Expatriate Life

People who pop into my blog have the wrong impression about how fabulous my life is. Being an expatriate (someone who lives outside of their home country) is very different from actually being a nomad. I don't travel full time; I have a normal apartment and a group of friends with gym memberships and a steady 8-4 job.

I bump into people in my home town in Florida who say that I must be so adventurous, and it makes me laugh. The reality of my day to day life is actually quite boring. I wake up at 5:50 AM everyday and my career is no different from a middle school social studies teacher back in the US. Then after work, most days I pick up some take out food, go home, read a book, watch some tv, maybe grab a drink with a friend in my neighborhood, get some grading done, and go to sleep by 10 PM. Repeat routine five times a week.

I go for pedicures with my girlfriends just like friends back home

I'm an escapist. Being stuck in one place for too long, or really living in the moment at any given time, makes me anxious. No wonder I am attracted to the books of Murakami and TV shows like Buffy and Game of Thrones. I guess that's why the life of an expat is appealing, even if it's really not all THAT exciting as people seem to think it is. My everyday life is an escape from the norm, in a way. 

When I commute to work in the mornings, the street signs are in Chinese. When I catch a cab to meet up with friends, I say 'mm goi.' Most of the people I meet are coming from a foreign country, or on their way to a foreign country. 

All of the breaks that come along with being a teacher (summer, winter, spring break, etc.) are way more badass when you are an international teacher. Long weekends turn into exotic getaways, a week off means a week in a new country, and the possibilities are endless for summer.

Even though my daily routine may not be that different from my peers back in the States, I can't imagine living in the US right now. Maybe all expats are escaping, but I don't think of it as escaping FROM something. I'm escaping the same way an elderly couple takes a cruise around the Caribbean: escaping TO something. I am escaping to an exciting, fulfilling life that works for me.

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