It’s Friday, sitting here at my desk, and having some great coffee, (the stuff you guys up in the states pay $17.00 for a pound and I only pay $4.00) I got on my T-shirt, cargo shorts and crocks and my commute to work was about 20 feet.
Yep, that is my daily work attire in most cases. If I am heading out, I kick it up a notch and put on my Keens. (FYI – they are THE BEST hiking sandal in the world for living in the tropics.)
As I sit and look around I see my swords and post it notes all over my wall. Some are notes to remind me to do something, others are scripture verses, but one says…
NEVER GIVE UP
That post-it note is read at least twice a day.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love it here. But I have to also admit that there are times that things are not all rainbows and unicorns. At those times I can’t say that I hate it, but it does cause the blood pressure to go up.
This morning I woke up around 5:00ish and decided to get up instead of just laying around in bed. I let the dogs out and just looked at my back yard. The colors are hard to describe in that morning sun. I just stood there watching the dogs run around and I took in a nice breath of fresh cool morning air. I smell the earth, the passion fruit flowers, the jungle, and there is slight hint of moisture in the air.
If you have not experienced this, let me tell you that tropical air is sweet. Is it possible for air to taste sweet somehow? Sometimes, I swear it is, I have never smelled anything like this in the states.
Sounds like paradise right? Más o menos (more or less – that’s your Spanish lesson for the day)
Other days though I have to admit that when I look at that “NEVER GIVE UP” Post It note, I say back to it… Bite Me.
Why? It is raining buckets outside, I had a cold shower because there are no clouds to heat the solar panel for the last week, the stinking critters are starting to come into the home to get out of the rain, (ants, millipedes, and cockroaches) and hundreds of other little get under your skin things.
But you know what? The things that make living the expat life hard are also a lot of the reasons why we do it and love it.
Here is a secret – Life Begins At The End of Your Comfort Zone.
Yea, I can’t claim that one, but saw it on a Facebook Meme and committed it to the old memory banks.
I could start jabbering on about comfort zones and the importance of ditching them, and if you are looking at the expat life, you know that getting out of the C-Zone is what is needed to be a successful expat.
Now if you don’t know this, well baby you’re gonna learn it, in spades.
Look, being an expat isn’t for everyone. Sure Facebook, Instagram and a plethora of blogs and websites have painted this idealized picture of a life in paradise.
There you are sitting on the beach drinking frilly umbrella drinks Monday through Friday, but just to let you know, it isn’t that way. (it does happen every once in a while though)
HEY I’m guilty of promoting the tropical dream myself. I have been known to Facebook a tropical pict, or “look what we are having for dinner and it cost me only $3.50” picture.
But I will be the first to say that living in a foreign country at times is not fun. You’ll encounter low points that are lower than you probably would have ever had back home.
This is when you need to reach deep inside you and pull out your “WHY.”
Why did you move down here?
You may be crying at the dinner table because you miss the kids and grand-kids, your lonely, or your driving around and you are stinking lost. Those are the times that you almost want to throw in the towel, but you don’t.
And it is because of your WHY.
Listen, I am from the school of “If it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be worth it.” It is the trial the experience that helps you grow and stretch yourself to that next level of greatness.
Have Tracye and I ever considered going back?
Yea, I remember one time when we were really missing the kids and grand-kids. Both of us were at a low. We stayed up till 1:00 in the morning talking about the pros and cons of going back. In the end we both agreed that our WHY to stay was more important than our WHY we should leave.
It is all about your WHY.
Here is another secret – Being an expat isn’t a bad thing. Really embrace it and a whole new wonderful life opens itself up to you.
If you’re considering an expat life or just traveling alone- you should know that it’s not all selfies and Facebook updates. There are going to be moments when it just plain sucks. You’re going to feel like the world is against you, or even worse, that it just doesn’t care.
But you know what? God will pull you through and you will make it and there is always tomorrow. (Key up the Annie music in your brain now… Tomorrow… tomorrow, there’s always tomorrow…)
Guess what? It’s at that time that you will look in the mirror and you’ll smile at yourself thinking “Hey, I’m an expat.”
You will then go outside, look at the beauty all around you, take in a deep breath of tropical air and then thank God for allowing you to pursue this dream.
It is a dream that so many people think about, but don’t have the courage to do it. So they live vicariously through you, your Instagram picts and your Facebook posts.
In living the expat life you will appreciate more of the little things in life. You will grow stronger and more confident. You will find your relationship with God grow as well as the relationship with your spouse. You will learn to depend more on yourself, your own wits, ingenuity, imagination, and capabilities.
You will no longer allow most circumstances to dictate your life.
You, your trust in God and your loving spouse will be a wonderful catalyst for everything that happens.
And when you are looking in that mirror you’ll come to that realization that things will never be the same again.
Because you stepped out of that comfort zone and now you’re an expat.
So do you see an expat when you look in the mirror? Leave a comment below.