Expats have bad days too…


February 23, 2011 by jessperriam

… but they might not tell you about it.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: you know all your friends who have become expats in the last 12 months? Or those who are spending more than a few months away from their home country? You know them. They’re smug and they have a blog and they’re so happy and enthused all the time about their newfound or temporary home.

You know them, we all have them in our lives. Heck, I am one of them. The smuggest of them all sometimes.

But we are liars when we say we are having the time of our lives, every second of every day in our newly adopted time zone. We write about our amplified feelings of euphoria when everything is going great.

But when things hit the fan we become unusually silent. Or at least I do. And I’d hazard a guess that I’m not alone there.

Why do we become silent when the faeces hits the cooling device?

Because the strangest things, the cultural nuances, the most mundane objects can kick-start a bad mood. And when they’re written down on paper or typed on a screen there’s a wave of perspective that makes us look foolish and whiny.

Case in point: if you sat down with me yesterday morning over my daily flat white I would have ranted and raved for a full five minutes about my broken boiler (read: hot water system) and how it’s ruining my life.

And then perspective sets in and I realise that I still have a roof over my head along with coins to buy flat whites and people to share those flat whites.

It only feels like its ruining my life because I’m unfamiliar with it, I’m suffering culture shock of the most banal order: British building maintenance.

Yawn. You don’t want to read about that. Even if I have named the offending boiler Barry.

And yet if I had written anything in the past few days it would have been all Barry all the time instead of telling you about the weekend I had, the people I met and all the other bits and pieces in between.

I want to write a warts and all perspective of this experience (like this). But not if it’s going to bore you.


3 thoughts on “Expats have bad days too…

  1. Carol Perriam says:

    You could have spent the morning with Moo and me at pre-primary with a group of enthusiastic 4 & 5 year olds, and the noise that goes with them. Little Moo enjoyed herself so much and has been asleep for the last 3 hours from all her drawing, needless to say we know who didn’t want to leave. You have a great day and enjoy those flat whites.

    • jessperriam says:

      Yep. I could have been there, enjoying prolonged sunshine and screaming children. But instead I’m here, sick again in a house temporarily without heat or water. But I have the radio. Radio loves me. 🙂

  2. […] about having a tough time overseas without coming across as whiny and annoying, as a friend of mine recently pointed out, but bad days (and weeks) happen […]

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