As a follow up to yesterday’s post containing the first half of the interview, the rest of the “interview” is below (and if you’re seeing this for the first time, check out the Part 1 of this interview here):
Do you get homesick?
Another “yes and no.” I don’t get homesick in the sense of just wishing I could go home, or missing things to the point that I can’t enjoy my current surroundings. But there are events that happen: births, weddings, get-togethers… and I miss them all. Not to mention the events that I have in my life that my friends and family don’t get to be a part of. Plus I really miss my dog, Reese. She’s very well-taken care of, and I know that, but man I miss that silly, sweet, brown pup.
Do you take every experience like it’s just temporary?
I think sometimes I do, yes. I try and enjoy what I’m experiencing, for sure, but I sort of have this voice in the back of my head telling me that I don’t know how long this will last. It’s good in a way; it makes me try to see and do all that I can while I’m here. But sometimes I also feel like I’m some kind of tourist-at-all-times, never interacting in great depth with the various elements in my life.
Are you scared of having to come back?
This is a tough one. I don’t know. When I came back from studying in South Africa for 3.5 months, I had extreme reverse culture shock. The adjustment was really hard for me. I don’t think that French culture is so different from the what I was living previously that I would experience that again, but I wonder about the possible long-term negative effects I might experience.
I also feel like I’ve come to think of a lot of aspects of life in Paris as endearing, though city life in general is much grittier than what I’ve experienced in small towns and suburbs. There are cities, and then there are cities. And I think if I came back, I’d need to find a place that kept me in a continuous state of wonder and awe. It doesn’t have to be another city, but it does have to have magic.
Do you feel like you’ve accomplished something by experiencing life in another country?
Not yet. I feel like I’m not finished here. First of all, I don’t speak French as well as I would like (though I’m proud to announce that I no longer say “I don’t speak French,” and now I just say “I’m not fluent in French” because dangit, I can say a lot!). Second of all, I think there’s more to gain from living and working in another country than what I’ve gotten at this point.
Do you think that everyone should experience living abroad?
No. I don’t think it’s for everyone. I have some friends who are so close with friends or family that even vacations make them nervous, and as much as I think people should try, there are plenty who would not thrive when living outside of their comfort zones. But I do think that most people don’t even know where their boundaries of comfort lie, and living abroad can be a very positive eye-opener. I think people should at least travel to other countries, and if it appeals to someone enough, they should give being an expat a try, even if it’s only temporary.
What other questions do people want to know about the life of an expat? Are some of you out there considering making the leap? What weighs on your mind?