Can someone tell me? I would love the easy answer.
For the last five years I’ve been an expat, and yet I can’t figure out where I belong. When I’m in Austria in my apartment that overlooks the skyline in Linz, I feel cozy. Warm, like this could be where we live for the rest of our lives. Then I walk out of the front door, head to the grocery store, and lose that feeling. What is it about grocery stores that make me feel like suddenly, I’ve become an alien? It’s the not labelling that is difficult to understand, or the prices, but maybe it’s how other people behave inside of the shops. Or the selection.
I don’t know.
The Feeling of UGH.
So when we are bee-bopping around doing our daily business, it comes in waves. “This is amazing, could stay here forever,” to “Oh my god, where the hell am I?” And it’s frustrating, mainly because the reality is, is that my husband, daught
er and I will more than likely always live somewhere in Austria. You never know, but that is something we have mostly decided upon. So the second question I have is, why is it so difficult for me to accept what I perceive as “flaws” or “differences” in my new home country? Not like I haven’t been here for a few years!
Again, where does an expat belong? Or more specifically, how do other expats out there handle this? Do you guys also have this weird tug-of-war relationship with your new country vs your home country? Because at the end of the day, I’m not really wanting to live in the states either, just want some of the things they have to offer there, here.
When I started this post, I wasn’t sure where it would take me. Personally, I have had a great struggle with accepting a lot of things surrounding our decision to stay in Austria, and I don’t believe that I’m the only expat that feels that way or has had those issues. But within the community, at least the one that I have been exposed to- you either love the host country, or you hate it. But I don’t feel that way, I don’t love Austria and I don’t hate it, I enjoy it sometimes and other times it frustrates me. Like a real relationship. (Is it weird that I feel like I’m in a relationship with a country?)
My hope is, to start an open dialogue about the difficulty we can sometimes face when coming to terms with a new country, language, lifestyle, culture, traditions, etc and how we can truly learn to live and come to peace with it.