How to deal with the blues of the expatriate ?

Most of the time, expatriation is seen as a dream. We always take about expatriation in dreams country. Finish the life in small cities and hello life in villas next to the sea side ! Apparently, expatriation is synonymous of parties without ending and chilling as much as you can. However, nobody talks about one of the hardest part of the expatriation : the blues of the expatriate. So, what is this ?

If you are an expat, you know what I am talking about. If not, let me just explain it. To make it easy, the blues of the expat is the feeling that you are never at the good place. Wherever the place you are, you feel lonely.

When nobody knows who you are

You know that will happen. You will arrive somewhere and you will basically be nobody. Especially if, like me, you do the adventure alone. I already talked about it in my article about the six things I would have loved to know before leaving. But the thing is : nobody will really and deeply know you. Like, never.

I came to Kuwait and I was alone. After, I met few people but deeply, I am still alone. I feel alone. Not always, sometimes. From time to time. It comes and goes. It’s weird because I don’t spend that much time alone. Most of the time, I am with someone. And if it’s not physically, I am always texting or calling someone.

Daily, it’s ok, it’s not that bad. It starts to be complicated when I have a bad news. Even a good news, actually. Overtime, you have to tell the story from the beginning. When you are an expat, you have (at least) two lives. One life in your homeland and another life in every country you lived in. It’s hard to explain, every time, what you had to deal with in your lives before.

Sometimes, you just want to be next to someone who knows you forever. To be supported and comforted by someone who knows everything about you.

Photo by Resi Kling on Unsplash

The cultural differences

Often here, I have to explain that, yes, my brother had a baby without being married. Yes, in France, we live with our girlfriend or boyfriend before getting married. And sometimes, we never get married. Sometimes, I have to explain stuff that are really logical for me. Situation I shouldn’t have to explain, in my opinion.

When it’s about religion, I have to pay attention to my words. Most of the time, I even don’t talk about it. It’s the same for political. Sometimes, I just want to explode when I hear some stuffs but at the end I just smile. I know nobody will understand my point.

For example, now, I am really mad at the caretaker of my building because of a stupid parking place. He doesn’t speak english and I don’t speak arabic. So I am frustrated because I can’t end this story with him. My neighbors are telling me to leave it but I can’t because I need to understand. And the only person who understands is my mom.

The blues of the expat’ is here too. To be in the middle of people who will never understand how we see things. It comes everywhere, but as an expatriate, it’s harder to find someone to tell the story to. To have people who will understand our feelings.

It’s hard to not feel lonely when we have nobody to share things with. We don’t have the same cultural references.

So, yes, it helps you open your mind but daily, it’s a bit hard.

The loneliness in your homeland

I really believe that expatriation changes people. It’s an unique experience. We always think about things in a new way, we live so many different and new things. And when we come back home, it’s a bit weird. It’s home but not really. It’s home but it changed and we changed also. It’s hard to find again your place, especially when nobody changed anything.

The expatriate come back with a new mental suitcase full of new things, another way to see life and maybe a new philosophy. And people ask to go back in a place that doesn’t suit him anymore.

Nobody, in our homeland, sees the change we made. It’s something really abstract. They don’t see our daily life, they don’t see the journey.

The blues of the expatriate, we live it even in our homeland. This summer, when I was in France, sometimes I wanted to go back home, in Kuwait. I didn’t feel like my place was in Paris anymore. I had the feeling that I didn’t understand anything about Paris anymore. And worst : I couldn’t find the girl I am when I am in Kuwait. I find again the girl I was before leaving France… Which is someone I don’t want to meet again.

Photo by Erik Odiin on Unsplash

So, what we do with all of this, now ?

I think the first step is to realize that something makes us unhappy. And it’s ok to be unhappy sometimes. And I think we become a bit stronger when we are a bit unhappy.

Find a new passion and stick to it

I looked for something I really like and I stick to it. I run, I write on this blog, I take car of my Instagram account. I am thinking about a Youtube channel… And all of this, it takes time.

It’s time I spend being myself without thinking about who I was before. It means that when I meet new people, well, I will only talk about what I do and not about who I was. I am a runner, blogger, not only the French girl who left her country.

And it means also that when I will come to France, I will be someone else than the one I was when I left. For example, I will be a half-marathoner next time I will come to France !

Don’t hesitate to be picky with your surroundings

My friends here are really different from me. They don’t judge as I don’t judge. They lived abroad or they are actually living abroad. They know how is life in others countries. We can talk about everything without being judged.

Explanations about life during our first life don’t last forever. We understand each other easily and we face the same difficulties.

So, I realized that it’s ok to not have a big surroundings as long as it’s a good one. I am close to only four persons. When I started to go out, I used to go out with everybody every nights. But I still felt lonely. Weird feeling.

Don’t doubt about who you become

Even if people treat you as if you were the same person than before, never doubt about who you become. In Kuwait, I am more confident than in France. I take decisions easily and I am not scared. And I am more positive.

And then, when I come to France, I feel like all of this disappeared. It’s funny because when I was a kid, I had a dream about moving and becoming a new person. Expatriation is like this, you can just take a flight and hop ! you can become who you want to be.

Obviously, you stay the same person, more or less. But you can become a better version of yourself. Except that the obstacles you didn’t faced during your evolution, well, you will face them later on. Every time you will be in front of someone who knows your old you.

But I think the most important is to not think that this blues of the expatriate is your enemy. I think it gave me the strength to do a lot of things here in Kuwait !

Something to say ? :)