Browsing Tag

Where you call home

Expat tales, Posts

Two-year itch: Confessions of an Expat junkie

It’s true I’m an Expat junkie.  The only problem is I’m not that good at it.  Sure, I’m good at saying “yes” and jumping in boots and all, I’m even good at moving and making the transition.  But then reality starts to hit and I get really bad at it.

I want to be out “on the road” but then I want to be settled at home.

That’s why I haven’t written for a while…

All I seem to be doing these days is apologising. And the apology seems to be for the same thing: not writing enough. Blogging is like having a pen-pal—you’re all gung ho at first then it gets harder and harder to find time to write.

Well this time the reason I haven’t written is that I think I’ve lost my mojo. I hate being negative so like I tell the kids, “if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say it at all.” So radio silence.

Life in LA hasn’t been that bad it just hasn’t been that great. Truth be told it has nothing to do with LA and more to do with me.

Our two-year visa was nearly expired so we had to leave the US and reapply for new ones.

Another two years

There was no way we were going home after two years—after all the time it took us to get settled we need to stay at least another year.   We only lived in Shanghai for two years and we left there kicking and screaming so if we can stay then we definitely should try.

So we went back to Australia to re-apply for our visas.  I really didn’t want to go back to Australia—it was too soon. I wanted to go to see mum in Wales or check out Canada to get our visas but Mr H insisted we head home to Australia. I couldn’t argue with him: there are no holidays here at the end of year (once school starts back after summer) and we plan to travel during summer so this was the only chance we had to head home. So home we went.

I don’t know if I had it in my head that it would make me homesick but I just knew it would stuff me up. And it has damn it.

I wasn’t going to write about it. Then I thought I should. Then I didn’t know where to start. Have I really lost my way? Days and days doing everything I could to avoid blogging.

One foot in each continent

Imagine this. Get a map of the world. Here’s one.

There's a lot of land (& sea) between LA & Sydney depending on which way you look at it.

There’s a lot of land (& sea) between LA & Sydney depending on which way you look at it.

 

See there’s one pin on the US and one pin on Australia? Yep, that’s me: I’ve got one foot in each country. I’m trying to keep one foot in Sydney while trying to balance on the other foot in LA.

We agree we want to stay on and continue the adventure: Mr H is enjoying work and the kids are doing well at school; I even have a work permit now. But why can’t we let go of life in Sydney? Part of it is the fact that we moved for a new job in a different country that’s not really a posting: this is it. If we head back to Australia it’s resigning from Hollywood and securing a new job and staying there.

Your future’s where you might not necessarily want to be

We know our future is here—at least for the next few years—so why is it so hard to accept? Will our world come crashing down? I doubt it. Will we lose our friends back home? Hardly likely. Well then, why the doom and gloom and moping around? Why is it so hard?

Well we’re back to that problem of feeling unsettled—unsettled when we should totally be feeling settled. I’m not talking about feeling unsettled with friends but come back to the house—a home.

I’m a Cancerian so to feel like I’m not in my “own” house unnerves me. When we lived in Shanghai we knew we could be moved at any time, and we had the ‘expat’ package to make up for it—that and our fabulous apartment on the Bund right in the hustle and bustle of downtown Pudong, Shanghai (but close to creature expat comforts like the Shangri-la Hotel and City Shop).

But like I said we’re not about to get moved—unless we decide to move. Why did I feel more settled in Shanghai? Is it because we were in a salubrious apartment that was possibly the nicest place I am ever going to live in?  Is it because two years wasn’t long enough for us to feel unsettled?

Do you buy a house in your new country?

So that brings me back to buying a house here. It makes sense doesn’t it? It’s the great Australian dream—why pay someone else’s mortgage when you can pay off your own?

But buying a house isn’t really the problem. No, commitment is. Sure we’re committed to staying but actually using our (hoarded) money in Australia is a bigger step than I thought. Add to that the complication that taking that money out of Australia and moving it to the US means it’s not there to use to renovate our house before we head home. Uh-huh. That there is your problem.

Sounds like choices have to be made—buy a house here and feel settled or keep renting and use our money in Australia to eventually renovate our house (with plans and council approval waiting for us).   Reluctant to let go but wanting to establish some roots.

Yep, it sounds like I can’t have my cake and eat it too. Still I guess I am in LA—land of Kale & Quinoa—I shouldn’t be thinking about eating cake.

Will keep you posted but instead of feeling better, writing this post has just depressed me even more: I want to eat cake!

What does your Expat life look like? Are you on edge to see when/if you’ll be moved? Have you made the decision to move away like we have and are in limbo? Have you taken the bull by the horns and established yourself, bought your own home? Or are you somewhere in between your old home and your new one? I’d love to hear about it.

xx it Started in LA xx

Oh and by the way in case you’re a knight in shining armour or a mortgage broker who will let me use my Australian house as security deposit please get in touch with me, I’m really really worth it and I’ll be so so grateful ;-).

%d bloggers like this: