Posted by: dsduffy | October 26, 2010

Oh the life of an expat

I never actualy heard of the word “expat”  until a I had the opportunity to become one. The concept was completely foreign to me, as I guess it would be as an American, and one that hadn’t travelled much herself. I knew military families moved around quite a bit, but I think that is different because they live on American bases, with other Americans in the same situation. Whereas an expat, we have to assimilate into the culture completely on our own (not much assistance from the company, etc.) Yea so it is kind of like being a fish out of water, except they speak the same language (sort of.)

No matter how long I live here, I will always sound different. Yes I say some Aussie words (rubbish bin, trolley, brekkie, I could go on and on) but it sounds completely American. I will never sound Aussie and that is just the way it is. (Although I have met a few Americans who have mastered the Aussie accent perfectly, I commend them!) I am pretty sure that I will be asked how long I am staying on my holiday for, no matter how long I am living here in Melbourne. But the #1 question that gets asked is “How long are you staying for?”  Just today at the barber shop, while the man was cutting my kid’s hair, he asked me how I like it here compared to the US. So I am constantly forced to think about it and come up with answers to questions I wouldn’t have to answer if I wasn’t an expat.

Everyone has their own opinion. Everyone has their own perspective. And as an expat, I tend to hear a lot of them, whether I like it or not. (I love Texas! Oh New Jersey – isn’t that  in New York? You’re from Canada? Do you know Tony Soprano?)

I plan for the future, the near future. I sign my kids up for swimming classes, kindergarten, baseball and Auskick. I buy food in bulk at Costco, not knowing if we will be around long enough to use it. I joined a new gym, not knowing if we will be around for the full term of the contract. I maintain friendships and continue to make new friends, not knowing how long they will last. But that is life, and you just have to take it one day at a time. That is the life of an expat. And I wouldn’t change anything about it.



  1. Amen. I’ve only been here two months and I always feel awkward when I say things like “serviette” and “chips”. I’ve looked through numerous “expat” blogs and yours is one of the few that actually talks about “the life of an expat” not about living in Australia. So thanks 🙂 Hed hed down under

  2. After living here for 10 years, my accent still gets daily comments from people everywhere we go. And, my family back home tease me that I’ve lost my Southern accent. Oh well, that’s the life of an expat. And. it’s a pretty good life if I say so myself.

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