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Thread: The Expat/Emigrant Lounge

  1. #401
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hey guys! I'm a 24 year old native of the USA living in Sevilla, Spain. It's amazing, and inspiring, and scary as hell but I'm loving it so far. Writing was a big reason for the move, because I was unable to step out of work mode while living in Florida, and I definitely needed the change. So far so good, I've even set a goal end date for my novel, so theres that!
    I'm glad there are so many other expats in this community.

  2. #402
    practical experience, FTW Albdantesque's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabiwellfit View Post
    Hey guys! I'm a 24 year old native of the USA living in Sevilla, Spain. It's amazing, and inspiring, and scary as hell but I'm loving it so far. Writing was a big reason for the move, because I was unable to step out of work mode while living in Florida, and I definitely needed the change. So far so good, I've even set a goal end date for my novel, so theres that!
    I'm glad there are so many other expats in this community.
    Do US citizens get green cards there? How much to buy a home?
    If you want to learn how to deal with your archenemy, look at the way writers treat each other.

  3. #403
    practical experience, FTW Zoe R's Avatar
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    I'm American and currently living in Seattle (for the past five years), but I've also lived in Spain, South Korea, Montreal Canada, and England. The fluffy monster in my avatar makes it harder to pick up and go, but I still love to travel when I can

  4. #404
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin PVick's Avatar
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    Hey! I'm back in the States now, but I spent over four years in a backwater town in the Japanese countryside. It was only supposed to be for one year, but that turned into two and, well, you know. I had a rough time repatriating after that and spent another half a year as a dive master in Mexico, which didn't help with the reverse culture shock but was still a lot of fun. It's great seeing how many expats there are here!

  5. #405
    Business Lumberjack
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    Quote Originally Posted by PVick View Post
    Hey! I'm back in the States now, but I spent over four years in a backwater town in the Japanese countryside. It was only supposed to be for one year, but that turned into two and, well, you know. I had a rough time repatriating after that and spent another half a year as a dive master in Mexico, which didn't help with the reverse culture shock but was still a lot of fun. It's great seeing how many expats there are here!
    I'm an American expat currently living in Japan (Tokyo)! I also originally came for one year, and then I stayed and stayed and got married to a local, and we are just now going through the long process of getting my husband a green card. I'm a little worried about the reverse culture shock, honestly. Which parts did you find the most difficult?

  6. #406
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin PVick's Avatar
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    Well, it hits everyone differently and you’re in the big city, but mostly it’s just kinda boring in the States. For me, at least, every trip to the store was an adventure, what with the constant demands of small town gaijin celebrity and testing my language skills. It’s way easier to get by in America, but it’s not as fun. Then there are the little thing like food, trains/public transportation, and seasons (the infamous four season of Japan put Southern California’s to shame).
    It’s not all bad, of course: paying with debit/credit makes life easier, dentists aren’t medieval, and not getting stared at for being white’s a bit of a relief.
    It’ll help if you have a plan for after you return (unlike me…)

  7. #407
    Business Lumberjack
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    Quote Originally Posted by PVick View Post
    Well, it hits everyone differently and you’re in the big city, but mostly it’s just kinda boring in the States. For me, at least, every trip to the store was an adventure, what with the constant demands of small town gaijin celebrity and testing my language skills. It’s way easier to get by in America, but it’s not as fun. Then there are the little thing like food, trains/public transportation, and seasons (the infamous four season of Japan put Southern California’s to shame).
    It’s not all bad, of course: paying with debit/credit makes life easier, dentists aren’t medieval, and not getting stared at for being white’s a bit of a relief.
    It’ll help if you have a plan for after you return (unlike me…)
    Haha! I grew up in a small town, so I don't mind the "boring" aspect - in fact, I'm looking forward to being able to do normal things without worrying about whether or not I'm butchering my communication attempts. I finally got to the point where things being "fun" here has turned into things being really overly irritating. I'm more than ready to go home in that regard. And having a car to get more than 2 bags of groceries all the time! I grew up in the midwest, so the constant talk here of "Japan has four seasons!!!!" was always so silly. I grew up with four very distinct seasons, lol. It's not unique! But you are right about having a plan. We've got some stuff set up, plus I'm in the process of finding a job for next year, so hopefully things will come together to get us oriented a bit more. Hopefully your own reverse culture shock has lessened a bit and you can get back to writing! (If you weren't doing it throughout the low times, that is)

  8. #408
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin PVick's Avatar
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    Sounds like you’re ready to go home. And, yeah, driving’s a huge plus for sure. Just be mindful of your husband’s culture shock too; it’s gonna be a crazy few months for all involved!
    I found writing to be immensely therapeutic during the worst of it, so maybe it’ll work for you too!
    Are you on the ALT or eikaiwa track? Or did you manage to get one of those elusive real jobs?

  9. #409
    Business Lumberjack
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    Quote Originally Posted by PVick View Post
    Sounds like you’re ready to go home. And, yeah, driving’s a huge plus for sure. Just be mindful of your husband’s culture shock too; it’s gonna be a crazy few months for all involved!
    I found writing to be immensely therapeutic during the worst of it, so maybe it’ll work for you too!
    Are you on the ALT or eikaiwa track? Or did you manage to get one of those elusive real jobs?
    I have an MA in TESOL so I was a direct hire at a private high school where I've been working for the past 4 years. Even with the "real job", I've hit the breaking point with Japan. Actually, I hit it about 2 years ago, but because of my husband, I stayed, which I think has made it all that much worse, haha. But I agree with the writing! The first two years here, I was so happy about everything and exploring all the time, and I NEVER wrote. It's only when I get exponentially miserable that it seems to come flying out of my fingers. It's a nice therapy, but I wish I didn't necessarily need it to be, if you know what I mean. Are you back with a "real job" in the states, too?

  10. #410
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin PVick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heykatydid View Post
    I have an MA in TESOL so I was a direct hire at a private high school where I've been working for the past 4 years. Even with the "real job", I've hit the breaking point with Japan. Actually, I hit it about 2 years ago, but because of my husband, I stayed, which I think has made it all that much worse, haha. But I agree with the writing! The first two years here, I was so happy about everything and exploring all the time, and I NEVER wrote. It's only when I get exponentially miserable that it seems to come flying out of my fingers. It's a nice therapy, but I wish I didn't necessarily need it to be, if you know what I mean. Are you back with a "real job" in the states, too?
    I worked at a dive shop and as an EMT but I’m wrapping up a BSN degree now and am finally ready to start an actual career as an RN. Got a job lined up after graduation and everything.

    I put in four years on JET and was finally feeling like it was time to go at the end of my final year. I’m very glad I left when I did; when it stops being fun it starts being infuriating. Are you able to do much writing on the Japanese work schedule? JET (as I’m sure you know) is a walk in the park: I had an 8 hour day with a lot of down time at work; at the time I definitely I did most of my writing at school.

  11. #411
    Business Lumberjack
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    Quote Originally Posted by PVick View Post
    I worked at a dive shop and as an EMT but I’m wrapping up a BSN degree now and am finally ready to start an actual career as an RN. Got a job lined up after graduation and everything.

    I put in four years on JET and was finally feeling like it was time to go at the end of my final year. I’m very glad I left when I did; when it stops being fun it starts being infuriating. Are you able to do much writing on the Japanese work schedule? JET (as I’m sure you know) is a walk in the park: I had an 8 hour day with a lot of down time at work; at the time I definitely I did most of my writing at school.
    Hey, congrats on wrapping up the degree! That sounds really awesome and exciting! EMT is a crazy intense job, I couldn't imagine doing it. I think you were right to leave when you started feeling it - all it does after that is get worse, haha. I can't do much writing at school, so I'm stuck finding a writing routine once I get home every day, but I'm so exhausted from lesson planning and grading and then commuting for an hour each way that it's really hard to sometimes find the motivation to do it. Other JETs have said the same thing you did about down time. I wish I had more time, but I eke out what I can when I can! Japan has inspired a lot in my writing (world-building mostly) so that's a nice thing to draw on. Do you use much of Japan-spiration in your writing?

  12. #412
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin PVick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heykatydid View Post
    Hey, congrats on wrapping up the degree! That sounds really awesome and exciting! EMT is a crazy intense job, I couldn't imagine doing it. I think you were right to leave when you started feeling it - all it does after that is get worse, haha. I can't do much writing at school, so I'm stuck finding a writing routine once I get home every day, but I'm so exhausted from lesson planning and grading and then commuting for an hour each way that it's really hard to sometimes find the motivation to do it. Other JETs have said the same thing you did about down time. I wish I had more time, but I eke out what I can when I can! Japan has inspired a lot in my writing (world-building mostly) so that's a nice thing to draw on. Do you use much of Japan-spiration in your writing?
    I’ve ventured into some “enhanced nonfiction” writing of some of the weirder moments of Japan, which I’ve always found very fun to compose.

    For fiction do draw a lot of “Japan-spiration” from my experience in Japan, but not necessarily from Japan itself. More about how it is to be a foreigner/outsider and clueless. I felt like the longer I was in Japan the more the things that baffled me before began making sense. My main characters often find themselves in totally foreign circumstances but have to muddle through until by the end they are at least comfortable with the situation. And/or they not only comes to terms with not fitting in but own it. Like I said, I found writing to be very therapeutic. And, of course, if I need a foreign language it’s always gonna be Japanese; precious little other use for it as a second language around here. I take it you write mostly fiction, then?

  13. #413
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Charles Gull's Avatar
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    Born in London, moved to south wales, lived and worked in Germany, moved to north wales, moved to Germany, lived in Poland, worked in Sweden, worked in Russia, currently living and working in Germany again.

    Mixed in were brief stints in the US, France, Greece, Turkey, Spain and Brazil.
    Last edited by Charles Gull; 05-28-2017 at 12:26 PM.
    Don't follow me, I'm lost too!
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  14. #414
    "To express is to be free"-MiaPique
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettedra View Post
    I'm American too, currently living in South Korea as-you guessed it-an ESL teacher. I've only been here for a few months but I am enjoying myself. I don't think I'll be staying for 17 years though.

    Before Korea I was in Portland, Oregon for several years. Before that, Hawaii. That's where I grew up, and where I hope to end up again someday soon.
    What was Oregon like? I am thinking of finishing my studies in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., after my undergrad years? If that does not work out, I plan on moving to a different country, perhaps Spain.

  15. #415
    Hardened drinker divine-intestine's Avatar
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    I'm a Scandinavian expat who's lived and worked in the UK for the past decade. The theme of belonging is reflected in more or less everything I've written.
    I am impelled not to squeak like a grateful and apologetic mouse, but to roar like a lion out of pride in my profession."

    12 shiny publication credits - one audio and two self. Working on my 13th.

  16. #416
    Turning the monsters loose borogove's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by divine-intestine View Post
    The theme of belonging is reflected in more or less everything I've written.
    I can relate to that. I thought I was just writing your average time-travel story as a I tipped over the halfway mark, it hit me that I was writing about identity and belonging. Shouldn't be all that surprising, since I moved from Scotland to the US when I was 13. Talk about a pivotal point in your life. Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of the move, so I'm thinking about doing something special for it back in the homeland.

  17. #417
    Hardened drinker divine-intestine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by borogove View Post
    Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of the move, so I'm thinking about doing something special for it back in the homeland.
    What are you thinking about doing?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Gull View Post
    Mixed in were brief stints in the US, France, Greece, Turkey, Spain and Brazil.
    Where do you even begin to call 'home' at this point?
    I am impelled not to squeak like a grateful and apologetic mouse, but to roar like a lion out of pride in my profession."

    12 shiny publication credits - one audio and two self. Working on my 13th.

  18. #418
    Turning the monsters loose borogove's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by divine-intestine View Post
    What are you thinking about doing?
    I'd like to get a group of my creative friends together and rent a big lodge or castle in Scotland for a couple of weeks during the summer. During the day, we'd work individually on our writing, art, or music, and then we'd come together in the evenings.
    "Muriel Spark is said to have felt that she was taking dictation from God every morning sitting there, one supposes, plugged into a Dictaphone, typing away, humming. But this is a very hostile and aggressive position. One might hope for bad things to rain down on a person like this." Anne Lamott

  19. #419
    figuring it all out JoyceAernouts's Avatar
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    Born in Belgium, currently in Corvallis, Oregon for school. Not sure what to do after my internship is over here. I love the country, the people are so nice and nature is amazing here, but, and I'd never ever thought I'd say this, I miss my family like crazy. Any other expats who had this homesickness feeling? How did you deal with it?

  20. #420
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Harris From Far Away's Avatar
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    Well, I was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, that's in southeast Europe, and I still live there. Haven't moved anywhere yet, but I traveled a lot. I spent a few weeks in Italy, Sweden, Germany, Turkey and Croatia. I'm thinking about moving to Canada, Australia or New Zealand, sometime in the next 5 years or so. I'm just about to get my masters degree in biochemistry and physiology, after that who knows what might happen.

  21. #421
    practical experience, FTW
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    American living in Germany here.

    Joyce, that feeling never really goes away, at least it didn't for me. You just learn to accept it. If you're not staying in the US the rest of your life, then you're ok, you'll go home eventually. If you're like me and know you'll probably never go home, you accept the drawbacks with a heavy heart. Sadness and homesickness are a part of the experience, unfortunately.

  22. #422
    figuring it all out Ally_K's Avatar
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    Read through this thread and thought it would be fun to participate in it. So, here it goes...

    I was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, 1997. In the year 2000 me and my family moved to Germany, that was one of the best things that happened to my family. At that time moving to Germany, was like getting to civilization. I lived there for 11 years, almost every sommer traveling with my family or school to nearby cities and countries. I've been to almost half of Europe, which gave me a lot of inspiration for my poetry afterwards.
    I never had something like a real home, well, not like everyone is used to call a home. I've been moving a lot, home was where my family went. That way I never felt homesick.
    Then we moved to Kazakhstan, where I live now.

  23. #423
    practical experience, FTW travelgal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heykatydid View Post
    Haha! I grew up in a small town, so I don't mind the "boring" aspect - in fact, I'm looking forward to being able to do normal things without worrying about whether or not I'm butchering my communication attempts. I finally got to the point where things being "fun" here has turned into things being really overly irritating. I'm more than ready to go home in that regard. And having a car to get more than 2 bags of groceries all the time! I grew up in the midwest, so the constant talk here of "Japan has four seasons!!!!" was always so silly. I grew up with four very distinct seasons, lol. It's not unique! But you are right about having a plan. We've got some stuff set up, plus I'm in the process of finding a job for next year, so hopefully things will come together to get us oriented a bit more. Hopefully your own reverse culture shock has lessened a bit and you can get back to writing! (If you weren't doing it throughout the low times, that is)

    Ah, yes, the 'four seasons' rubbish. They do that in Korea, too. It gets old, fast, along with, 'Do you like kimchi?' 'Can you use chopstocks?' 'Where you from?' 'How old are you?' 'Do you have a boyfriend?'
    Fly on the Wall-105k YA Historical set in 1979-80-help!

  24. #424
    figuring it all out Flanderso's Avatar
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    Man, you people move around a lot.

    I was born in Reading, UK, but now live and work in the Czech Republic, or Czechia, as it should now be called but no one is.

  25. #425
    Born at sea Clairels's Avatar
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    Native of Minnesota, USA, with many pit stops in between, currently making my home on Tortola, Virgin Islands, among other brave/crazy post-Irma pioneers. Let's see how long I last!

    The Blue Line, short story published in Oakwood 2017
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    Princess of Pirates: How I Ran Away to Sea: A Memoir,
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