Life as an expat
Our life has been a whirlwind as of late! The hubs turned 30 last year and I’m itching my way up there so we’ve been talking a lot about the future and where we want to settle “long-term” (in other words longer than 2 years) so I’ve been super caught up in my thoughts. In addition to all of that dreaded “life” talk, I’ve also been traveling like a crazy person for work the past two weeks and now we’re prepping for our anniversary trip to Italy in a few weeks!
When Sarah over at Endless Distances tagged me this week in an awesome post about expat life I knew this was the perfect week to jump in! Since I’ve been all caught up in my thoughts, putting them out on paper sounded like a good idea. Hopefully this post will give some insight into life as an expat and the highs and lows of living abroad!
1.Where were you born, where did you grow up and where do you currently live?
I was born in Nuremberg, Germany to a German mom and an American dad (military). We moved to the states when I was a baby and I was raised all over (spending summers with my dad around the country and school years with my mom in Texas). I would say my “hometown” is in central Texas near Waco. In fact, the town I grew up in is so small I think it has more cows than people! I currently live in Dublin, Ireland with my hubby and our pup.
2. What made you leave your home country?
My “day job” is at an American tech company with it’s international headquarters based out of Dublin. In 2015 I sat down with my boss’s boss and suggested that I wanted to live abroad by 2018. 6 months later we were headed to Dublin with all of our belongings and our dog! I got super lucky that my team in the states is also based out of Dublin giving us the awesome opportunity to live overseas.
3. What type of reactions do you get when you meet new people and tell them where you are from?
Lately, I’ve been getting a lot more questions than I used to. All the way from “Did you vote for Trump?” to “Are you staying here forever now?” In fact, in my most recent cab ride from the airport the cab driver started lecturing me on how Trump America has caused the rest of the world to think that hate and sexism is okay. Can I start saying I’m from Canada yet?
4. What was the easiest/hardest part in adjusting to your new country?
Honestly? The hardest part of adjusting has been the taxes! This seems like such a minor thing, but the taxes in Ireland (and Europe in general) are MUCH higher than they are in the states. Otherwise, the adjustment has been seamless for us. We have a much higher quality of life than we did in the states. We hike/walk a lot more, hang out as a couple more, and overall are much more relaxed than we ever were in Texas.
5. Images, words or sounds that sum up the expat experience you’ve had so far.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid? – Sheryl Sandberg
I live and breathe this quote. When considering moving to Dublin this phrase went through my head multiple times before finally deciding to take the leap. Now look at us!
6. Your favorite food or drink item in your new country?
The availability of cheap, but good European wines and cheeses has been a game changer for us. In fact, I’d say about 75% of the posts on this blog have been written while slightly buzzed on said wine and full on wheels of cheese. For the hubs, rashers (a mix between ham and bacon) has been his favorite part of living here.
7. What’s the one thing you said “yes” to in your new city that you wouldn’t say “yes” to, back home?
This sounds super silly, but making friends without a forced social structure is “new” for us. We’ve always lived in places where we were either a) in school or b) already knew a large number of people in the city. When we moved to Dublin for the first two months we struggled to “make new friends”. So, I downloaded Bumble! And went on my very first every Bumble friend date with one of my now besties in Ireland. Luck of the Irish I guess! 🙂
8. Are there any cultural norms/phrases in your new country which you cannot stand?
The timeliness drives me absolutely bonkers. “I’ll be there at 7” actually means “I’ll be that at 8:15”. This is true not only for people, but also for transit systems, taxis, and really anything else you would expect to “be on time”. Funny part of this is that I just recently went back home for 2 weeks and was late to everything… haha guess it’s starting to rub off on me.
9. What do you enjoy doing most in your new country?
I grew up driving around America. In fact, my very first ever “road-trip” was at the ripe old age of 5 when my nana and papa loaded me up into their camper to drive to Washington state from Texas. I remember playing Old Maid with my nana while my papa drove us across the country. So, my favorite part of living in Ireland? Road-tripping! My second favorite thing to do in this beautiful country is to hike. Even without a car it’s pretty easy to find some epic hiking spots in and around Dublin.
10. Do you think you will ever move home for good?
If you would have asked me this question six months ago I would have said no way would we ever move back home for good. But, if I’ve learned anything the past few months it’s that things change (and quickly!) so who knows. 🙂 Never say never I guess!
I would love to see other expats participating in this expat conversation! Learning about other experiences is so helpful (and oftentimes reassuring!).
– Boots not Roots