This past weekend, Saturday May 21st to be exact, marked the two-year anniversary of my move to Bahrain. TWO WHOLE YEARS. The date isn’t in my calendar, so I sort of forgot. I knew the move date was around May in 2014, sometime towards the end of the month. Mild boredom and curiosity got the better of me on Friday night, so I searched my blog to remind myself. Good thing I keep track of those important things somewhere.
What has two years of being an expat in Bahrain taught me?
That living in a country that’s different from the one you previously spent your whole life in, isn’t actually that hard. You make it work by just getting on with it. Granted, it has been a fairly easy move for me to make. What with me working from home for the same company I was working with while in the UK. One of the main spoken and written languages being English here in Bahrain. And having Anish already here. There was still a small adjustment period – getting used to driving on the “wrong” side of the road, training myself to stop converting the price of everything to the pound (something I’m still a bit guilty of) and generally getting used to a different lifestyle.
It’s curious. If and when trips are planned back to the UK, the question I’m most asked is if I’m excited to be going back home. The voice inside my head is doing that weird confused dog head tilt thing and thinking, “but I am home”. I wonder, do any other expats do this as well? As I said last year, Bahrain definitely feels like home now. Though, that’s probably more to do with the life that I’ve created for myself here, rather than due to the amount of time I’ve been living here. I really understand how home is more than just a geographical location. Home is where I feel at home. With my person. With the memories that we’ve created here. The experiences.
And that’s what we have to hold on to. Living the expat life is tough. Being so connected to those you left behind via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and yet not. You’re not in their lives anymore. So you have to fill it with new experiences. Experiences that enrich your life in other ways. And new people.
Oh people. The expat life can be cruel. I’ve already written about one of the hard lessons about expat life. But it was only in the last year where I’ve felt it the most. Maybe because in the last year we made actual friends. And many of whom are expats. Which means having to say goodbye to them when they inevitably leave. (Bahrain is a very transitory country.) Earlier this month I bid a very sad farewell to people who became family to me over the past two years. And as I write these words, tears begin to fill my eyes. BUT they’re on their own journey as well. And we were all part of each others lives at one point in time. And it was awesome. Beyond awesome. And I’m so glad we got to spend this little bit of time together. Now I’ve got an excuse to go explore another country.
Above all, two years of living in Bahrain has taught me that I can do this. That it’s not that hard. Maybe a little scary at first, but easy enough to overcome. Like last year, I still can’t say what the next move is. Or where it’ll be. Or when it’ll be. I know I’ll be ready for it.
One final thing I’ve learnt after two years in Bahrain is that its never-ending obsession with burgers is, well, never-ending.
PS. I’ve joined that thing called Snapchat. I’m still figuring it out and wondering how I’m actually going to use it. But if you’d like to follow along with my learning, I’m jaina.mistry over there.