Are you ready to be an expat? Am I ready to be one?

9개월 전

Not meaning to stir some feathers, just a personal observation derived from my personal life and inspired by the very interesting mix of SAFFAS I have met so far.

'Are you really ready to be an expat?'; is the question that's been on my mind for the last few weeks and especially in the light of the upcoming elections which I know a lot of expats are watching with bated breath. I am on a lot of expat groups and I try and read as many as the posts that I can make time for and I have noticed that there is definitely more than one type of expat and I am writing this very much tongue in cheek so take it as such. I am after all an inhabitant of the same island and environment that you are and we all are living through most of the same processes and experiences all though we all have different reactions and expectations.

After being in Mauritius four months and counting I am still hesitant to call myself an expat. Unlike some other people on the island, we did not come here to escape the political situation although even having said that; I am extremely grateful for feeling safer living here than back at home. I do however often feel like it's a bit of a play-play situation as it's unlikely to be a permanent stop for our particular family due to the high investment costs and not being able to get citizenship which for us is a sure sign that we will move on at some point. Yes, I know it is a shocker but some of us are here on a budget and not because we have bucket loads of money. :)

Due to the fact that hubby does not really want to return to South Africa in the immediate future, we are in the process of exploring other options which made me think: ARE YOU READY TO BE AN EXPAT?

Are you ready to leave your country and all you love in the dust of the immigration process? To either never return or when you do to do so as an occasional tourist in your place of birth? To not hear your language spoken, around each and every corner, often laughing at the sayings you hear. I see expats here default to Afrikaans with a sigh of relief the moment they detect other SAFFAS in the vicinity. Are you ready for a country you don't know, To not have the familiarity of knowing which roads you should take, not knowing where to find what you need, nor knowing where you should be at any given time when the GPS leaves you in the lurch? Are you ready to live on an island that is smaller than the average province back home? With no open spaces and people everywhere?

Are you ready to embrace a culture that is not yours? A religion that you might disagree with? A country that might not respect your point of view? Politics that you know nothing of? Shops that don't stock what you want?

Are you really really ready to be an expat? Are you ready to forsake your biltong and boerewors and to leave your family behind? Are you willing to give up all you owned in South Africa, to sell up, throw out, give away and leave with nothing but the clothes in your suitcases and the money in your bank account?

Are you a 'temporary' expat with one foot in your country of birth and living a comfortable safe life in another while you wait out to see how the politics play out always keeping your options open? Or are you a 'hardcore', sell it all, greet your friends and family, knowing you won't be returning soon, expat that moves to another country FULLY embracing their cultures and whatever they might offer?

Are you really ready to be an expat if you still fly in your favorite products from your home country and complain about what this one has on offer? Once again, no criticism meant, I saw the poll on our local group asking what people fly back in their suitcases coming back from SA and it made me think. What would I fly in if anything? Truth? I wouldn't personally bother with food and products but that's just me.

I would much rather fly in some of my personal belongings that I miss, stuff that is all in storage. We took a firm decision NOT to bring our furniture over and rather put it in storage so I do miss having my own stuff around but I am now also living in a new country and I am trying to embrace all that it has to offer, from food to clothing to housing and more.
I am after all in a country that caters to most of my physical needs and even though NOTHING here tastes the same as home, this is now my new home? NOt?

Are you ready to be an expat if you have the backup of leaving if your new country doesn't ever satisfy your needs? Some have this option others don't and I think that makes a huge difference in how you perceive and approach life in your host country wherever that might be.

Are you ready to be alone in a country where you have no friends or family? Because it's hard, trust me. Getting to know new people from scratch. People who don't know you, who don't know your history, your story, your life. Because we are humans this is something of great importance to us. That people must know who we are and who we were in our old life.

Are you ready to be in a country where NOTHING is different but NOTHING is the same? You can watch television but in French. You can listen to the radio but in French. You can talk to the lady in the shop if you can speak French. You can buy food here, but it is not all that you are used to.

Are you ready to be an expat in a country where the house you live in most likely is a furnished rental with NOTHING belonging to you? Where buying a car is such a mission that you'd rather rent at a higher price. Are you ready to walk in the shops not knowing the products that you buy and not understanding the language printed on the sides? Are you ready to be the foreigner and not the local because this is their country and not yours?

Are you ready for trying to make new friends and possible meltdowns and personality clashes in the process? Are you ready to not see your family for a really long time? Are you ready to embrace your new country as your new home and not just a temporary playground for fun?

Are you ready to be an expat where your host country makes the rules and you have to comply? Are you ready to be an expat when you have to validate your being there, you have to convince them that they need you more than you need them?

I have no choice but to be a 'hardcore' expat due to hubby's reluctance to return to SA. He should have been born a nomad as he loves new adventures as do I but having been the mom that had to care for the kids whilst he was earning our keep, it's only now that I will be following in pursuit of new ventures. We have no home to return to in SA. What we didn't sell we put in storage and we are definitely planning on moving on to a country where we will (hopefully) get citizenship so for us at the moment there is no turning back. It is both an amazingly, disconcertingly, rudderless feeling scaring the crap out of me at times but on the other hand, it is also a feeling of extreme freedom, one of NOTHING holding you back. What about you?

Are you an expat for life or just a temporary one? Are you here to stay or are you just on time-out until you can return? There is NO judgment here, just me being curious and interested as a people watcher and an overthinker. I will always be a South African which is something no one can ever take away and I don't know what life holds for me or you but I wish us all the best of luck on this journey that is both horrid and wonderful at times.

If you had bothered to take the time to read this blog please take a few minutes to respond either on the FB post or on here below the blog. It would be much appreciated.

Credit for this blog goes to Karolien de Kock from www.karolien-thereslifeafterkids.com which is my own site. Feel free to sign up to receive new blogs in your inbox 📬
@karolienthereslifeafterkids
@our_mauritius_moments is my Instagram accounts where you can follow my journey
all photos my own

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Hi @dkkarolien

Wow, awesome post! I already wondered why your name sounded so Dutch, you're South-African... of course...

I can't - or I don't even want - imagine what it would be like to leave Belgium and everything here behind. It would be my worst nightmare.

I noticed your blog was built on Wordpress. I have a tip that can save you time and effort: there is a free plugin - 'Steempress' - that cross-posts the articles you publish on your blog to your SteemIt blog on autopilot, without the risk of getting penalized for duplicate content.
On top of that, if the developers of the plugin think you've published a quality post, they might give you an upvote. They have a curation trail (people copying their voting behavior), so that could result in quite some votes.

Just search the WP plugins database for Steempress, it is available to download for free. You can find more info on the @steempress blog. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I have been using it for a while.

It seems to me like you're doing great. Reading this post, I think you will be adding a lot of value to the Steem blockchain. Great work.

Have you joined Discord yet? In my initial comment, I told you about the Steem Terminal server on Discord. They have a channel where you can promote your posts.
You can join them here:
https://discord.gg/XZGPGpz

Keep up the good work!!

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You’re in Belgium? Lol I have family that moved there and we visit them often or they come visit us! I can see why you wouldn’t want to give it up that’s easily I really enjoyed my time there and my family love it there

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We're in Mauritius currently but looking at other options

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I've submitted your post to the @c-squared Discord channel (https://discord.gg/5BqXa7a). They curate good posts and I think this one has a chance to be selected for an upvote from them and their trail. Who knows, it might even be picked up by @curie, which is a one of the most important curation initiatives around.
I can't promise anything, but I can at least try 😉

I will also resteem it with the @newbieresteemday account. It's an initiative that was set up a little over a year ago to support promising newcomers. We each went a different way, so it has been dormant for the last 8 months. It still has quite some followers, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to bring it back to life again.

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@simplymike 😁 thank you... Did not understand what that means but I glean its good news.. 😂 Much appreciated. Will check it out. Been busy and need to catch up here a bit today

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@simplymike yay another tip!! I've been driving myself crazy with copying and pasting 😂😂😂 will download plug-in myself, self taught techie that I am.. 😜 Tried to figure discord, not there yet.. Will give it another shot. Thanks so much for the valuable tip. I post on so many platforms that I can do with saving some time. Re: my name. Yes I am Afrikaans born and bred back in South Africa. Now residing in Mauritius as my husband is a captain on a fishing vessel. I think my great great grandfather came from Sweden. Wish we could rather do the expat thing in Europe but a bit too expensive for our currency. Anyhow. 6h25 here and I need some tea to start my brain cells.. 😂 Have a good one

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I'm a self-taught techie too. Didn't know anything when I decided - years ago - I wanted to build a webshop to sell all our junk. So Mr. Google became one of my best friends, lol. Learned a little HTML, tried PHP, but that was too much, my brain couldn't comprehend 😂

Over the years, I learned myself to build and promote websites. WP is still my favorite.

With WP, there are almost endless possibilities...

Btw, you say you post to so many platforms... I hope that's not all copy/paste work you are doing? You can automate most things using your RSS feed and IFTTT. I have a couple of autoblogs, and I'm sharing the posts to like a zillion platforms, all hands-free and on complete autopilot.
If you don't know about IFTTT, I recommend checking it out, for sure!👍
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It would destroy me to give up my beautiful life in South Africa. As a retired person I trust and pray that my pension is safe. The supply of basic needs like water and electricity is whimsical and deeply concerning. Today we have voted and wait to hear what our fate will be.
To leave is not on my agenda but I understand fully why people who have young children want a different life.
I hope that your dreams for your future will come to be.

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@justjoy thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read and comment. Yes it's a hard decision. We left due to job opportunities not because of the crime and because hubby loves new adventures and now that the kids are older we can do it together. But I do worry about the parents and family members and friends we left behind. We believe and pray for South Africa and all of the people we have left behind on our journey. This article has elicited an overwhelming response on many platforms just showing me how lonely people are in their new host countries. 😞

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My daughter says it is the most terrible heart wrenching journey that she has ever faced. She daily mourns the loss of family.
Far reaching consequences that one doesn't even think of.

Not that everything is perfect here but I don't think I would ever be able to leave everything behind to start somewhere else - great post :)

Hi there, @dkkarolien!

Very cool post... and to answer your question: no, I am not ready to be an expat. I'm very well in this little country and here, I shall remain. I love visiting other countries, but so far, I prefer mine to live in.

Congratulations on being featured by @simplymike in an entry for the Pay It Forward Contest

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@trincowski thanks. Yes it's a hard decision.. We could probably easily end up in Portugal. Wouldn't mind at all. 😊 Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read and comment. I'm grateful for @simplymike for entering me in the competition

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I know a lot of expats, even some SAR ones. As for the lifers, at what point do expats stop being expats and start just being migrants? Obviously citizenship would be a good measure, but let's say dual citizenship is not possible in your new country and you are reluctant to give up your native one. I used to think it was based on links to your home country, but the longer you stay the weirder using the word home country for a place that is no longer home feels.

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@abitcoinsceptic good point. I have moved a lot and lived out of our country in a neighboring one so i wasn't really an expat. Now I'm still close and technically Mauritius is part of the sadec countries which falls under Africa. I see Mauritius as Africa on an island as it shares many of the same problems and issues and the signs of neglect is everywhere. People here are just much more passive and less aggressive than back home so at least I don't lie awake worrying about the safety of my family which is a very real thing in South Africa. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment

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Your post was featured in an entry into @pifc's Curation Contest:Week 57. Posts are selected because the entrant felt you are producing great content and deserve more attention (& rewards) on your post. As such your post has been upvoted and will be visited by other members of the PIFC Community.

We are always looking for new people to join our curation efforts. This is a great way to meet new people and become part of a community that focuses on helping one another.

Want to promote a post for free and have a chance to find some other great content? Check out this week's Pimp Your Post.

The Pay It Forward community also has a Discord Channel if you are interested in learning more about us.

My mom was literally talking about moving to Mauritius the other day for her retirement and shes like its only 5 hours away she can come back at any time get all her favourite products. Lol its really a case of I want the best of SA without being in SA or just get SA in manageable dosages, I'm also thinking of calling it quits, to be honest, really need to get my act going through put it off long enough

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@chekohler tell your mom it's beautiful but not paradise. 😉 We're already looking at different horizons within the foreseeable future. ☺️ Thank you for taking the time to read and comment

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Your post has been resteemed by @newbieresteemday to give it some more exposure.

I think being an expat is good for most people. I was in the UK for 16 years - it was a good experience, though I now feel that I'm somewhere between there in the US. :-)

Great post. I found you because @simplymike featured you in the Pay it Forward Curation Contest. Keep up the great work!

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@viking-ventures it's a great adventure but what I do see is people that don't think it though properly and then struggle to cope. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read and comment. I'm grateful for @simplymike for entering me in the competition.

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I can see how that would be true in some cases.
If they didn't learn enough about their destination beforehand or are unable to adjust to language barriers quickly enough.

I was lucky in that way - I only went from one English-speaking country to another (though I would love to give myself the education that only an immersion language situation can give you!) Still, there were many words which I needed to change in my vocabulary, prejudice from people who didn't like 1. Americans 2. immigrants in general - despite the fact I moved in with a husband and child.

I had to find new answers to old problems (which is the best laundry soap to use? or where the heck do they keep buttermilk?)

Most importantly, I had to be willing to ask the "stupid questions" in order to learn. :-)

Following you so we can chat more about our experiences being an expat.

Mmm, I would never leave without a plan and once I have left I would not return. Unfortunately, the option is not available yet and till then I stay. I do not have a single bit of patriotism or whatchamacallit where I would miss anything and that is not just for over a country, or something silly like food or culture. I guess it is harder for people who have strings.

As I say I guess I am fortunate not to look at things ( people included) as permanent. The main thing I can identify keeping me from just going nomad is probably that the next step is unknown, no logical security or some weird mental block haha.

Yet once I leave then that is that, and I know people use the phrase "dead to me" but I can honestly say I implement the phrase :)

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@penderis the short answer to this is probably... Home is ultimately where the heart is... I think in any case. Well answered and I see your point. We are all different and we experience life in different ways.

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