Friday Featurette: Becoming an Expat

A couple Fridays a month I will be featuring another blogger or up-and-coming writer on my site. Stories range from expat life to travel/adventure. If you are interested in possibly being featured, please read the info hereand get in touch!  You may notice differences in terminology, vocabulary and spellings here but I think keeping it authentic to the author’s voice and background makes for a richer reading. 

Becoming an Expat
By: Jason Mueller

“You must give everything to make your life as beautiful as the dreams that dance in your imagination.”  Roman Payne

Many people don’t even get a chance to travel outside of their own country of origin or even their home state or province so the thought of becoming an expat in a completely strange country may seem overwhelming and scary. For me I think I was destined to become an expat, I got addicted to traveling when I was a kid I believe, I was privileged to be in a family that took family vacations to some pretty cool places like Disneyland and Reno. It was only natural that I turn in to a wanderlust when I was all gown up. I couldn’t imagine having an anxiety order like agoraphobia, in fact I am the complete opposite, if I stay in the same place for too long then I get anxious and look for change. This seems to be a trait that you seem to have or don’t have.

Becoming an expat is not easy, probably the hardest part is not knowing what the outcome may be, for me I was conditioned to take risks. When I was living a life that I didn’t necessarily enjoy in my early 20’s I made a life changing decision to follow a dream I had and quit a decent paying job and become a full time poker player. I made this decision shortly after watching The Secret, thankfully a friend frantically introduced me to the life of conscious thinking and the law of attraction. It was through taking a big leap of faith and having everything work out that I realized I could do anything I wanted.

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After winning some money from playing poker I decided to go an epic backpacking trip for 3.5 months to Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. It was in Australia that I almost became an expat for the first time, I was contemplating moving there but decided not to. For anyone that thinks expat life is for them I would highly recommend going traveling for extended periods of time. It is good to get to know other countries cultures, there are many differences in the world and chances are you have it way better than you could ever imagine.

If you are thinking about moving to another country it is best to spend some time getting to know the specific country and city or town that you plan on moving to. I would recommend at least 6 months, now I pretty much jumped in and decided that I was moving to Costa Rica after taking a 1 month vacation there but remember I am known for making decisions very fast, I can’t say I have any regrets but I have watched many Youtube videos warning people not to move to Costa Rica or other Latin American countries.

One character attribute that expats must have is the ability to make adaptations and be willing to accept changes. For instance the original business plan that I had intended to do when I first moved here fell through because I had a falling out with a business partner/friend but I opened up another business named Jaco Ropes which ended up being totally different than the original plan. Of course things starting out with a business are usually slow but we had a really slow year for tourism in Central America so I had to make the decision to pick up some online work for A-1 Auto Transport. I also started a separate business to try and help bring in some extra income and tourism to my existing business named Costa Rica Vacation Rentals. The point is that you have to do what it takes to survive and most often things do not always go as planned.

Expat Life in Costa Rica
Life in Costa is hard to beat when you are on vacation but living here as an expat can be challenging at times. For instance the fast passed life of living in Canada that I had become accustom to came to an almost drastic halt. The pace of life is very slow around here and if you are looking to get something done fast then this is the wrong place, for instance if you are planning on going to the bank or running an errand chance are it will take you way longer than you had hoped. The locals are referred to as ticos and they are notorious for operating on “tico time” They are basically never on time and projects can be delayed for months, sometimes years.

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Of course Costa Rica’s native language is Spanish so it is best to learn if you are planning to live here. Although in Jaco, where I live and much like in other tourist parts of the country, lots locals speak English but it is always going to be natural for them to speak Spanish when socializing in groups.

Are you ready to Become an Expat?

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Jason Mueller is an entrepreneur living in Costa Rica with family from Canada. Since graduating from high school and getting his pilot’s licence, he has lived to travel the world looking for adventure. You can find him on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Friday Featurette: Jet-lagged Emotions

A couple Fridays a month I will be featuring another blogger or up-and-coming writer on my site. Stories range from expat life to travel/adventure. If you are interested in possibly being featured, please read the info here and get in touch!  You may notice differences in terminology, vocabulary and spellings here but I think keeping it authentic to the author’s voice and background makes for a richer reading. 

Jet-Lagged Emotions
By: Katherine Wilson

People say the world is getting smaller, and I agree. When I moved to Italy from the USA twenty years ago, the transatlantic flights seemed endless: there was one movie that you didn’t choose, the old headphones barely worked making it hard to hear, and you had to crane your neck to see the communal screen. Talking to my family in the USA meant buying a phone card once a week and closing myself in a tiny, hot, smoke-filled booth.

‘What a whiner’, my mother chided me, ‘when I came to Bologna in 1967 we travelled on a boat, and I didn’t dream of talking to my family.’

Today, I can talk for free, any time of day or night. I can see my sister’s face in New York as she works out on the elliptical; can show her the piece of parmiggiano reggiano I’m about to buy at the market. The flight is direct, with great, individual movies that I can choose. The world is getting smaller, or at least becoming more efficient at feeling that way.

Smaller, except for one little thing. If only we could eliminate the six hour time difference between us. I understand this is unlikely, given that the Earth revolves around the sun and that might not change for my convenience. But in terms of communication, it creates a gulf. I am a mother of two and the morning is when I find myself having some time to talk – when it would be a pleasure to chat with my sister. By the time New York wakes up, I’m revving up for an afternoon of school pickups, shuttling kids and attacking Italian homework.

“Let’s talk at 11 my time?” my sister suggests via text. Unfortunately, her 11 am (my 5pm), is when I’m deep in Italian subjunctives and dinner preparation. It is also a point in the day when I tend to be tired. I no longer have it in me to tell her about whatever I had in mind this morning, when the day spread out before me and I was optimistic about the future: work, family, plans, etc.

“OK. 11’s good,” I text her back. I call her because she’s my sister and I want to hear her voice, even if it means perilous multitasking and leaving my kids to their own devices. I hear in her voice that it’s 11 am. She’s freshly caffeinated and wants to tell me about a date she had and ask about what are we planning for this summer.

“Um… yeah… I’m not sure yet… sorry just a second Anthony can you stop doing that, please?”. Sadly, this is about all my sister gets from me.

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Look familiar? Long-distance communication often happens when we can fit it in instead of when it is most convenient!

I realize, it’s not because I’m an ocean away, it’s because I’m six hours ahead. Her day has just started to hit its stride while mine peaks into the stressful hours of parenting, cooking and checking homework. She is Morning Anna and I am Afternoon Katherine. As a result, we are very much out of sync.

A friend of mine who had been an expat for years when I arrived in Italy gave me wise advice when she told me that when you fly transatlantic, it takes your soul a few days to catch up with your body. She told me, Katherine, with this experience, you shouldn’t expect too much of yourself those first few days, because it’s just your body. Your soul hasn’t quite arrived yet.

I think of that when I’m Afternoon Katherine talking to Morning Anna. Our souls are not in the same dimension. I give her my voice and my ear, detached from my emotions. That’s all I’ve got in the early evening.

I tell her before I hang up that I can’t wait to see her this summer, when we will be in the same place at the same time.

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Katherine Wilson is an American actress and writer living in Italy. Her memoir, Only in Naples: Lessons in Food and Famiglia From My Italian Mother-in-Law is an ode to her adopted city and family, as well as a hilarious look at expat life. It was out from Random House this spring and is being published in seven countries.
Click here to purchase in the USA and her to purchase in the UK/Europe.
Click here to follow Katherine on Facebook
Click here to follow Katherine on Instagram

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Friday Featurette: Have A Story To Share?

Are you an expat? Traveller? World Citizen? International? Do you have a story or photo journal to share about your experiences living life on the road less travelled? Would you like to be featured on this blog as a guest writer? If so we’d love to hear from you!

Starting in June 2016 I will be posting Friday Featurette featuring, well, YOU! The longer I live abroad (in my 11th year now) the more I know how much we need to share our stories with each other. Help each other to know we aren’t alone and gain experience from those that have been there before!

Topics can include:
-expat life/experiences
-family relocations
-long-term travel (i.e. not just a weekend spent somewhere, you must really have a feel for a local culture and impressions about how it changed you)
-multilingual experiences
-Foodie-inspired international topics
-original recipe and culinary/cultural explanation (i.e. your take on a traditional dish where you are currently residing)

Your idea pitch only needs to be a few sentences long. As an option, you may include a photo added to help me visualise how the post might look. The final text needs to be between 500 -800 words and include hi-resolution photos. You must also include a bio and any social media links (i.e. twitter, Facebook page, instagram). Your material will be credited and owned by you and hosted by Domestic Bliss Abroad.

If interested, send me an email at jennifer@domesticblissabroad.com

If you have previously syndicated/published an article elsewhere and want to reuse it, we can still discuss this. Changes may need to be made to fit different audiences but I’m willing to hear what you have to offer!! 🙂

Photo credit: Fotolia