This post is my contribution to the Daily Writing Project.
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The Expat Bubble? You know what I’m talking about! It’s hard to define but you know it when you live it. It’s not something to be proud of really. Perhaps a sense of aloof entitlement sums it up best? I’m not sure. A holier than though attitude. An “I live here but not really” frame of mind. One foot in, one foot out. Grass is always greener on the other side – until you cross over to the other side and you don’t realize how good you had it. I ramble.
Don’t misunderstand me. I too have spent my life living the “expat lifestyle” for as long as I can remember. In fact if the definition of an expatriate is “a person who lives outside their home country” then being an expat is all I know. Although in fairness I don’t know where my home country is – but that is another story altogether.
Initially I thought I was better than “them.” No. Not really. What I have come to realize is that an expat, like any other member of society, wants to feel connected. An expat wants to feel a sense of community and belonging. Unfortunately, too many expats move around probably way too much and way too quickly for their own good to put down roots and make meaningful connections to the communities in which they live. And so to feel connected and to have a sense of community they revert to the “low hanging fruit” and mix and mingle only in their own “safe” circles. It’s understandable. I get it. Unfortunately, this circle isn’t very big really and before you know if you have a couple of different bubbles going on. All pretty, all colorful, all seemingly happy but never touching and never mixing. Think the diplomatic bubble, the NGO bubble, the teacher bubble, the executives bubble, the backpacker bubble, and so on and so forth. Catch my drift?
So here is the challenge – to myself as much as to anyone else really. Dare to step out of your comfort zone. Dare to live “in place” and “in time.” Appreciate the here and now. Reach out. Make friends. Try something new. Pop that Expat Bubble!