There are some days when being an expat sux.
Sure, you have them too. Feeling crappy isn't unique to anyone.
You don't know where to find the items you need to cook dinner, or to get your hair done; you feel like a good chat with someone and don't know anyone well enough to confide in, you've an appointment in town and have no idea how to get there AAAAGHHHHHH
But the stuff that sux the most is simply being an expat and not being HOME, or THERE.
HOME is where you come from originally. Where people know you the best, the longest. It's where family and friends blend to become one. THERE can be many places - it's all the places you've lived and called home and made friends who become family and then you and/or they move onto another gig and they are somewhere else.
It's complicated and straight forward all at the same time.
The time's when being an expat sux is when events are happening where you are not. It's that simple.
Life goes on .........
There's no way to get there.
You're going to miss out.
You learn to cope.
Realistically you can't be everywhere!
Depending on the distance between you and there, it may very well be prohibitive to pop back for stuff - cost of flights, length of flights, what has to happen to ensure you can be away for a week or more in terms of your immediate family ......... some friends and family do. Cousins in Sydney have 2 of their 4 kids living in Israel and they 'pop over' often; another friend of mums has a daughter living interstate in Australia, and they fly back n forth every 6 weeks (stay for a week or so). Facebook friends often post 'heading back to (insert city)' or 'looking forward to (insert city). How LUCKY are they!?
You miss out on all sorts of 'big birthday' celebrations, school concerts, engagements, anniversaries, weddings, births, 1st birthday parties and more.
How do you choose one event over another? Flying to be at one friends 50th and not for everyone else's? What about weddings?
And it's a two way street - they've missed out on yours too.
It's not just the good time stuff either that is hard to be away from.
It's not being there to give a friend a hug when they are hurting.
Or not being able to cook a spag bol and pop over to a friend when they are unwell, or their run off their feet and you can help them out.
Or sitting with them while their kids (or husband, you know who I'm talking about), or themselves are in hospital.
How I wish to own a pair of Dorothy slippers sometimes. 3 Clicks and HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Bitching and ranting over Skype isn't quite the same as doing it in person, but at least it's an option. Time zones sux too while I'm ranting.
Sometimes our 'thick skinned attitude' worries me. We can't be seen to be a blubbering mess because as one very close friend often reminds me, it's our choice to live this life, we learn to live with it and just get on with things.
We send flowers.
We make phone calls.
We post cards.
We comment on Facebook.
We smile, to hide the upset and disappointment.
We become pragmatic in order to survive.
So while you might think being an expat is all fancy and full of adventure it also SUX.
My niece has just been accepted into the Sydney Youth Ballet and will be performing on stage at the Opera House over Christmas in the Nutcracker.
I am so proud of her.
I am also pissed off, angry and mightily disappointed that I won't be there to see her debut.
Sometimes, being an expat sux.
The thing is, if something majorly horrid happened, we'd be on a plane quick-sticks. Shame we can't do that for all the majorly happy stuff too.
So while out of sight, trust me, at least where this expat family is concerned, it's never out of mind.
How do you cope missing out on stuff?
How often do you fly 'home' or 'there'?
Does it even bother you?
How have you reconciled with this situation?
What do family and friends back 'home' think?