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What Happens When You Live Abroad

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What Happens When You Live Abroad

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 10:03 am

This past Monday 11 June, 2012 I celebrated 30 years in Asia! :shock:

This article set me to thinking.......

http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/what-hap ... U.facebook

How about you guys/gals? :-k

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Re: What Happens When You Live Abroad

Postby the lynx » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 10:37 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:This past Monday 11 June, 2012 I celebrated 30 years in Asia! :shock:

This article set me to thinking.......

http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/what-hap ... U.facebook

How about you guys/gals? :-k


:(

So true

Yet, I had no regret on living abroad for work. I've done many awesome stuff, met awesome people, going to meet more awesome people and met my boyfriend :)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 11:13 am

I met my current wife and had two great kids here (just to piss off JR8! :devil: ) but still there is a lot of truth in the article and in a lot of the comments. Funny, but I never missed home and at one point I spent from 1984 to 1995 without stepping foot in my home country. Only in the past 5 years or so have I been starting to feel "homesick" but on the occasions I've been back, I'm no longer "at home" when I'm there either. :???:

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Postby nakatago » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 11:18 am

You don't have to be a different person when you relocate. You can always be the sum of all the experiences and changes of all current living conditions. Missing things from your original home is natural but one should not view it as a lost but rather an episode you were glad to have gone through.

-clink, clink-

:)

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Postby Mi Amigo » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 1:54 pm

That's an interesting and thought-provoking article, thanks for sharing it sms. And congratulations on your 30 year anniversary! :cool:

I think Nak is right that you become a 'sum of parts' from all your past experiences. Many people here will have lived in a number of different countries over the years (this is the forth for me) and it's true that you definitely collect things along the way. And they change you irrevocably so that in some ways you can never truly 'go back' (assuming you want to anyway).

Overall I consider all my 'expat' experiences (even one that ended badly) to have been hugely beneficial - you always learn so much and everything is useful in some way for the future. But somewhere in the background I always have a sort of vague, low level anxiety about what I may have given up in return for all the benefits. At the end of the day though (and I know this is a cheesy cliche), 'home' is really the place (physical and mental) that your loved ones create for you.

Sorry for rambling a bit; it's hard (for me at least) to put this kind of stuff down in words accurately.
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Postby carteki » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 2:55 pm

Apparently it was a paid advertising piece for skype (not sure - couldn't see the ads).

Recently it has dawned on me that no matter where I go / don't go in my life I will always be an expat and I think much more so than the author realises because of the cycling of people that come through Singapore. I now have friends in just about all corners of the globe and actually find myself far more reluctant to make friends with newcomers to Singapore just because I know that they'll be leaving too.

In spite of what the author has said I do believe that it is possible to live abroad and not come home an expat. I was abroad for 2 years on my first stint away and on my return it felt as if I'd never left - my social diary was unchanged from 2 years previously, but this time after about 18 months away I realised that the experience changed me so much so that I'm not going to be able to "slot right in" again.

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 5:16 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:I met my current wife and had two great kids here (just to piss off JR8! :devil: )



'Double-que'? ('when one que? is just not enough').

Congrats! I wonder if you're the oldest expat in Singapore! :) :P :cool:

p.s. I look forward to reading the article a little later.

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Postby sanjivvohra » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 7:19 pm

Congrats SMS! here's wishing you luck in 'finding yourself'.
Sanjiv

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 7:20 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote: Funny, but I never missed home and at one point I spent from 1984 to 1995 without stepping foot in my home country. Only in the past 5 years or so have I been starting to feel "homesick" but on the occasions I've been back, I'm no longer "at home" when I'm there either. :???:


I think the article must describe the personal experience of someone whose background is very different to my own. I wonder where she is from? Maybe for them home and normal is that they, their parents, their schoolfriends, relatives barely ever move house (quite typically suburban American IME).

For me I moved house the length of the country the first time at a week old and never really stopped, and have zero geographic connection to anywhere in England through any family. Do I have sleepless nights over this... phh no. Did I become an expat to 'escape' who I was... phhh no, I did it to make money (I also note the writer suggests all expats have chosen to move abroad, which of course is not the case, and perhaps a result of her me-oriented thinking).

Right now we're in Europe and my SGn wife has been to London maybe 4 times these past 2 odd years. I have gone with her once (and that was to visit my parents). I really have no great desire to go.

I know nobody I went to school with, they now live at all four corners. I know nobody from the hard-core that I started my career with, they came from the four-corners and have now all returned. I know one person I went to uni with (I have no pressing desire to re-friend the others). None of my (English) family now live anywhere that means anything to me or my upbringing. So, where is this supposed home the writer suggests all expats ultimately pine for? It isn't.



p.s. Quite by coincidence not two hours ago I received a package. It is the DVD discs that I'd fiiiiiiinally ordered made off my home video tapes dating back as far as 20 years. These include tapes made on my first postings in Tokyo and SG plus lots of other wanderings, and I've watched none of these for 15 years, so something of a time capsule. I have to admit that I'm rather trepidatious about seeing how much I have changed in these intervening years... :)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 9:26 pm

But you must also remember, you may well be the exception rather than the rule. I left also for the money. Any money was fine at the time in my case. what started as a 12 month contract ended up 8 years. It was also an opportunity for an escape of sorts, as I was recently divorced as well. Various inputs into my life changed that 12 months to 30 years. We are all different as the various comments suggested. Like you not all agreed, and a considerable number do agree. Others have even different views. But at the end of the read, I found that is was interesting and provocative and did tend to make one do a retrospective of ones time abroad.

I suspect your future roomie on the board, Vaucluse, will have much the same outlook that you do as well. ;-)

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 9:54 pm

Yeah of course I appreciate experiences vary (hence the interest in discussing it). I suppose what I realise is that the first few years away I did miss 'home'. But then again at that time I still had what I consider a 'home'.

Keep in mind some young people in England leave home - permanently - to go to school at the age of five. Others at 11 and others still at 16. Moving across the country to go to university at say 18 is expected amongst those who have not gone earlier and just about anyone pursuing any kind of education. Thereafter you go where your career takes you, likely another city. So it is perhaps of note that many of the the kind of English people with the wherewithal to make it as expats don't sit coddled at home as in America until they're 21. They might already have 'moved world' (forcibly in my case hehehe...) and independently come to terms with it by the age of 6.

Imagine my surprise to move to the US for the first time and find that people on my street largely lived in the houses in which their parent's had once lived. It is perhaps no wonder that for such people moving country is considered such a leap.

p.s. As for carpet burns you got at the hotel, I can't help you darling. Try zinc cream is my suggestion. Perhaps Vaucluse has some left over hehe...

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Postby Asian_Geekette » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 10:51 pm

Congrats on your 30 years here sms!

You can donate your pictures throughout the years to some historical societies here. :P
My business is not to remake myself, but make the absolute best out of what God made. -Robert Browning

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Postby Mi Amigo » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 11:08 pm

Asian_Geekette wrote:You can donate your pictures throughout the years to some historical societies here. :P

I thought he already had...

Image
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Postby SingLaw » Thu, 14 Jun 2012 11:29 pm

I have a really hard time reconciling these Americans that sit at home until age 21 that JR8 is talking about with the America that I grew up in. If you compare the UK and the US, I think I would agree that Brits move around a bit more than Americans. On the other hand, that's kind of like comparing Singapore and Jakarta and concluding that Singapore isn't that hot. Brits and Americans both move way more than people in most other countries. If such a statistic could be found, I would venture to guess that both countries would be in the top 10 worldwide in terms of the number of people that move away from their hometown (Aussies would likely be first in my experience).

As for the article, I found that it mostly rang true. The more specific parts, like why you left home to start with, will always vary by person. That being said, I definitely know the fear that she describes. I have it right now in Norway and it's kicked into high gear again now that we've decided to move to Singapore.

For me, the hardest thing (and I've lived abroad for four years now) is to stop comparing everything. I'm finally getting to the point in Norway where I don't think, "You want me to pay WHAT for that tiny piece of meat?!?!", every single time I'm at the grocery store. The comparison idea is tough because, inevitably, the comparison isn't fair. It's almost impossible to actually compare the piece of meat in a Norwegian (or Singaporean or anywhere else) grocery store to the one in your head because the one in your head is fictional. It likely related to a real pork chop at a real grocery at some point, but at the time you think about it, it's an idealized (or dis-idealized) version. Thus, if things are going well in your new country, the comparison might be, "Wow, what a great ____ (fruit/bargain/view/experience) that I could never get back in the States" or if they're going poorly, it devolves into "What the hell am I doing here?"

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Postby JR8 » Fri, 15 Jun 2012 2:21 am

Mi Amigo wrote:
Asian_Geekette wrote:You can donate your pictures throughout the years to some historical societies here. :P

I thought he already had...

Image




Yeah look, that one still with hair in the funny pants is SMS when he originally made landfall at Ye Quay of Boattes

:P


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