You think adulting is hard? Try expating! Life as an expat is no simple thing. There are a lot of lifestyle changes you’re faced with, some small and some big, and some that completely take you by surprise when you realize you’re driving down the wrong side of the road. There’s two things to do when expating is getting you down, #1: find ways to laugh at it, and #2: remind yourself that you’re not alone. We’re hoping this article can do both for you.
You know you’re an expat when…
You know what an “expat” is.
You know exactly what a 49 lb. suitcase feels like without having to weigh it.
You have a list of international airports in order of preference of food, lounge, and overall layover comfort.
Getting a care package from home with mac n cheese in it is better than Christmas.
You’re willing to pay an exorbitant amount for your favorite cereal just because it reminds you of home.
You can’t remember which common phrases are used in which country.
You habitually check time zones before making phone calls.
You know exactly which brand of plug adapter you prefer to use on a daily basis.
The passport holder that carries multiple phone sim cards is a luxury purchase.
You find yourself avoiding new expats when they arrive.
You’re life seems to be a weekly goodbye party for someone “going back.”
Instead of surnames in your contact list its followed by which country they’re in.
Your parents have stopped asking you when you’re coming home.
You’ve literally forgotten how to do laundry.
Any trip less than 20 hours seems quite short to you.
You have huge moments of panic forgetting which lane you’re supposed to be driving in.
When you see someone about to drink water from the tap you do a slow motion dive to knock the glass from their hands.
You start drooling at the local supermarket when they’ve imported a chocolate brand you recognize.
You can’t wait to go home and go to Target only to find that you love all the choices, but you also hate all the choices.
You have no idea what music is actually popular right now.
You know exactly how much deodorant, shampoo, and toothpaste to buy to last until your next trip home.
Your friends tell you you have an accent now.
You spend a lot of time imagining smooshing your favorite countries together to make one super country to retire in.
You can say you’re “leaving home” to “go home.”
You go back home to realize you’re not the same person you were when you left.