Most people when they close their eyes and think of what “The Expat Life” is like imagine travel, cocktails, pools and glamorous locations. Lots of pampering, lots of money and lots of time.
I’ve been told more than once that my life is “glamorous” and it seems people really don’t want to hear the full truth but are content in their belief that my life is a shiny, happy one. Quite frankly, that bugged me but I couldn’t quite articulate my feelings, until last night when I was watching the George Clooney movie “The Descendants” and the opening lines really, really resonated with me.
My friends think that just because we live in Hawaii, we live in paradise. We’re all just out here sipping Mai Tai’s, shaking our hips and catching waves. Are they insane? Do they think we’re immune to life? How can they possibly think our families are less screwed up? Our heartaches, less painful?
I have sipped cocktails. I have travelled more in 18 months than I did in the previous 38 years. I’ve sat by numerous pools and even had a few massages.
But these are just the bookends of my life.
Expat or not, I still referee my kids insane bickering bouts, clean skid marks off the toilet bowl, make the beds, curse every member of my family for their complete inability to change a freaking toilet roll, do the grocery shopping, attempt to keep my children out of the bathroom when I am on the loo, fold the laundry and do all the other bits and pieces that every single person on the planet does to keep their life moving. Family crises still happen (and there has been the mother of all of crises in my extended family of late), people and pets still die and hearts still break.
It really is “same shit, different country”.
If you’re a prospective expat and are looking forward to the move to escape the “everyday” of your life in your home country, then you’re going to be disappointed. But if you keep in mind that the “everyday” will travel with you to the new country but still get out and soak in the “newness” of your new destination then you’ll probably do just fine.
If you’re an expat already then I’m certain you know what I’m talking about here.
And if you know me from Australia you should know I am wearing my oldest, most worn out Suzanne Grae shorts with a tank top that has Gravox smeared on the front. Soooo glamorous!