Expat life. Sounds pretty fancy doesn’t it? Laptops, suits and champagne afterworks come to mind. But as rosy as it is, settling in as an expat isn’t the easiest – especially when it comes to finding a new group of friends.
And making friends is one of the building blocks of settling in as an expat.
I used to be a complete mess. Not kidding. I lived in an apartment for about 2 years on my own in Vienna and I used to walk into a sea of clothing. There were bags thrown everywhere, old dishes still in the sink and Uni notes flying around. No wonder I had a hard time passing exams.
Just over 3 months ago I pretty much just up and left Vienna, the place I had been calling home for almost 5 years.
It’s been an absolute rollercoaster to say the least.
Call me crazy but I got the opportunity to work for a great company and I took it. Luckily, that didn’t give me much time to think or second guess my decision. I quit my job, I said my goodbyes and within about six weeks I was on a one way trip to Stockholm, Sweden.
Lately I’ve been enjoying short getaways, exploring and appreciating the areas close enough to reach by car.
I find we tend to think a holiday has to involve jumping on a plane and jetting of to a hot destination, but hopping into a car and driving 2-3 hours can be just as satisfying.
Being half Irish and having lived in Co.Waterford for 8 years has me coming back to Ireland several times a year. Now that I’m out in the working world it’s a little more like a couple of times a year – so best make most of it. I never did that much traveling around when I lived here, but recently I’ve made a pact to try and go somewhere every time I return – this time round Co.Kerry land of green hills, peninsulas and lakes. One of my best school friends and I decided to get going mid week and here’s what we saw…
‚Soooo what’s your bachelor thesis topic on?‘ something you’re mostly asked out of politeness, but I always had to snigger when someone posed me with this question. That wasn’t the only point of struggles throughout the process, but it was always fun to see people’s initial reaction to telling them your thesis was on contraceptive behaviour and you’re studying business. If you haven’t talked to me about it yet, you’re probably raising your eyebrows at this very second. But I’ll let you in on a few reasons why;
Writing your bachelor thesis is one of those things you dread the most. I most certainly did. For many, like me, it’s the first time you have to produce a lengthy text, with accurate citations, plenty of literature, good structure, and word flow. It was by no means fun, more so tough. But it payed off in the end – I ended up landing my dream job because of it. These were my biggest learnings and f*ck ups:
Quarter-life-crisis. That’s a thing you know, and I think I had one.
I think we all have one at some stage.
You’ve spent the past few years studying and now finally, the finish line is in sight. But you’re not as ecstatic as you thought you would be. Popping bottles and throwing graduation hats like no tomorrow doesn’t seem realistic anymore. Secretly you thought having studied, you’ll know exactly what you want to do. You’ll be ready. You thought those years of lecture halls, midnight assignments and multiple choice exams would prepare you for the big bold world out there. But then you come to realise, well … college was not all that it was made out to be. College taught us one thing or another, but it also skipped quite a few bits along the way.
Hormonal contraception: a controversial topic, I know. But given my strong opinion on it, the endless conversations and discussions I’ve had with several people – it’s time to speak up about it. Time to start talking openly about an issue, every single one of us has to deal with but somehow tend to whisper about.
A couple of days ago one of my fellow Adelaidian exchangies posted an emotional status on Facebook about missing the lovely city, longing for friends and feeling like a stranger back home. I can empathise, and judging by the 107 likes – so can many others.
I could sense that his sadness runs deep and it struck a chord in me, all of a sudden I found myself typing an essay long reply.
This is what i came up with…words for him and all the others that feel like strangers at home.
I’ve got the travel bug.
And I’ve got it bad.
Nowadays I think a significant number of us can luckily say – ‚i’ve got it too‘.
We seek mountains, rain forests, beaches and deserts.
Exotic fruits, different shades of skin tone, architectural features and the taste of salty water.
Meeting new faces.
Reuniting with familiar ones.
Having traveled so much the past few years, it’s got me thinking.
Why do we love traveling so much? Why is it so addictive? And why are some people content to stay put?