The life of an expat is often decorated by romantic dreams of the unknown adorned with exotic travel; the easy life surrounded by adventure that lurks around every corner. While some of the idealizations are true, there is still the day – to – day that most do not take into consideration. The plethora of unknowns that even after nine years still leave us distraught with uncertainty and milling our way through uncharted territories can at times feel nothing short of overwhelming.
Often times, we are caught in a turbulent upstream swim that leaves us treading water. Sometimes slowly twirling our legs under water, and other times, we are frantically thrashing around searching, grasping for anything to take hold. We long for waves that will induce a sense of calm, a generous rush of release. Not all moments are filled with quiet desperation, and thus we must not forget to send a silent “thank you” for the days that are easy, the hope of the days to come, the moments that were filled and will once again be experienced with sacred ease. Taking the time to reflect on all the tiny moments that weave themselves into the beautiful expanse of tender days is what we must remember.
Ah, but this year, there is something about venturing into our ninth year that seems to be marked by a deep sense of longing. Never before have we felt the pang and the urge to retreat home, to bask in the familiar and wrap our arms around the comfort of family. Quite possibly due to mounting stress, the darkness of the winter or the departure of yet again, another wave of dear friends, we find ourselves thinking about home. We are no strangers to the yo-yo of emotions that come with our expat existence; the longing for the life we left behind, despite feeling grounded in the home we have created.
Even if we had been told, warned to brace ourselves for the journey we were about to begin, the doors that would open and those that would close, we might not have heeded the well intended words of wisdom. We might have turned a check to the advice; for life is a lesson and one that we are determined to learn by seeking answers independently. Experience has now taught us to embrace our life regardless of where we reside; to make the most of a life unknown, but to not abandon the life, the people, the places we once knew and still love. For the past roots us to who we are, the people we love, the values we hold dear, and the experiences that ground us.
“Walk slow, look above, embrace life.” Unknown