Expat Life


Today’s prompt in the Expat Blog Challenge is to explore the trait I possess that most equipped me for life abroad or the trait that held me back the most, or both.
More than once in my life, friends have said that I am so brave, that they can’t believe I’m doing this or that. Moving to another country you’ve never even vacationed in? Crazy is a good word for that, but I’ll take brave. There’s nothing courageous in it though. It doesn’t take courage to do something that doesn’t scare you. It was a decision. It was a big one, but a decision even so.
I have a few traits that equipped me for life abroad, that equip me for life in general. They are rooted in how I view the world.
I embrace change. Change is the only constant. There are people who are born, live, and die in the same small town. Who fall in love and marry their high school sweethearts. Whose generations of family members are buried in the same small town cemetery. Their lives are full of routine and it may be seem mundane, but I’m certain it’s not. I’m certain they experience many changes throughout their lives. No matter how small it may seem to the rest of us, people’s lives are rocked and changed everyday. I’m okay with that. I’m not afraid of change.
I just do it. A friend once asked me how I get up every morning and go, go, go; she wants to stay in bed and sleep all day. I didn’t have a good answer for her. I have days like that too, where blue or I’m lethargic and don’t feel like doing a thing. They are few and those feelings don’t last long. I don’t know; I just do. I get up and do it. I have responsibilities to myself and others. It’s important to me to keep my word. And while most of my days are uneventful, I still wake up with a certain excitement. Anything can happen!
I’m okay with the unknown. Where are you going to live when you get to Australia? How are you going to support yourself? How are you going to get around? What about all your stuff? What if you don’t like it? The answer to these and other questions family and friends asked me was often, “I don’t know.” Lest you think I fly by the seat of my pants, I’m actually pretty anal-retentive. I live by lists, calendars, and various organisational and productivity tools. They help me deal with the things I do know. I don’t know what I don’t know and I’m okay with that.
What’s the worse that could happen? When my family goes to Disney World, which is five hours away, my mother acts like we’re going to a third-world country. She packs food, water, toilet paper, and other items that are available at any local store. I’m living in Melbourne, one of the most highly rated cities in the world. If it hadn’t worked out, I would have returned to the US.
But, alas, I do have at least one trait that has held me back in life. It’s an organ: my dreamy, watery, Romantic, melancholic heart. It makes me self-willed, fastidious, malcontent, morose. It makes me yearn for nostalgia over reality. It makes it harder to enjoy a cheeseburger because no cheeseburger in Melbourne tastes like the best cheeseburger I’ve ever had in Miami. The unspoken part being that Melbourne simply isn’t good enough; unfair,  I know. That hollow organ betrays my fiery spirit at times.
What are the traits that you possess that make it easier to make big life-changing decisions?



  • Samantha

    Stupids hearts not cooperating and whatnot! 😉

    • Cosette

      I know, right? There’s always a battle going on somewhere.

  • I love that flourishy last paragraph – it’s like your heart took over to write its own description.

    I think “what’s the worst that can happen” is one I relate to most. Whenever I travel, I think, OK – passport, debit card, keys. Great. Anything else I forgot – I’ll just get it when I get there! Makes life much easier.

    • Cosette

      Indeed. I used to travel with so much stuff – my fave shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hair products, etc. Now, I leave it all behind and pick up little bottles at my destination. It makes it so much easier with security and I get to have a few more pounds in my baggage for things that really matter.

  • Hey, I know those people who stay in the same place their whole lives. They said I was crazy, too! We expats are mostly alike, aren’t we? I find myself saying after almost everyone else’s posts, “Me, too!”

    • Cosette

      Haha, yes! I’ve noticed that too reading other people’s entries. It’s all very familiar.

  • I am with you all the way on this one. I know that for me, though I overanalyze my decisions greatly before, during and after I am someone who is extremely stubborn so when I have a thought or idea pops into my head, no matter how crazy or scary it may seem, I end up running with it. This trip that I am taking in May is the perfect example; I have questioned my sanity a bit and my family…well they’ve definitely started to get worried. lol It’s who I am though, I do overthink but still place a lot of trust in my “gut feelings.” It’s a crazy combination. Great post Cosette!

    • Cosette

      I totally hear ya. Once I make that decision, it’s a go no matter how crazy it might seem.

  • oh i love this post. the first paragraph is too funny bc i mention this too; friends that think wow! that’s so amazing that you could do this. You’re “i just do it” paragrpah reminds me of the same saying I just used “Leap and the net will appear” Your mother and my mother must be the same mother.. is she Cuban like mine 🙂 and that heart, that damn organ that moves us and betrays us all at once. Loved this post!

    • Cosette

      Thank you! 🙂