Wednesday, November 13, 2013

You're a Different Person Every Time You Go Out...

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”  Marcel Proust

I didn't get it the first time I heard it: "You are a different person every time you go out" but in fact, it's true!

The first time we set out into our new overseas life I was in my twenties, we were newlyweds embarking into an adventure.  What can be better than that; we were young and ready to take life by the horns.  In preparation for our move I created an extensive spreadsheet labeling the contents of each box I packed.  The packers had it easy with me that time.

During our first assignment overseas I got pregnant and came back home to give birth to our wonderful son.  This child was flying to south east Asia when he was only six weeks old.  Talk about third culture kid (TCK)!

For our second assignment I was a new mom and expecting our second child.  Needless to say, I didn't pack anything myself and let the packers earn their money.  We were assigned to Venezuela, where I gave birth to TCK #2.  Our time in Caracas was all about diapers, bottles, pacifiers and teletubbies.

During our third posting our oldest was ready for pre-school.  We received a report card for the first time.  We were officially parents of school aged children.

I have been a working mom, a stay-at-home mom, a part-timer, a volunteer, I have worked in translation, finance, procurement and in public relations to name a few.

As we progressed in our life, back in the good old U.S. of A. our parents were getting older.  Every time we came back on vacation or for short stays, it was increasingly difficult to leave them behind.  There were issues we had to take care of that weren't a concern before.

Being an expat comes with many benefits.  If you have a passion for traveling you get to not only visit places most people only dream of, you actually get to live in them, immersed in the culture, learning, always learning: tolerance, open mindedness, patience, problem solving, language skills.

You also loose the conveniences of being home, of knowing what to do and where to go.  A level of comfort you can only have in the place where you fully belong.

But beware, once you've been out, once you've learned to live in a different society and you repatriate, you will be a different person when you come back.  Yes, you will look at your hometown and wonder why things aren't done differently, or what the big deal about a certain issue is.  You will be out of the loop regarding pop-culture (who's that actor? what is Glee again?). Your non-traveling friends won't be able to relate.

Yes, you are a different person every time you go out.  Time will take care of that.  You will be forever changed by your overseas experience.  Are you ready?

No comments:

Post a Comment