The last couple of weeks we’ve been busy showing visiting family and friends our home in Korea, and thus the 6-month milestone passed us by without much thought, and we’re now well into week 28. Now that time is slowing down a little, we wanted to commemorate this momentous occasion by outlining 28 reasons why being an expat is totally awesome.
While we are definitely travellers at heart, loving the feeling of moving from one place to the next at a whim, we’ve both fallen in love with the expat lifestyle and definitely see us making ourselves at home in more countries in the future. Although this list is heavily influenced by our time in Korea, I think there are a lot of universals to this awesome way of life, no matter where you are in the world.
1. Experiencing a new culture.
2. Getting to live like a local, where even the simplest activity, like food shopping, is an experience.
3. Further down the line when you suddenly realise that doing daily chores, often using mostly Korean, have become rather normal.
4. Making local friends who will teach you more than a guidebook ever could.
5. Finding your expat community, who are more often than not from all corners of the globe.
6. Sharing the local culture, your own culture and other expats’ cultures with those new found friends.
7. Learning the day-to-day cultural quirks of a country, like how people act at staff dinners (drunk) and how to treat old people (R.E.S.P.E.C.T).
8. Travel. Weekend getaways are our favourite hobby.
9. Feeling like your travelling but still getting a paycheck!
10. Exploring the countries on your doorstep, ones that before were either too far away or not even on your radar.
11. Witnessing a country through all its seasons. Autumn in Korea was magical.
12. Learning about and celebrating new holidays, as well as finding ways to make the old ones special while you are away from home and loved ones.
13. Making yourself at home by buying simple things like spices and plants.
14. And having your own place to escape to is fabulous.
15. Having time to try not just the most famous foods, but all the lesser known, but equally awesome, dishes.
16. Finding your local favourite restaurant and making friends with the staff.
17. Also having the choice to cook at home, and not feel guilty about indulging in home comforts.
18. When you find something that you would frequently, unthinkingly indulge in at home, like cheese or wine, and are ecstatically happy.
19. Having people visit and having vacation-like quality time with them, something that a busy home life may not always allow.
20. Showing off your new ‘home’ to said visitors and seeing it through their eyes.
21. When, even 6-months in, you still get the ‘woah, I’m living abroad’ feeling of awesomeness.
22. When stuff is cheaper than at home. Although it’s far less awesome when it’s more…stupid $8 tomatoes.
23. Having lots of opportunities to use the language… if you make the effort that is.
24. The weather. Korea has rainy days like England has sunny days.
25. Long term travel always gives you a bigger, better perspective on your own country. I’ve always had great affection for England but I often feel it more when I’m away, especially when Koreans get excited and shout ‘ahh, original gentleman!’ whenever I mention being from the UK.
26. Knowing that if you travel somewhere and don’t see everything the first time round, you can always return at a later date.
28. It’s a pretty great thing to put on your CV too!
There you have it! A wonderful reason we love living here, for each week we’ve been expats in Korea.
What do you think about being an expat? Does it sound like your kind of life? Are you already enjoying your own expat awesomeness?