Monday, November 04, 2013

Groundhog Day

**I wrote this post over a week ago, when I was in a bit of an expat funk.  It's crazy how much can change in just a week... attitudes, circumstances, future plans, etc.  At any rate, I'm feeling a lot better about things since the time that I wrote this post.  I've managed to shake that "trapped" feeling, and am no longer wishing time away... in fact, I'm now wishing time would slow down a bit.  But I still wanted to publish this post so that I can look back on and remember the lows of this adventure along with the highs. 


Another beautiful Aussie sky

Let me begin with a little bit of a disclaimer:  Having this opportunity to live abroad is a truly amazing experience for which I am very grateful.  I have absolutely loved all the wonderful places we've visited and experiences we've had that we probably never would have had the opportunity for before.  The people that we've met here (both Australians and Americans) have been incredibly welcoming and kind.  Now that that's out of the way...

This experience isn't without its challenges and frustrations.  Not everyday is a vacation or adventure.  Most of our days here are just normal "real life."  We wake up early, work, do chores, get annoyed by our neighbor's barking dog, eat dinner... repeat.  Nothing glamorous or exciting most of the time. 

I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that I know we're going "home" for a visit soon.  And being in countdown/escape mode makes it difficult to enjoy where you are and what you're doing presently.  So, to be completely honest- lately, I am just so over it.  The other day while driving home from work, I had one of those, "What the hell am I doing in this place?!" moments.  Don't get me wrong- this little town has been good to us, and I know I will always look back on our time here positively.  But that doesn't change the fact that sometimes I would just rather be anywhere but here.  One of the lessons I've learned here is that I am a city girl.  I'm glad that I get to experience small town life for a few years.  But what I'm even more glad about is that this small town experience has an end date.  Something about me needs traffic, tall buildings, sidewalks, crowds, freeways, etc. 

An American friend of mine here described it quite well.  She said that living here is like Groundhog Day- "same s***, different day."  Sometimes I just feel so trapped, isolated, and stifled here.  Very little ever seems to change here.  For example, even if I wanted to get crazy and spice things up by changing my route to work, I couldn't really.  There really and truly is not another option or "back road" I could take.  Even something as simple as that can't be changed up.  Yes, I've lived here for over a year now, but a lot of things still feel very foreign to me.  I still everyday feel very aware of the fact that I am an outsider... and that can be exhausting.  I have another friend whose husband always says (half jokingly, half seriously... depending on the type of day he's having here), "Welp, at least someone is getting the hell out of here" whenever he hears a plane taking off from our very small airport.  I know how terrible that sounds, but sometimes it's true.  I think that trapped feeling is somewhat common here every once in a while. 

I'm sure the fact that our trip home is approaching is amplifying these feelings.  Having that "end date" totally helps, but it also seems to just make me more frustrated with the time in between now and then.  I hate to be in a position where I am wishing time away.  But that's kind of just where I am right now.  I'm just ready for a break!  And I know that when we return, I will feel refreshed and have a much better attitude :-) 

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  1. Oh my gosh I've totally gone through these feelings a bunch of times since coming to the UAE!! You describe it so well too. My husband and I long for city life again - we are in Al Ain which is basically a big suburb and last weekend we went into Abu Dhabi and seeing storefronts, people out and about, cars and just well life everywhere made us really miss living in a city. There are times where I'm just fed up and want to have a life in America again - to start a family there and enjoy seasons and not just heat lol. I have to say that leaving the UAE to go to the states for the summer both made things worse and put it all into perspective. I was so happy to be back and yet so much of me missed the UAE in ways I didn't expect. I can't wait to read about when you travel home and what your experience brings you. Thanks for being so honest and open in this blog.

  2. Hang in there Megan! I know it does get hard sometimes. You are strong person for going almost a year and half without going home for a visit so much props to you! Once you get back, you will probably miss the small town life of Gladstone, so for now, just sit tight and try to enjoy it =) The US misses you and can't wait to see you soon!


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