State of the expat: not-quite-new.

The second phase of adjustment to expat life has been harder. Little things, differences I once found charming, irritate me or depress me. Turns of phrase I’ve picked up sound fake wrapped in my accent. Running, once a joy, has become a chore. My creative life is clogged, hunched around a few untidy drafts that shake off revisions like a damp dog.

This is all exacerbated by the end of winter, which is going out not with a bang or a whimper but a fifty-foot billboard, a white-tie gala, an open-heart surgery, a not-to-be missed affair attended by its starkest clouds holding something more final than snow.

I am tired of you, not-quite-new life, and I am tired of me too. So it is time for a gratitude exercise, and some hasty snaps from the Royal Botanic Garden.

  1. I am feeling positive about the job-searching front, especially because I have such excellent friends sending me job announcements and offering advice.
  2. Speaking of friends, my garden-viewing companion today was another expat. She is turning out to be quite a kindred spirit, and not only because we have the expat thing in common. Though I won’t lie: it is really nice not to be the newest newbie sometimes.
  3. For my first 10K race next month, I am fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support, and we’re already a third of the way there. Well done, generous readers!

6 thoughts on “State of the expat: not-quite-new.

  1. I remember that expat stage. This too shall pass, dear. You’re taking the right steps!

  2. I know the feeling! I’m on my 7th month of my second expat experience, and adjusting can definitely be difficult; the winter thing definitely doesn’t make it easier (they’re predicting another month of winter conditions here in April, and I for one am feeling shut in and lazy). It will get easier though! Eventually the rain clouds (both literal and metaphoric) will clear and things will feel more normal 🙂
    I’m glad I happened to find your blog, and I’m looking forward to reading more!

  3. How long are you planning on staying in Edinburgh/Scotland? Is it a temporary thing or an open-ended stay?

    “Little things, differences I once found charming, irritate me or depress me. Turns of phrase I’ve picked up sound fake wrapped in my accent.”

    This idea intrigues me. As someone who has wished to try the ex-pat life, I’m interested in those parts of your life in Edinburgh that have lost their charm. Would you be willing to expand on this, please?

    — Tom

    1. It is open-ended, but of course much depends on one or both of us being gainfully employed by the end of FunkyPlaid’s PhD programme.

      I don’t think this phase of culture shock — negotiation, which I am experiencing later than many people do — is specific to Edinburgh, but rather anywhere-not-US. One such difference is changing my daily schedule so that I buy food every day or every other day, rather than once every ten days or two weeks. I’m an agent of efficiency whenever possible, and while I thought it was cute to go to the market every day when we first moved here, now it really grates on me, especially because the variety of food is just not the same as it was back in California. It just hasn’t become second nature yet.

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