31 days. I can’t quite believe I made it! Granted, I’m three days late in finishing, but here we finally are at day 31. It’s been so interesting writing this series. It’s different from anything I’ve done before – my posts are usually spontaneously written about whatever it is in my life that has been taking up most thinking-space.
I’ve loved most that you’ve given me your input along the way, told me what made you say, “Yes! That’s exactly it!” and when your experience has been very different from mine. I keep saying it, but the expat experience is unique for every person, because we bring our own personalities, our own histories, our own baggage and expectations to it. And so what it looks like to embrace expat life is also going to vary. But I hope this series has also reminded you, like it has me, that we share a lot of common experience.
And so if there’s one thing I want to finish with, it’s the first thing I wrote down on my list when I was planning this series, and the one thing I keep coming back to as the most important thing: Live as if you’ll be here forever. Embrace this moment, this time, without regretting what it past or impatiently waiting for what will come next.
One of the keys to a happy and full life is being present in this moment, being grateful for it – hard bits and all – and being open and attentive to all it has to offer. And this is so very applicable to expat life, with all it’s newness and challenges and strangeness and wonderful surprises.
Live as if you’ll be here forever. Make friends, replace your home comforts with local comforts, commit to learning the language, get to know your neighbours, volunteer your time, get involved in your children’s schools and your neighbourhood groups. Yes, put down roots.
It seems counterintuitive, but when you eventually move on, the sadness and difficulty in leaving will be eclipsed by the gratitude for having been able to truly call this place “home” for a time. You will take memories of adventures had, challenges overcome, moments celebrated. And those are worth more than gold.
Thank you for coming along for the ride this last month (and three days!). I’m so grateful for you, for your comments and your feedback. I’m going to take a break for a couple of days, but then I’ll be back with more of my ponderings and musings on this big adventure that is life.
If you missed out on any of my #31 Days to Embrace Expat Life, you can find them all listed here. This page will be kept up, so you can always find a post here or send fellow or new expats here for some encouragement and advice.
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