10 things that expats hate hearing when they go back home for holidays

expat nils & emi

This is a humoristic post (just saying for those whose sense of humour is not very developed).

1. You’re on holidays the whole year!

Quite often, this comment is triggered by the number of pool and beach photos the expatriate is sharing on social media, trying to prove the whole world how lucky he is. Sometimes, he even goes for weekend gateways to Bali or Bangkok reinforcing your feeling that he’s not working much. But it is not the case. Actually, the company that sent him abroad is usually expecting a lot from him. He’s closer to 60h/week than 35h. I’m not even mentioning those whose expatriation country’s time difference with their company HQ’s country is big and who end up at 10 or 11pm in a conference call. Should we talk about all those having to board a plane on Sunday evenings to ensure they’re ready for the Monday morning meeting with one of the suppliers in the region they are in charge of? Coming back from your business trip on Saturdays works too.

2. You’re rich!

In our collective imagination, expat = a lot of cash. Yes but not really or not always. There are expatriations that bring a lot of cash (less and less) but most of the expatriations are usually for the experience, for what they enable you to live – otherwise it would be quite sad. When you add the rents, the international school fees or the health insurance prices, sometimes you don’t have much more left at the end of the month than when you were working in France (or your home country). If you add the weekend trips from point number 1, well no, the expats are not always rich! But yes, it is a way of life and a real choice.

3. You’re so lucky

I think it is the comment that make me jump the most. Because no, I’m not lucky. Nobody came to see me to ask if I’d like to work abroad. I don’t know a lot of expats for who it happened that way. If you really want to work abroad, you have to put all the chances on your side and really work on it. Luck has nothing to do with this (or I’m super super lucky!).

4. I couldn’t…

Fill in with the appropriate mention:

  • live far from my family,
  • live far from my friends,
  • live in a country with no access to my favorite French products,
  • leave Brittany, Corsica or Paris!
  • fly for 6 hours or more to go back home.

You know what? Stay where you are, don’t move. As if expats were egoistic monsters who don’t care about their family or friends… But each time I hear this kind of comments, I just want to answer there is so much to see and experience abroad that it would be a real waste not to go and explore. But that’s just me.

5. You still know how to wash the dishes / iron?

This is the sneakiest comment for those who hire a part-time or sometimes even full-time helper. But when you work a lot (see point 1) and when you’re rich (see point 2), what else do you want to do? :p

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6. Don’t you miss France (your home country)?

We hear this comment nearly every single time we go home from those who have never left. As if France (your home country) was the only one in the world with beautiful sceneries and a nice culture. How can someone judge or compare without having experienced something else?

7. Are you coming back anytime soon?

This question goes with the one above. But it makes us feel a bit more worried as it is generally asked by our close relatives. Sometime, we feel we can’t live in France (or wherever home is for you) at the moment or we just feel we are enjoying life in our expat country and have no idea when this phase will end. Because expat career has this part of uncertainty…

8. But how do you do with the kids?

For all those who are used to tap on the “grand parents resource” to fetch the kids after school or bring them to their after school activities, this is a real question. Actually, we get ourselves organised buddy! We do have a very long list of babysitters that we can call whenever we need, we may have a full-time nanny (see point 5) or bring our kids with us wherever we go… It makes them more adaptable to any situation (or almost!).

9. What to do you do the whole day (to the expat spouse/partner) ?

Because you necessarily have to work not to get bored? The expat partner or spouse is actually the expat family pillar. She/he plays a very important role in the expat success because she/he has to be there for the kids but also to support the working partner. And this is no joke. It takes quite a lot of effort especially during the first year. No time to get bored.

10. So you speak English?!

Yeah, as crazy as it can sound. And even sometimes another language too depending on our expat country. But we always feel it is something very special to speak more than one language in France and in fact we don’t hate this comment at all, it makes us feel like we are superheroes 😉 Thanks for what you do.

You are an expat too? What are the comments that make you jump when you go back home?

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