Monday, March 02, 2015

Reality of the situation....

I post on Facebook and instagram daily about the fun stuff we are doing and life in the city.  I talk about how we are adjusting and enjoying our adventure, and all of that is true.  The expressions on our faces are real, we ARE having a good time. But normal life does go on and living in a country where you do not speak the language and few people speak yours is challenging, actually it's hard. John goes to work everyday and Z and I are on our own.  Simple things like ordering meat at the deli counter cause me to sweat. If i want to have them slice me lunch meat first i have to convert the pounds or ounces to grams( thank goodness for google) and then have to try and convey that number to them.  I just learned this week that if my produce needs to be weighed at certain stores I have to take that to a separate cart before going to the register to get a label to checkout....I'm sure its posted somewhere but I can't read Mandarin, or maybe it's an understood rule, there are lots of those.  I've talked about before the multiple stores we have to shop to put a meal together which would be no big deal if the same store always stocked the same stuff.  It's not like walking into Walmart and knowing exactly where the beans are every time at ANY Walmart.

Then there are simple housekeeping and comfort issues that you might not think about that come with renting a furnished apartment in a country that values different things than we do.  We like Cozy.  We like to snuggle on the couch and read books or watch something on TV.  Our furniture is more of sit straight up comfortable.  Im not sure what the style is exactly, I mean who wouldn't love faux  alligator skin in gold with crystal buttons?  We bought a shaggy rug for the floor and that is now the softest place in the living room. We are waiting from some comfy chairs from home and plan to have this furniture moved out and purchase a more cozy couch.    And while I am talking floors....ours are white marble.  If you ever wonder how much hair you shed everyday, install white marble, you can do an accurate inventory daily!  And I will just add, white marble floors and a toddler, not a good mix! I have heard that come summertime I will appreciate the cold floors. Nearly every surface is shiny in our apartment, the doors, the walls, the cabinets....needless to say we have lots of tiny fingerprints  to clean up everyday. I'm not complaining, just sharing that it isn't all days at the park and awesome adventure, but there is real life happening here as well.

The social aspect isn't something that I thought would be a big deal to me. I am fairly solitary anyways.  I thought this would be much harder for John, leaving his work friends and just the social aspect of his job.  I have been able to connect with some people here and am making some friends, Zane makes that easy and necessary.  I have found a little network of expat moms.  I have come to realize that friendships will make this much easier, having a connection with someone else that totally understands what I am feeling.  Days when you don't hear another person speak that you understand can be very long.  John spends his day in an office where he is the only American.  He has a translator that does speak English, and some of the others speak some, but he doesn't have that social connection that he did in Texas.  He doesn't go out to lunch with his colleagues and download.  He misses that, and we have got to figure out some social outlet for him. Zane and I are awesome, but I think he probably needs a little something else from time to time.

As with any challenge, this can make a relationship stronger or it can tear it apart.  Luckily for us it is making us closer.  We depend a lot on each other and have learned to just listen when the other needs to vent or cry or be mad and not always try and fix it.  Not every situation can be fixed.  sometimes we just need to about why NO store stocks Dr Pepper on a regular basis!  I mean come on, I gave up Judge Judy and Diet Dr Pepper for this adventure, the least Taiwan could do is be consistent  and always have the same groceries at the same stores! Sorry, that was just an example....but seriously, WHY?  I've had a cold for several days now, that my loving, supportive husband gave to me, and when I called him at work today to complain that the one store that always has above mentioned product and that is within walking distance did not have a  single can today, he just listened. And when I was done complaining and assured him that I would most likely live the day, he said well I will call a couple of the other stores that carry it and see if anyone has a can and bring it home tonight.....and then added if you live that long. Support, along with sarcasm, make this work.

SO when you see our smiling faces on Facebook and Instagram know that we are very happy and enjoying this adventure.  But also remember us in your thoughts and prayers because  not everyday is toes in the sand.  Some days it takes a lot of energy to get up and put a smile on our faces and convince  ourselves that we made the right decision. But I know that God has a plan for us and for Mister Z and that part of that plan includes us being here.  We have each other and we are SO very lucky and blessed.  And if you find yourself with nothing to do some afternoon at 4:00, pour yourself a Diet Dr Pepper and watch Judge Judy because not everyone gets those luxuries!
Seychelles Mama


  1. I wrote a comment and, of course, I messed it up somehow! Either way, I am glad that you came over to my blog from the link up. This post is great (hang in there), and I can't wait to read about more of your adventures!

  2. This is a fab post Laura! I think anyone that has never lived life as an expat assumes that life is always perfect just because your pictures are!
    We don't have marble floors but we have light tiles throughout and can confirm that it definitely helps in the heat but man are you right about it showing up EVERYTHING (to be honest it has now kind of turned me off carpets which clearly hide all that same hair, crumbs, dust etc!!)
    It's amazing how little things like cans of drink not being always available can have such an impact but it really does, especially if you're not feeling 100% I can totally relate to you there!!
    I really enjoyed reading this and found myself nodding along the whole way through thank you so much for sharing with #myexpatfamily link up

  3. I also found myself nodding along right through this post! I really do hear you. We had marble tiled floor in Islamabad, just as our youngest was learning to walk. Nightmare! We pursuaded them to put in carpet - within days of the carpet being installed, the Mariott bomb went off and we all had to be evacuated! Also nodding at the stuff about Facebook (have written a blog post about that - and relationships (have also written a blog about that and have a chapter in my book about it!), Oh, and the stuff about having to visit several different shops.......Great post.

  4. I hear you, I really do. Twice now I've moved to a country where I didn't speak the language and I may even be about to do it a third time! You'd think I'd learn, right...
    The isolation is such an issue for expats. Like you I'm quite solitary, but that's not to say I don't get lonely or I don't want to crack a joke in my own language from time to time. It does get easier though. We've been in Italy for over four years and I often stand back amazed at just how settled we've come to feel, despite some serious issues at first. I'm sure you'll make Taiwan your home before long too. #myexpatfamily

  5. There's always more to reality than the photos on Facebook show, and I think that's true for everyone, not just expats. Of course, we always put the best and happiest photos online, it's natural, sometimes no one sees our "darkest moments". It helps that you have each other's support ... And some familiar products when you can get them!

  6. I also nodded along to this. Although we moved from the UK to the US and you would think they are similar enough, they're not! There are so many little things. But, you work your way through them and find new favourites. The days can be long, but I am also lucky enough to have a group of expat moms, and that does make a huge difference :) #myexpatfamily

  7. This is what I am feeling since I arrive here. I want to go to you and hug you. I am thinking of you and also think that you are alone. There are lots of us scattered all over the globe trying to make it through a foreign land. #myexpatfamily