Friday, June 24, 2016

My Thoughts On Living An Expat Life Two Years In.


Having grown up as a Third Culture Kid, moving around is a familiar way of life for me. But as an adult, becoming an expat is a new learning experience. I discovered that it's having to forge our own path and to live a life true to the core of our family values... which is very similar to what life is like back in North America, or any home country that expats come from. 

One area I found that we had to really pull out of the expat culture, to do what was best for our family, was in regards to the private school system that was in Hong Kong. A system where there was so much emphasis on homework which really translated into busywork and did not benefit our children. A system that was not as nurturing as what we were accustomed to back in North America. And a system where bullying was prevalent and a cultural norm in the in school system. So while the majority of expats placed their children in the private school system we chose to pull our children out and home school them the second year when we realized that the school they were attending was not working for them. 

Friendships come and go in the expat community, much like those in North America. When I had young toddlers and made many friends with other moms in the same walk of life, I discovered friendships are made for a season. As my kids grew older and I was did join the toddler playgroups, friendships dissolved. Expat friendships are primarily made for the season of life in which we find ourselves at the time. I entered into the first two years of our expat time in Hong Kong, thinking we would immediately find like minded friendships since we were with people with similar goals of living in another country, but it was a harder experience than I had anticipated to find the people that spoke to our same interests and were interested in living life with our family. There are some friendships we will take with us, but as to be expected, we won't talk to other friends on a regular basis. 

Expat life is definitely what you make it. I learned that we could completely remain in an expat bubble or we could branch off and explore the culture we were living in a little more. Life is like that as well, you can choose to live the life you want, but it definitely takes effort and it's easy to just settle into routine sometimes. 

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