Facing the Inevitable While Abroad... Expat Complaints
Nov 15, 2013
Living, retiring and working abroad has become more popular for North Americans… and can you blame them? With the overall economy in both of these countries intermittently struggling, people are looking to start over in simpler, more affordable locales.
But if you’re considering the expat lifestyle, chances are high that you’ll be dealing with other expats. And herein lies the inevitable… foreigners living in faraway lands, complaining about other foreigners.
Complaining as a whole is a natural form of human communication. In most cases it’s the way we define challenges… either to overcome them or to learn to accept them with as much grace and good humor as possible.
In fact, for many expats, good-natured complaining is the norm! Get together a group of them, and it won’t take long for the conversation to turn into a story-sharing session about language misunderstandings, bureaucratic delays, punctuality, product availability and so on…
Of course, that’s to be expected, right? After all, these are folks that share the same adventurous spirit and have moved their life to an entirely different culture. Sharing and comparing challenges is a healthy and very normal way to cope with unfamiliar surroundings with others having the same experience… much more difficult to do with the majority of family and friends living ‘back home’.
All this being said… don’t be surprised to hear expat complaints being geared directly towards other expats… it may go something like this: ‘We loved living in <insert beach town, mountain-top paradise or colonial city here> so much more before all the other foreigners discovered it too!’ And it will usually continue with complaints of the ‘newcomers’ not speaking the local language, overpaying for goods and services and having no idea about local real estate or procedures surrounding the purchase of it.
Basically… all the actions and anticipations that the seasoned expats had when they first moved abroad are exactly what they can’t stand in the new expats. Ironic, isn’t it?
In principal, this makes sense. After all, everyone wants to be ‘first’… for example, you discover an incredible restaurant; you want to bring your friends, maybe you mention it on social media… all innocent enough. But, the next time you try and drop in, you find it’s fully booked and you can’t get in without a reservation! This same notion can apply when referring to a tropical paradise… except on a much larger scale! With publications like International Living consistently looking for the next ‘new and affordable’ destination, thousands of people are looking and considering a move right along with you.
So, apologies to all those already settled in stunning, exotic and affordable faraway lands, but the newbie’s will keep coming; because despite the fact that you may feel there are enough foreigners already, they are just as entitled as anyone to explore new countries and opportunities.
Besides, you were a newcomer at one point too! Keep that in mind when you’re giving sideways glances at someone you don’t recognize or is asking a million questions, and remember how you felt when you first moved and got the same reaction from those already there…
Discovery Weekends are a wonderful way to experience a new country with no risk. And if you really want to go somewhere that is still somewhat undiscovered have a peek at our options! Although we represent countries that are popular expat destinations, not all locations within those countries are…