Just over a month ago we hit the 4 year mark of our expat adventure. Four years! I remember thinking before we left Australia that our three year contract would go slowly, but it really has gone very fast.
After four years I am in a very good place. Life in Singapore is my normal. All of the uncertainty of those first months has gone. Grocery shopping doesn’t bring me to tears any more. The GPS is rarely turned on, unless I’m heading somewhere out of my usual routine. When I hear the traffic report on the car radio I know exactly what PIE, KJE, CTE, AYE and MCE all mean. I even answer with can/can not rather than yes or no. I can pronounce Tampines properly (almost.
But…. within a year our life may look very different. The company my husband works for has a strict maximum limit of 5 years for expat assignments. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we will be heading home within the year as there’s a distinct possibility the OH could switch to a local contract and stay in Singapore.
Repatriation, a new country and staying in Singapore will all involve a great deal of change. All have their pluses and minuses. And all are exciting in their own ways.
Unless you’ve lived this expat life, where massive life changes can come out of the blue which makes uncertainty something that is lived with daily, this seems a strange way to live. I cope by not trying to dwell on the ‘what ifs?’ too much and trusting that which ever way the cards fall that things will work out. If we head home it’ll be fine. If we stay here it’ll be fine, and if we move to another country it will be fine (eventually!).
I share your feelings, especially that those that haven’t experienced this life, however much they try cannot understand. As you say I’m, sure things will be fine x
This is definitely the expat life. To live ungrounded not knowing where you will be next year or the one after or the one after that.
I get asked all to often “how long are you going to be there?” It’s hard not to get irritated at such a question, when there is no answer to give and the it would be too difficult to explain to the asker the nature of this game. My answer is always “Until we are not,” with a smile. Sometimes it gets the point across, other times it confuses the asker.