Wednesday, June 16, 2010


An expat travelling to different countries every few years has to build a new nest every time he visits a new country. It's a complete adjustment for the entire family. Though the nature of the work would be the same, every work place in each country is different from the other. The kids have to adjust to the new environs in their new school. The wife has to find out ways and means to keep her occupied, by making new friends in a new environment.

The first instinct is always to search for people from their home country, results of which might not always be positive. Because even though one might meet people from their home country, it often is the case that one cannot relate to them for various reasons. Either they have left the home country many years ago and hence identify themselves more as an expat or sometimes wavelengths do not match. Sometimes one even meets people who are so occupied in their own lives that they do not have the time or the energy to keep make new friendships.

It is the initial months in a new place that is the toughest to handle. As a new person, one is not aware of the things available in the market, how to figure out the routes to navigate in the area. Every road, every shop, every person seems unfamiliar. So one is always looking for one familiar or helping hand for comfort or assurance. The feeling of homesickness gets worsened when that assurance does not come from anyone. Telephoning back home seems to be the only happy time in the day. But that is a very short- term glory as, one has to find ways and means to learn to adjust in the new place.

Slowly one starts stepping out to find out avenues, activities available to keep the mind occupied. Basically it is an attempt to explore what suits the person best. All activities might not appeal or last long but one has to try it out for few months to see what suits best. One comes across new people every day from different countries. Talking and sharing gives the realisation that every other expat is sailing in the same boat. So it gives an assurance that there are many out there facing similar teething problems. Gradually pieces fall in place and one learns to accept this new way of life in the new country.

Over a period of time, relationships strengthen, bonds develop and it gives a nice feeling. Just then one comes to know that one of the expats getting transferred to another country and it's time to bid adieu to them. Filling up leaving pages, shopping for parting gifts, organising farewell lunches suddenly fill up daily itenary. But it is not an easy task to bid farewell to friends. If that expat become one of your good friends one really feels sad. It's more difficult phase for the leaving expat because they would have forged some life -long friendships. The kids cry on leaving their friends at school.

It's another new place, another new country and another new story again for that expat. Every expat is always building home away from home in various destinations and ends up leaving footprints in the hearts of many. However, it is beyond doubt that every expat expands his or her horizon as every posting teaches new lessons and develops some ever -lasting friendships in this journey of life.

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