Giving Thanks to beat the Expat Blues

In just a couple of weeks, the American Thanksgiving holiday will be here. This post is about giving Thanks for what I have… and to kick my Negative Nancy into a Sunshine Sally.

I know how lucky I am to be living in Europe. The ultimate trip. Living abroad! I am Thankful I do not just dream about going somewhere, I actually have!  Now, I just have to deal with the repercussions of the big move!

I am thankful for this Blog!  It is a place where I can come to say anything. This is my therapists couch and my clay on a wheel. The end product may end up looking like my second grade clay bowl, but it is mine. and I love it!

I noticed today, as I talked with my two closest friends, I was being overly critical, judgmental, and negative. It happens often when I feel myself getting depressed. It is the kind of expat depression that doesn’t last long, but can feel like an eternity at the time.

Expat Blues before a holiday or at anytime is not out the norm. I just Googled “expat depression” and a slew of sites popped up, But first as I was typing in my search words it offered more… expat depression China, Germany, and so on.
I have heard of Beijing Blues, and having a Shanglow day in Shanghai. I would add Balkan Blues or Serbian Sadness. It happens and you just have to find your way out of the jungle and move on, knowing that you do love this place, just not all the time.

I am Thankful that the internet lets us commiserate. Knowing you are not alone is comforting.

I am Thankful that I get to work in Nature! For numerous reasons the great out doors is home. When I am in the fields, I don’t feel judged. I am able to just be me, breathe the fresh air and enjoy God’s creation. Usually, I am getting a great workout at the same time.

Incidentally, getting out of the house and working out are the too many things that kick expat depression in the rear. I am Thankful that I get to do that often!

It is when I come back to town, I feel like an alien. I feel that I just don’t fit in here. And as I just read in Sunny Sanguinity, ” I don’t always want to be different. But I want to be me.”

I don’t always mind being that stranger, sometimes I relish it. I am Thankful that being different isn’t always bad. 

I am Thankful for the internet! I can message people online and skype! Hallelujah! I need to do that!

I am Thankful for my Family. All of them! I am a lucky girl to have so many loved ones.

I am Thankful for Friends! I love you all! Thanks for being there for me.

Ok, I need to go back to bed… T minus three hours till I get up… I am Thankful Munchkin goes to preschool!  

I am Thankful that I get to go cuddle with my hubby and little one in a King size bed!

I am Thankful that writing this post lifted my spirits and I feel at peace! See, being Thankful helps!!!!!!



6 thoughts on “Giving Thanks to beat the Expat Blues

  1. Morning, T!

    Huge thanks for this post! I too have found my adventure into the Balkans with my Serbian husband bittersweet. It truly is a strange state of being when one simultaneously experiences longing and contentment for extended periods of time. In truth, I believe every human being lives in this state, sometimes more sub-consciously than not. As expats, this part of our human-ness is heightened as we are less able to bury it in wide scale, tangible familiarities.
    It’s tougher still when one tries to be an agent for change in an area of social good. For me, this has manifested itself in the sphere of animal welfare (your experience with the discarded kittens is very familiar to me; although I seem to be living in the hot-spot for the drop-off of unwanted dogs and litters of puppies – mixed breeds which are very difficult to home locally). I’m known far and wide (across the village) as the ‘Južnoafričke pas dama’. This title does make me different. But, it’s also very ‘me’. More often than not – both at home and abroad – being different is exactly who you are! When the knowledge of that is highlighted, as an expat, it’s probably the best opportunity one could have to define it and embrace it. So…. that is my journey right now. I’m not ‘South African’ nor am I ‘Serbian’. I’m me. Finding out what that means, bit by bit, brings me closer to a notion of ‘home’. It’s not the most comfortable ‘existential’ journey but I think, at the end of the day, it will be something us expats can be thankful for (along with the warmth of a Serbian home, the love of a Serbian heart and the unfamiliar beauty hidden at the core of every Serbian community).

    • Ah Sandra, What a lovely reply. Thank you. I have so many of the same feelings. I was just saying not long ago that I no longer feel just American. I will never be Serbian. But I am becoming more “Serbian” with time. We are lucky to have found this new home.

      The people here are so amazing and hospitable. The ones who put up with me are a special kind of wonderful. I am blessed to have wonderful friends.

      Hooray for your work with the poor doggies. You are a hero. I with I could have a home for the homeless animals here. And I am happy to see the way people think of them is changing slowly but surely!!

      Thank you again for the lovely comment! I wish you lots of luck in your endeavors here.

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