Living life as an expat we are always facing change and challenge. To survive in this madness we call the global community, I have found one of the most import things is to connect and adapt. I find myself living in one of the most interesting and misunderstood postings, Nigeria. I am into my 4th year here, and as time goes on I am beginning to appreciate how important it is to be connected to the colourful culture, the sometimes in-your-face community and our expat family.
As expat’s we are lucky – we get to fly home or go to other locations two to three times a year. I have two children in Australia and one here with us, so I find myself back and forth between two locations, but never really there in either. When I am home we rent a beach house and have family time. Through this our family reconnects and grounds itself. We normally return to my childhood home and in this lifestyle I find it important that I go back and find myself in that landscape to reflect, share with my children and find myself again. We as a family jam pack into two weeks what we would normally do, say and feel in six months. Although it is hectic, and sometimes I feel like I am not in control, it is just what we need and it works for us. By the end of the two weeks we are all feeling happy, full of love and reconnected.
At the end of that time my mind is wandering back to my home in Nigeria… Is the cat still alive? Have the plants taken over the house? Is the house still where I left it? Is the country on strike again? How are all my friends surviving without me? So while I may be in my childhood home, I am no longer fully there, as a part of me is always in my second home in Nigeria. It is a funny concept; we humans are quick to connect and find our place in any country, even Nigeria!
As expats we always talk about our home country, how much we miss it and how one day we want to go back and live the big dream. We get that glossed over look in our eyes and we describe it like a vivid colourful painting that will take your breath away. We paint this amazing picture that we fine the need to share with our friends. Maybe we do this as it keeps us going on this crazy journey we are taking on the expat train.
We tell ourselves we are being expats to set up our future retirement, educate our children, broaden our horizons, to see the world etc. Maybe this is all true, but we know as humans we need to stay connected with each other and ourselves. I have seen people who have lost themselves on this journey and need to hop off the train ride back in their home country. They know their time has come to an end and that they are ready to live their dream and reconnect with their roots.
However most of us still get the familiar itchy feet and we know it is time to pack up our homes, move on, reset up, make new friends, experience the new culture, try strange and wonderful foods and learn yet again another language, even if so badly. I think we get addicted to the constant change and the need to stretch and reinvent ourselves. We want to adapt and be part of the new community we find ourselves in. We know once we have made the connection and adapted we can survive and even thrive in our host country we now call our home.
Tirscha is an expat Australian out in the big wide world experiencing life to the fullest. Presently living in Lagos, Nigeria. She has 3 children, one husband and a hand me down Nigerian cat. She is a full time mother, wife, part time student and charity worker. She spends her time divided between Australia and Nigeria and if she is lucky a little holiday thrown in-between. She is embarrassed to admit she has a terrible addiction to buying shoes and handbags and often has to pay excess luggage, even still after 9 years on the road.
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