My Theory On Blooming

LIFE OF AN AMERICAN EXPAT LIVING ABROAD

So, it’s been a month almost six weeks since we arrived in the land of chiles and mariachi.  I must say it’s a lot different than what I had been expecting.  I mean, not that I knew what to expect from a city of 20,000,000 people.  Yeah…I know, that’s a lot of zeros. 
It’s been a difficult month.  I’m not going to lie.  To summarize, the whole adjustment period summed up into one word = SUCKS.  Everything is different…the language, the food, the culture, the people, the environment…all of it.  I’m doing the best I can to cope with my views of the way things “should” be, and the way things are going to be.  You’ve got to learn to bend because if you don’t, you’re going to break.
 
I’ve been broken a few times over the past month.  I’m trying to bend, but sometimes you just want to do things the way you want to do them.  Whether it’s finding a specific item at the grocery store because your kids asked for it, or walking into a room of strangers and feeling like the biggest outsider because you’re not like them, or trying to get a gym membership but being denied because you don’t have a Mexican credit card.  It’s not Mexico’s fault, it’s not the peoples fault…it’s just the way things are.  All the tears, crying, and temper tantrums you throw are not going to change things.  They make you feel better at the time, but it’s not going to do any good in the long run.  I keep telling myself to put on my big girl pants…and that works for a few days, and then something else happens.  Just because you break, doesn’t mean you’re weak.  It means you’re human. 
I always feel the biggest thing to conquer is a new language…at least for me it is because I am not a linguist.  Never have been, never will be.  I tried to learn French…twice.  It was pointless in the end, and a waste of time and money.  I never tried to speak Flemish (I should have, but didn’t).  Luckily (I guess), I took two years of Spanish in high school…twenty years ago.  I sound like a toddler when I speak.  It’s totally ridiculous. 
I had to laugh at myself the other day when I was ordering a new washer and dryer at a department store.  Of course no one in the home appliance section could speak a lick of English, so I had to try to communicate the best I could in my really horrible Spanglish.  I looked at my husband after we had decided on a set, and asked if he enjoyed getting laughed at by the sales associates.  I highly doubt they were trying to be mean because it was funny trying to do the transaction when none of us knew what the others were actually saying.  At some point someone asked me what my phone number was, and I started rattling off my phone number in French.  I guess I did learn something after all.  
Okay…I just had to rant for a minute.  I’m putting on my big girl pants…again.

3 thoughts on “AAAHHHHH!

  1. Evelyn says:

    Thanks for this post – it's such an accurate description of how it feels to be adapting to life in a new country. Having been there many times myself, your words brought me right back to those days and those feelings. As you know, it helps to know that what you are experiencing is normal and that it will pass, so keep sharing 🙂

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  2. why don't you install the app for your cell phone which will help you with translation? I have one and used it in South America. It's not always accurate but it helps. I want to put my arms around you and hug you so hard. You are a courageous woman! There are a lot of women who would not have left their job and followed their husband to a foreign country. Kudos to you Claire and the obstacles you face will only make you stronger. Keep sharing. This too will pass!

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  3. Carrie says:

    Claire, just found your blog and I feel your pain. We were expats in London and Brussels (ISB) and moved back to VA for two years. Just found out we are moving to Panama after Christmas. I'm looking forward to the new adventures but not the headaches and frustration of settling in. Like you I stunk at French and took Spanish in college. Wondering how easy it will come back. I look forward to reading more about your move to Mexico. And when I have just arrived in Panama, you will probably feel a lot more settled. Hang in there!!!

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