Expat life is just life v2

It was a crazy week, I won’t bore people with the details but suffice it to say that one can never rest on one’s laurels and feel safe and comfortable–you just never know who might be causing you trouble in the background. I believe the immediate crisis has died down, and although I have now added a few people to my caution list, I will go back to proceeding with life as not in crisis. This week was definitely crisis. But at the end of the day, I still came away with the feeling that sometimes “expat life is just life”. I suspect such a political battle could have happened anywhere. Nothing about this battle was particularly England vs. America. It was merely normal job stuff: personalities and expectations and politics. So at the moment I feel quite good about my expat-ness. On the one hand, I really tend to take things like this very seriously and very personally. But on the other hand, I have certainly learned a great deal as I’ve gotten older in terms of how to manage a crisis, and how not to feel threatened. It is my taking things so seriously that was the hardest part this week.

I’ve also slowly come to the realization that I have friends here in England. And it seems to have happened all of the sudden. Like two years went by without having friends and now the last two months have been very busy with interesting people and fun things. When I did have a crisis this week, I had people who knew me well, to whom I could speak about it. And who supported me and helped me through the crisis. I have been at the point of almost juggling things on the weekend. And there is a ton of work that needs to get done. I guess this is one of those times where one is thankful for the precise nature of the difficulty–it’s much worse to have no friends or potential social engagements than to have too many.

The most interesting thing about this week was that my own reaction was “stay and fight” and not “cut and run”. One of my friends here actually said to me, “why would you stay here and work when you have good offers back in America where certainly you would not face this particular person and not deal with this layer of politics?” and I actually defended my commitment to my job here, this country, and everything I’ve worked so hard for in the last two plus years. While it may not please my parents (who seem to be quite keen that I return to America as a permanent solution) I think I might just be settling in here. And a note to the locals causing me trouble–they’re not going to get rid of me easily.


5 responses to “Expat life is just life v2

  1. wow. I do hope things have settled for you… and isn’t it amazing, that moment, when we realize that indeed we have made friends here…. good ones… ones that have our backs. I’m pleased you opted for the “stay and fight” đŸ™‚

  2. Sarah, thanks so much. It’s been rough, I won’t pretend it hasn’t, but I do seem to overestimate the level of the threat. Or just to take people blowing hot air too seriously. I’m pretty calm now, and hoping that the week will progress without incident! It’s amazing, though, after struggling for more than two years to learn the local scene, I really do feel like I have too much invested in England to leave just yet!

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  4. I think that the right answer is almost always to stay and straighten out whatever it is. I never left a job in my life on bad terms. If there are issues, look objectively at all of the contributors to the problems, change what you can yourself (I usually find that I have contributed something in any problem, maybe not all or even most) to defuse the other side, then work on the other parts.

    You don’t ever want to leave a situation where the ones left behind can cop out by saying that you ran away or that you are a quitter. It sounds like you have the right approach here. Any move should be recognized by all as a step up, not an escape.

  5. and…to continue in the vein of Kurmudge’s thoughts…the problems you have with people will follow you. the universe is trying to teach you to deal with X personality type, and even in America that personality will be there waiting for you. way to stay and duke it out.

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