An expat journey is often an exciting time. It is a chance for new experiences and more opportunities to travel and learn about a new culture and possibly learning a new language.
Our expat journey started in 2015. My husband informed me of an impending interview for an internal vacancy in a Middle Eastern country. I was excited. I had never left the country before. In fact, I had never even had a passport at that point. I didn’t feel the need to rush out and apply for one at that point though because as soon as my husband was done with the call, he promptly informed me that he would definitely not be accepting that position. At that point, I was at a crossroads in my own career, I had been job hunting when the offer came up for my husband’s expat position. The company I was working for at the time had decided to consolidate with another division and move their head office from Johannesburg to Cape Town. With the news that we would not, in fact, be moving to a foreign country, I accepted a position at a company closer to home.
Around the end of 2016, another opportunity came up for my husband. By this time, I had settled into my new job but I was always open to moving to a new country. This time, the opportunity was in Morocco. I was particularly excited to move because of its proximity to Europe. I began to do some intense research on what could possibly be my new home for a while. At the same time, we had restructuring going on at the company where I was working. I found it so aggravating that whenever there were possible changes happening in my career, there was uncertainty about whether or not I would actually still be around to see them. It was an extremely stressful time for me.
At my last job, there were two rounds of restructuring. The first one happened not long after I joined the company. It seemed as though restructuring followed me from my previous job. By the time the second round of restructuring took place, my job was on the line. The only reason I wasn’t retrenched was because someone else in my department had been job hunting and resigned in the session before I was called in to hear my fate. During this time, there wasn’t much news about an expat contract in the works. All we knew was that there would possibly be a position in Europe in the near future. After that, it was constant chaos and stress, I never knew when the change was coming, or if it would ever come.
Life went on as usual and we eventually heard about the position that became available. My husband at first decided that he wouldn’t be taking the position. It was at this time that I had lined up an interview at a different company in an effort to salvage my career and work for a company where I would be able to grow and learn new things. A day before the interview, my husband and I sat down to discuss our options for the future. We finally decided that we would be moving to Europe.
Knowing what was happening was a relief and crazy time. I was still working full time while my husband was travelling back and forth for work. There was so much paperwork that needed to be sorted out, finalized, and notarized that I ended up staying back a lot longer than we first expected. In our first 6 months of marriage, we spent about 3 months apart. During that time, inwas unemployed and started feeling the effects of not having my own income anymore. My official expat journey started in October 2017, 2 weeks after my husband left from Italy.
This was an exciting time for me, I had all the time in the world to do everything I have ever wanted. The only problem now was that I didn’t have money, or any friends to go out with. I wish I could say that the expat life worked for me, but now that it is almost over, I am starting to regret not getting out more. There are so many places here that I could have explored during the day but I didn’t. I have struggled to make friends here and a lot of things have thrown me off when it comes to adapting to new environments. I am never sure where this journey is going to take me in the future and I am excited about it. Maybe next year at this time, I am back home, or maybe I am living in another country. Who knows?
Are you an expat or did you follow your partner to a different country? Let me know below!
-The Uninspired Blogger