This post from It Be Liz got my head spinning. No one wants people to think that we ('we' being expats) don't appreciate the opportunity to live in another country. We get that it's a big deal and that many people would LOVE to be in our shoes.
The frustration comes when you feel like you have to lie about your experience to non-expats. If you tell people the truth it seems that you've disappointed them and you come off sounding unappreciative. It's not really fair to expect someone to be sunshine and butterflies all the time, no matter where in the world they're living. The worst thing someone can say is, 'Well, I took a 2 week vacation there in 2002 and it was such a wonderful experience! The scenery! The pubs! The people! The proximity to Europe! I can't believe you're not enjoying it!'
There is a BIG difference between being on vacation and actually living your life.
Yes, the scenery is absolutely stunning, but I'm not Maria von Trapp and I can't just spend my days spinning around in the Wicklow Mountains. Oh wait, actually I COULD because the job market is so bad here that I haven't been able to find a job in a year and a half. I have lots and lots of free time!
The pubs are really great here, no doubt. Unfortunately we don't go too often because if we did, we would be broke. On average you'll spend 5 euro on a pint and with two people drinking that adds up. Last weekend we were in a city centre pub and there was a British family at the next table giving out on the cost of the drink. And I used to think a pint in the UK was ridiculously priced!
The people. Okay, you can't fault the Irish. They are probably the friendliest people on the planet. *Spot the inside joke!
Yes, we live within an easy traveling distance to some truly fantastic destinations, but only having one income (which had to take a pay cut due to the failing economy) can put a crimp in your jet-setting lifestyle! We have been VERY fortunate to get to travel as much as we have and a lot of that is due to having friends in awesome places.
I guess the point of this post is to remind people that for most of us, life isn't one big vacation. Just because we live in a different country doesn't make us exempt from having the same stresses as everyone else. We DO appreciate the beauty, the pubs, the people, and the opportunity, but sometimes it's hard and things can get under your skin. Cut us some slack. Until the tourist boards put us on their payroll you're going to be stuck with the honest truth!
An Anxiety Update
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