Things I’ve Learned in my One Year as an Expat

Last week marked my first year as an Expat. And while I am still working on a far greater, more important post about this, I wanted to list some of the things I have learned in the past year.

Writing things down on paper and then transcribing them in my computer has been far more of a boon than I could have ever imagined.

While homesickness burrows deep under the skin, causing me to itch much like one with scabies, and often cores out my inner workings, even the smallest communication from friends is an amazing ballast.

After four months in India I was forced to ditch my oft held claim that I could easily only eat Indian food for the rest of my days. While I clearly still love Indian food, I crave variety far more.  Also, 5.5 months in India really makes you appreciate the joys of a simple salad — which are non existent in India.

Saying hello and smiling to others/strangers is a natural thing. My refusal to do so for 30+ years was pretty much insanity.

Bus rides in India often result in disaster. Examples: whiplash, a broken axle and sparks, lots and lots of sparks, running off the road coming down a nausea inducing winding incline, etc….

Every person you meet touches you. And if you can not learn something positive from each of them, I dare say you are clearly doing it wrong. (Yes, I know, who am I anymore????)

Ten days of meditation and silence will shift your being like nothing else. I highly suggest doing this post haste.

While I have long held that my life would make far more sense if I had been born French, I now amend that to say it would make even more sense if I had been born Tibetan.

That said, French pop > Tibetan pop. Lets not get crazy…..

The US health care system is even more fucked up that I have previously understood. In fact, I am fairly certain I will never understand how effed it truly is. I am VERY VERY VERY glad I have opted out of it, as only outside of it do I feel I can exist.

As much as this really, really pains me to admit, I often find comfort in those big huge Hollywood action movies that are played all the time in Asia. I always said I was above them and would never fall for this Expat trap. But…. damn it if I am not snared.

That said, an hour listening to my music grounds me just as well and I feel far far far less dirty doing so.

The only time I have ever been sure I was right and/or correct on anything is when I honestly admitted that I did not know something.

The way we use language is often far more important that what we actually say.

Skype is often as good as holding a friend’s hand.

I think when People look back on the 21st century they will see that the largest, most pressing issue we as a civilization had to deal with was creating meaningful solutions/outcomes for refugees. Currently we are acting like ostriches to this now, but it will be larger than anything else as the world slips into far more challenging climate issues causing untold displacement. AND SO MUCH WILL DEPEND ON HOW WE DEAL WITH THIS!

Living somewhere where I can not get fresh dragonfruit is no longer going to be an option.

Durian fruit is as putrid and disgusting fresh as it is imported. Still waiting for someone to create an odor based super villain named durian.

Watermelon in Asia is at least 379 times better than it is in the States.

Still more than AMAZED that one of the best falafel sandwiches I have ever had in my life was in Delhi.

42°C is CRAZY hot!

While this is not exactly new news, trains are totally the  way to travel.

The art of meeting people and saying goodbye to them in very short order is emotionally excruciating.

The act of not asking fellow travelers their names to try and cope with the above issue is not now, nor has it ever been effective. Frankly, it is more than a little foolish, sort of like eating drywall hoping to get one’s RDA of calcium.

People who say food poisoning does not exist or is only for people that have weak stomachs have clearly never been to India.

As my body continues to shrink, I have found that I best fit into tall women’s pants. I am officially a size 4. I am sure many of you will enjoy the hell out of that.

About Randy

I'm just a guy trying to out run his dying kidneys and live life as vibrantly as possible. Until I can't. I grew up in Tejas. Went to school in Vermont. And currently live in Brooklyn. But not for long....
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5 Responses to Things I’ve Learned in my One Year as an Expat

  1. Goggla says:

    “Saying hello and smiling to others/strangers is a natural thing. My refusal to do so for 30+ years was pretty much insanity.”

    ;)

  2. Lauren Quinn says:

    Yes, yes, yes to so many of these. Especially: “The art of meeting people and saying goodbye to them in very short order is emotionally excruciating.” Feeling that right now…

  3. Erica says:

    One year!! Woot!! The journey continues…I hope we can meet up along the way very soon.

  4. sez says:

    Profundities galore. “The art of meeting people and saying goodbye to them in very short order is emotionally excruciating.” Which is why you’ve elevated it to art, I suppose. xoxoxo

  5. sez says:

    “cores out my inner workings”

    during our years, i’ve become nothing but an introv-artiste. my solitary suddenly-chicago 36 y/o soul loves you entirely.

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