a play buddy or to clean the floors so damn good that we could eat off them. My fucking job is not to make sure everything and everyone is okay.
Do you know what my job is?
To do my best. Perfect doesn't exit. And, when the time comes we move back home, I'll continue to do the best I can with what I have and if people don't like it, they can suck it.
The moral of this post is to stop worrying about things that haven't happened. Believe in yourself. And, remember just how wonderful you are, no matter what life throws your way.
Have you experienced life abroad? Do you know of someone who has? Let me know. I'd love to hear all about it.