There’s this saying in English that goes something like, “You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.” Chris never particularly liked it – he’s always like, “Look, here’s the cake, and I’m eating it, so I’ve had it and I’m eating it!” and I’m like, “But you don’t have it anymore…” and he’s like, “But I had it,” and I’m like, “Yeah – you don’t get this expression, do you?”
I, on the other hand, have always really clung to it as one of the few really and truly grown-up things I get. I don’t, for the record, stand by or even too closely to such classics as, “That’s just the way things are,” or, “Life isn’t fair.” Those are dumb. But the cake thing I get.
So it goes: living abroad has its many wonderful qualities, but there are lots of things one loses in the decision. I do love the oomph it gives to living: learning new customs, hearing a different language, learning that language, learning that the customs make a lot more sense when one has the language, etc. There’s also the different food, architecture, weather, currency, music, and just general way of going about life. And while it can be a bit tiresome after a while, I’m so unaccustomed to the norms of my place of origin by now (it’s been a few years, after all), I think I’ve become more accustomed to the not-knowing. On the other hand, particularly in my late-early thirties, particularly in a place where my native language is not widely spoken, making new friends has become a right pain in the arse. So much so, I haven’t really done it for a number of years.