Thanks to my virtual friend, Sandra, over at the blog, Going American (you should definitely go check it (www.going-american.com) and her Instagram feed out (@goingamerican)),
I was tagged in an Instagram photo to answer some questions about being an expat. I thought it was a fun and cool idea…below are my answers to her questions.
If you want to join in on the fun, make sure you tag me in your Instagram post, so that I can read your answers! You can find me on Instagram at @mytheoryonblooming.
1. Where were you born, where did you grow up and where do you currently live?
I was born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan…And now I live in Johannesburg, South Africa!
2. What made you leave your home country?
My husband’s career started our global lifestyle.
3. What type of reactions do you get when you meet new people and tell them where you are from?
It totally depends…If they barely have a clue as to where Michigan actually is located, the response is normally “Isn’t it freezing there?” OR if they do know where it is, they usually say…”Did you grow up with Eminem?”…um, no.
4. What was the easiest/hardest part in adjusting to your new country?
Easiest: Language! It’s been so awesome to just speak without thinking. Not having to triple think every single solitary sentence coming out of my mouth has been incredibly freeing.
Hardest: Hmmm. Probably driving on the other side of the road! I’m still hesitant sometimes, but it really just took a little bit of courage behind the wheel!
5. images, words or sounds that sum up the expat experience you’ve had so far.
There are so many…Let me think.
Geneva, Switzerland – The sight of Mont Blanc from the vineyard in our village and the ringing of cow bells from the field near our home.
Brussels, Belgium – The aroma of waffles and the sight of spring’s first crocuses.
Mexico City, Mexico – The sound of the camote (sweet potato) peddler’s whistle, the call of the junkman, and the smiling face of my housekeeper, Rosana.
Johannesburg, South Africa – The hooting of taxi horns, the sqwuaking of the hadedas, and the floral scent of summer air.
6. Your favorite food or drink item in your new country?
Granadilla – It’s a passionfruit which tastes both sour and sweet, and full of flavor. It’s good with yogurt, mixed in a drink, or made into a sweet dessert. My daughters even eat them right out of the skin. I’ve got a vine growing in our back garden. So, when they are in season…I don’t even have to pay for them!
7. What’s the one thing you said “yes” to in your new city that you wouldn’t say “yes” to back home?
I’m not sure about this one. There’s not much I wouldn’t say yes to back home. I guess we’ll need to revisit this question in a few years.
8. Are there any cultural norms/phrases in your new country which you cannot stand?
“Just now”…which basically means sooner or later, but not immediately and possibly might never happen…It’s SO vague. And, I feel like I can never figure out when things will actually happen. It’s like the South African version of Mexico’s “horita”.
Kids never where shoes! They never where them in restaurants or grocery stores, walking through the parking lot, or in public bathrooms! It’s not exactly the ides of not wearing shoes…It’s the where they are not wearing shoes which bothers me! My kiddos never have shoes on in our house or while playing outdoors. But, their little feet are SO dirty…I wonder if their feet are permanently stained black!?!?
9. What do you enjoy most doing in your new country?
Living an indoor/outdoor lifestyle. It’s so nice to be outside so much. And, the outdoor areas like the patio or terrace are just an extension of your home. Even though I’ve only lived here for the spring and summer months so far, it’s been a real treat to have the fresh air flowing through the house!!! Except when it’s sweaty hot…then I miss central air conditioning!
10. Do you think you will ever move home for good?
I’m having a hard time answering this question. I’ve been sitting with this document open on my laptop for two days now.
Sometimes, I want to go home. I mean, I have a home in the US…but realistically we’d probably never actually get to live there full time. We spend our summers there, and the occasional Christmas…but realistically, it’s more of a vacation home.
I feel like if I had to move back to the USA, it would be extremely difficult. Let’s face it…when I move from country to country, everyone around me is living the expat life too. But, when you move home you will become just like everyone around you…and NO ONE will want to hear about your expat adventures because it will sound too exotic or too unreal for most people to imagine. Your children will not be believed when they say they’ve lived in 4 different countries (this happens all the time now when we go back to the USA). And, most people don’t move around. Yes, careers are more portable these days, but most people stay where they are from…So, trying to break down the walls of the school mom cliques will be tough.
I don’t know if we’ll ever move home…I assume eventually we will, but I don’t have a clue of when that might happen. But, until it does…I’m gonna keep on keepin’ on, like a boss.