7 Things Only An Expat Would Understand

What makes an expat’s experience unique? It’s the fine-tuning of cultural differences and blending. Moving and embracing a foreign culture poses a lot of challenges, so having flexibility and a good sense of humor is essential. Here are some things that yourself as an expat or your friends who are expats would totally get. 


Expats Will Surely Understand These



You quickly become a celebrity



Ever wonder what Jennifer Lopez must feel like leaving her apartment every day? Well, after moving abroad, you experience this by yourself, especially if your looks are a bit exotic for the neighborhood. Like any other celebrity-experience, this has ups and downs, because at first you may enjoy the special attention, but it might get tiresome at some point.


Most stories start with “Back in…”


It’s inevitable not to drop a line about home sweet home. So, many of your stories start with “Back in…” like:

Back in Myanmar, nobody was amazed when I mentioned the floating gardens.”

Back in Cuba, I used to dance in the streets…”

Back in Nigeria the power went down several times a day, so that doesn’t scare me a bit!”

Back in Nepal, ‘Namaste’ was a morning word, and not only a salute at the end of Yoga classes.”


Lost in translation


Communication is not only about words. Body language is 60% of our communication. But we probably become aware of its benefits only when we move abroad and we are sometimes able to handle your hands better than the language. Many feel embarrassed at first, but this type of communication is very useful actually. 


Home – that place where you can say anything (because nobody listens anyways)


If for your American, Canadian, Australian or European friends “home” is a clear concept leading to one location, you are living la Vida doble. Meaning, in some situations “home” is where your family is, the country where you were born, raised and educated. Other times, it’s your current cozy apartment, or the streets you pass by when getting to work now. So you can come up with a new definition of home = that place where you can say anything (because nobody listens anyways).


Day of the Dead in Mexico with Kids, mobile recharge

My son with our friends from Xcaret Park


You send international mobile recharges regularly


That is, your native country where most of your old friends are, and where part of your family still lives. Oh, not to mention that’s the paradise of your childhood versus your expat hectic jungle nowadays. There are so many people back home you keep in touch with! It comes easily to help them every now and then by sending them mobile credit. Did you know that you’re not the only one to use MobileRecharge.com for that? There are also others: the top up is instant, and by making the refill online, everyone saves time. Plus, there are generous promotions daily that help you send extra free credit too. Sending a mobile recharge is like saying, “I miss you” in phone credits. 


“Where are you from?”


No need to say more. It’s like someone put the gun to your head and asked for whatever is most priceless without confessing the real intention. This may bring you back the question you were sometimes asked as a kid: who do you love the most: mom or dad? Your home country or the country you are currently living in?


The irrational fear of saying the wrong letter at the optometrist and getting a bad prescription for glasses


Just imagine yourself doing an exam to find out your new prescription of glasses, but totally messing up the letters?! The optometrist would say, “Man, you can’t see a thing” while you fumble around the alphabet trying to express which letter you’re looking at.


But at the end of the day, it’s important to see the bright side in anything. And just like you already know, it’s important to welcome each new day with its challenges and promises, with a huge smile upon your face, because nothing compares to living an expat life at the fullest. Plus, you get to travel all over the region you’re living in at budget prices, and that’s awesome!

About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

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