8 Months Today!

I cannot believe it.  As of today, I’ve been an “expat” for 8 months (9 months for Joe)!  Yes, I celebrate each month as I see each as a big milestone.  Some may think that’s crazy and a bit excessive, but then, those people probably haven’t been expats.

1st weekend in Europe!

I thought I’d take just a little time to reflect on those 8 months since a LOT has happened…

The most important thing I want to talk about is how our feelings/thoughts have changed (mine in particular).  The last 2-3 months I’ve noticed a significant change in my feelings towards Belgium and our move here – aka, I am a LOT happier.  Now, I didn’t really think I was unhappy the first 6 months, but as I look back at where I was and where I am now, its like happiness x5.

In the first 6 months I was feeling all kinds of pro’s/con’s:

  • + Excited for the new experience & travel (um, Paris only 2.5 hours away? yes, please)!
  • + New food, drinks, etc.
  • + Learn a new language
  • + A castle in our city?!
  • + Visitors! (This was both a pro and con – so happy to share our new place with friends and family, but once they left the alone-feeling was very hard to bare)
  • – Home sick for family/friends
  • – Loss of identity (did not have my job anymore or my friends/family – what am I going to do ALL day?)
  • – Unsure of how to get groceries, doctors, pharmacy, no Target, etc.  (everyday life was so unfamiliar & time-consuming)
  • – Dislike for our new apartment – spiders in the stairwell…the size of my palm? OMG
Obviously, there are a lot more things I can list, but I don’t want this post to be 10 pages.  I’ve read some other expat blogs and want to share this link from a fellow Belgian expat.  She sums up the 6 month feelings quite nicely and I can relate to a lot of her emotions!  It’s so nice knowing that I’m not crazy and there are others out there who feel the same! 🙂
Now, in months 7 and 8, I can honestly say that I am very happy here.  Of course, there are still up and down days, but the down days are definitely not as often (Joe hasn’t come home to my crying in quite awhile – whew for him)!!  I’m absolutely loving MBA school (definitely helping with the identity issue) and I also feel like I can finally do “everyday” activities in a normal amount of time (less google maps and/or calling our relocation agent every 5 minutes)!  I LOVE our new apartment (see here) and I’ve also developed a nice group of friends!  I’ve even caught myself calling it “home” – WHOA, never thought that would happen!

Month 8 (& Joe's fave place in Belgium)!

So now…I’m looking forward to what months 8 through ??? will bring…

9 responses

  1. Congratulations on your 8 month ‘expativersary’! It is a big milestone and you should definitely celebrate it. I’m glad to read you’re feeling better about your experience than you did in the beginning and I’m glad my post about my first 6 months helped. It gets easier and easier as time goes on, but trust me, even after 6 years, I still have the occasional bad day. The important thing is to move forward and focus on all the good things about life in Belgium. Best of luck with your MBA!

  2. At least you only saw the giant spiders in the stairwell…. There was one in my bathtub the first day my parents were here! Good thing they were here or I don’t know what I would have done!

  3. Wow, you sound so excited–in spite of all the ups and downs! You really are on an adventure and I was happy reading that you are making the most of it. I love reading about expats who experience the pros and cons and still love the experience. Thanks for the follow on twitter, it’s been fun looking around your site!

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