Kuwait is my first expatriation. Also, it was the first I moved alone, the first time I will do something else than teaching French as a Foreign Language. First time I will spend more than five months far from my family. And it was the first time I will have my life in another language than mine…
It’s a lot of “first time” for a twenty-six years old lady. I am not scared of a lot of things and I leave my comfort zone often. But I left to Kuwait without any information ! I signed my contract at the end of June and I landed in Kuwait at the end of August ! This is a list of some advices. I would have loved to know them before leaving…
1 – At the beginning, loneliness will be your best friend
Yeah. I wrote about my first steps in Kuwait but I never really talked about the loneliness. Every morning, I used to leave my house to go to school à 6 h 50 AM and to come back around 1 PM and after… nothing. Every day, I have left the noisiest place ever to the quietest spot I could find in Kuwait. No one to talk to. Nobody was here to listen to me talking about my long and awful days. Because yeah, it was awful at the beginning. I was alone and felt lonely. That’s why I adopted a cat after two weeks in Kuwait. I spent more than one time complete weekend without talking to anyone face to face. It’s a bit miserable, but it’s the truth.
2 – You will question a lot of things
I will write about it one day… Before coming to Kuwait I was vegan. I worried a lot about our planet. Global warming, environment, animals, ecology, minimalist and all of this subject. It was my life. When I arrived in Kuwait, I almost had a heart attack the first time I went to the Supermarket. A guy puts all your things in plastic bags. And it’s one plastic bag per room. For example, I bought pasta and shower gel, I will have two plastic bags… One for the shower gel, the other one for the pasta.
Beaches are dirty, like really dirty. I had to think about all of it and question a lot of things. I take the plane around seven times per year, I spend around 3 hours per day in my car… Who am I to tell people what they have to do with their food ?
3 – Keep paying attention of who is surrounding you
Ok. I will write a complete article about it. Relationships are weird when you are an expat. I think that loneliness makes people spend time with people they don’t choose. Instead of spending time with people they like, they spend time with people available. Sometimes, it’s better to be alone than surrounded by bad people for you. I think, when you are an expat, you have to be able to choose and accept the fact that you are alone.
4 – Stay in touch with your homeland but your life is not there anymore
When you decide to be an expat somewhere, you have to accept that life in your homeland continues without you. It’s a bit painful, but it’s life. You are living a new life somewhere else, they keep making their life in your homeland. My brother is now a dad and I am an auntie. But the first time I saw my niece, she was four months. I can’t follow her as much as I could do it if I was in France. I celebrate birthday sending letters and I watch the pictures and video on social media.
5 – Find something you like and don’t give up on it !
Honestly, I realized it only this year. When you are not home, you need landmarks. Mes first years, I was obsessed by the idea of saving money and I lived as if I was just year for one year or two. No passion, no interests for anything, nothing. Just work and sleep. I had a mission in Kuwait and I had to complete it. That’s it. Finally, I went back to running and I put all my energy in it. It helps you a lot to feel home somewhere. You can challenge yourself and be part of a community.
6 – The vision you have from your homeland will change a lot.
When I was living in France, I criticize the country a lot. There were a lot of things I hated in France and a lot I loved. Since I don’t live there anymore, I realized how lucky I am. I had the chance to grow up in France, especially in Paris. I am lucky because I went to school in a system open and where we learn how to question everything. French barely accept things without understanding them. It’s a good thing. We can criticize the health care, but we are lucky to have it. Paris is one of the most beautiful city in this world and it’s my city ! However, for now, I don’t want to go back there. I realized that, outside of France, there is a possibility to have an easier and more enjoyable life.
And you ? Is there something you would have known before leaving your homeland ?
By the way, if you want to see more pictures of my daily life in Kuwait, I recommend you to go on my Instagram account ! See you there !