What makes an expat’s experience unique? Top of our MobileRecharge.com heads, here are at 11 things that keep coming and coming to make the ; 11 situations that are specific to an expat’s life. They are side effects of moving to another country and making the shift to another culture, trying to adapt and to cope with oneself and others outside comfort zone.
#1 “Where are you from?”
No need to say more. It’s like someone put the gun to your head and asked for whatever is most priceless without confessing the real intention. In other words, “I know you’re an expat, so what’s your origin country, where were you born?” or “Where did you go to school as a child?” stuff like that.
Of course, there is also a most polite version for most polite faces, that expats don’t really get the core of. Especially in UK you can seldom hear: “What’s your heritage?”
#2 Most stories start with “Back in…”
It’s inevitable not to drop a line about home sweet home. So, many of your stories start with “Back in…” like:
“Back in Myanmar, nobody was amazed when I mentioned the floating gardens.”
“Back in Cuba I used to dance in the streets, and look at Havana through a convex lens.”
“Back in Nigeria the power went down several times a day, so that doesn’t scare me a bit!”
“Back in Nepal, ‘Namaste’ was a morning word, and not only a salute at the end of Yoga classes.”
“Back in Jamaica, I used to have as much callaloo as spinach in the States.”
#3 Adapting is breaking stereotypes and growing as an individual
It’s not like you had a choice as a newly arrived expat. Adapt or adapt! :) And on the way, you learned to break stereotypes because you saw their effect on you. You needed to have an open mind about people, places, jobs, types of work, different personality styles, expectations, cultural backgrounds, education… you name it. And you made it up to a point. That’s called growing and even if there’s still a long way to go, you should be proud of yourself. Moving away from motherland is getting out of your comfort zone, and that’s the best human lesson.
#4 English is not enough to express yourself sometimes
English became your second skin, but what keeps you cool in summer days is your mother tongue, and the expat language. It sounds a bit strange when we put it like that, but it sounds familiar, right? Remember when you wanted to ask the right question, but it was easier to draw it than express it verbally? At that point mother tongue steps in. It would be the best tool, and it would take you out of the expat zone immediately. Only if the other foreigners around would just get it!
#5 You top up mobiles regularly
That is, your native country where most of your old friends are, and where part of your family still lives. Oh, not to mention that’s the paradise of your childhood versus your expat hectic jungle nowadays. There are so many people back home remembered for their contribution to your life! It comes easily then to return the favor by sending them mobile credit. Hundreds of people like you use MobileRecharge.com for the same reasons. But also others: the top up is instant, and by making the refill online, everyone saves time. Plus, there are generous promotions daily that help you send extra free credit too.
#6 Flying once a year is a must
Your foreign friends talk about flying on vacations, you talk about flying as a family duty. At least once a year, you’re struggling to find the best deal home. By the way, did you check Flying.com for that?
#7 There are words whose meaning you can only guess
Smiling became top of your vocabulary. Remember how many times local expressions took by surprise, so that you could only use your intuition to meet both ends of a conversation? Funny to tell, pretty uncomfortable to experience, right?
#8 Home is a strange concept
If for most your American, Canadian, Australian or European friends “home” is a clear concept leading to one location, you are living la vida doble. Meaning, in some situations “home” is where your family is, the country where you were born, raised and educated. Other times, it’s your current cozy apartment, or the streets you pass by when getting to work now. That is, your new life abroad.
#9 “Visa” is like “Good morning”
You’ve heard “Visa” so many times that it’s part of your vocabulary. You have included it in your recipes as an ingredient! Kidding… But you get the point.
#10 The closest exchange office is your own mind
You keep exchanging currencies in your mind even if you have been an expat for a while now. But it seems to you that the correct value is only in Rupees, or Mexican or Cuban Pesos and so on.
#11 You feel like having more than 1 personality
It’s not that you have anything worth a treatment :) like dissociative identity disorder, but it’s just that you have adapted so easily to the new life, that you are two in one.