May 19, 2012

expat

Expat: v. - To give up residence in one's homeland.
adj. - Exile. A person who is voluntarily absent from home or country

Its a funny thing being an expat. At first things are new and exciting and you see everything as an adventure. But after a while you realize that you just signed a contract to live in this place for a while and mundane routine sets in. Of course, I can always travel somewhere close and new on the weekends but when your working, trying to save money and have a social life it can be hard to balance it all. This blog really is an outlet for me to vent my frustrations when living abroad becomes overwhelming, when I feel like running away again. More often I find myself perusing the Portland craigslist for jobs and houses and dreaming about shopping for sizes that actually fit and being able to order food and know what I am getting. Of course, I know that would probably seem boring after a while, but this back and forth mentality is a trademark of the typical expat.

Who could be unhappy living in paradise?

I have not been back to the states in almost 2 years and its quite scary to think how long it will be before I can go back (the Thai baht to US dollar exchange is not favorable for my salary.) There are more opportunities for me in Asia and it is pretty pathetic that it is actually better for me to live here because of the shitty job market for young people with bachelor degrees in America. I don't want to move back home and have to live with my mom or work as a waitress again. I want to have a real life and Asia seems to be the only way I can provide myself with one right now. It may be a few more years til I can get back home, find a job and go to graduate school and while I might have to fight off a little homesickness once in a while, adventure and independence are a good selling point (plus I can't even afford a ticket home with my laughable savings.)

It's not always easy, its not always fun, but most of the time living abroad is a rewarding experience that is daily making me a stronger person with an open mind and heart (I always say that because it sounds like what should be happening, but I am still waiting for some proof that it is...)  I still have a lot to learn and patience has never been my strong point but while there are times I wish I had enough money to just be a "traveler" the total immersion of being an "expat" makes me appreciate home all the more, and I have been known to take it for granted in the past...

As an expat there are some parts of my life that most people I know would find ridiculous that I now find totally normal and sometimes down right genius (a lot of them annoy the shit of me too!) This is my life and it isn't changing soon. Guess I should just enjoy it!

~ Most of my food I buy from a vendor on the street for about 1 dollar. And it is delicious! (Usually it doesn't make me sick, even though food preparation standards are appalling!)
~ Riding my motorbike through the jungle,on my way home, careful to brake for soi dogs. 
~ My dentist doesn't wear shoes, nor do I during work. 
~ The shower is heated by a little electric water heater over the faucet, it is always hot and never runs out!
~ Forks are stupid. Spoons are necessary and chopsticks are useful but the pronged utensil is essentially useless except for shoveling my food onto my spoon.. 
~ I put my hands my together by face to greet and thank people. 
~ I don't drink my beer without ice. 
~ I wear long sleeve shirts when I go out even though it is 30 degrees, because I know I will be cold in the AC.
~ My pay-as-I-go phone is eerily similar to the first phone I had when I was 15, it barely texts but it was 20 bucks and I can fill up the credit at my local 7/11.
~ I can pick my seats before I buy tickets to a movie - Why they don't do this in America is beyond me!
~ I tune out pretty much everyone talking around me. I never want to listen to stupid conversations again.
~ For breakfast I enjoy eating grilled chicken skewers and sticky rice sold by the man that drives around with a portable grill attached to his motorbike. Super gross but OH, so good!
~ I used to think it was cool to get stared at. Now I just find it annoying and ridiculous. It's really difficult not to yell "Why don't you just take a picture, douche!" 

Fellow expats, can you think of any others to add to the list?

Thinking of home always
Be well,
Elizabeth

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4 comments:

  1. Really excited to hear where you go next!

    Korea round 2?!

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    Replies
    1. We are throwing that idea around! I just think about that cold winter and I don't know if I can do it again! I was made for the heat!

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  2. How about all the gelatinous or jelly desserts!!? Crazy shit! And having to cover your shoulders with a sweater or jacket when it's 30C outside is un-freaken-bearable. And I don't care where you are in Thailand...there's going to be a damn rooster in the vicinity.

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  3. haha yeah, man thai deserts are really the worst! haha.. i love that you have to bring a sweater to go on the BTS cause its so damn cold. lol roosters. yup, true!

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