I'm NOT fullfilled, I'm NOT happy, I've talked about depression and all the other crap that goes with being an #expat.
It's NOT just me, I've reached out to 100's of expats online, via groups (face to face meetings) and it doesn't matter if you're from the UK living in South Africa (me), Japan, Saudi, USA or from any other country living anywhere else. It's bloody hard work being an expat.
Lonely, alien, frustrating, well you'd expect that wouldn't you for the first few months, maybe even a year, But, 2 years on? come on someone please slap me with a wet fish, wake me up, give me Dorothy's red slippers and wave your wand and send me home please.
But home is where now? I've lost friends, people lose interest. They think you are living in Paradise, but they forget you still have the same struggles, health, finances, kids, education etc, etc. But they don't see the other issues you have of not knowing a single person, not being able to get in the car and popping round to see your mum, not knowing how anything works. It's not as if you can ask someone to recommend where you buy your car tax from when it's called something completly different.
Everyone seems to think that the constant sunshine solves all evils and a dip in the pool will cheer me up.
I NEED a job, not for financial reasons, but for self satisification. I volunteer with Adults with disabilities and Children with mental health issues. I work in townships, with children who are orphaned by AIDS, I give and I get short term satisfaction from it. I've learnt new skills, to sew, written a book (needs editing and a publisher) I can name different types of species of birds and antelopes. I have made friends, I've established a network, but I'm still struggling.
Don't tell me to shut up moaning, I have my health, the love of my family etc. " years out of 41 years is a very short time in which to adapt and as an expat there is always the fear that sticks will be uprooted sooner rather than later, a constant feeling of insecurity and imminent change don't just lurk on the horizon, it lives with you.
I've spent two years feeling like a failure. I no longer have a career, can't call myself a SAHM, and if you know me, you'll understand why I don't want to play golf and join the expat wife scene.
Every experience I've had since we moved here has been because of other people. I've certainly made the most of the sunshine, pool, wildlife, voluntary work, holidays, because that's what I do...I survive. But it was all over shadowed by the lack of care, support and help and broken promises. That, I now realise was and still is out of my control. I have made our families transistion to South Africa a success, I had no help, knew no one, knew nothing.
I AM A SUCCESS. I MOVED MY FAMILY 6000 MILES AWAY TO THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD, TO A COUNTRY THAT IS FAMED FOR ITS VIOLENCE. MY HUSBAND IS ABLE TO DO HIS JOB, MY CHILDREN HAVE A FANTASTIC LIFESTYLE, EDUCATION AND OPPORTUNITIES.
I NEED TO CELEBRATE THAT, NOT MOURN WHAT I'VE LOST....BECAUSE I'VE GAINED MORE THAN I NEVER KNEW WAS POSSIBLE AND OK I MAY FEEL A LITTLE OVERWHELMED BY IT ALL FROM TIME TO TIME AND I HAVE TO ALLOW MYSELF THAT FEELING. WHO KNOWS WHAT MAY COME OF THIS.