A Time to Reflect
Sometimes it is good to stop and take inventory of everything in your life. For me, I know that I have a tremendous number of things to be thankful for. As an expat, there are also a bunch of things that I struggle with on a daily basis. In fact, many of the good and bad things are directly related to my life as an expat. I would never change the decision that I made 4 years ago to live abroad, but it definitely has not always been rainbows and unicorns. However, the pros by far outweight the cons, that’s for sure!!!
What I’m Most Thankful For
As a result of my job teaching abroad, I met my wife. I always hoped I would meet someone like Kristen, but now I’m lucky enough to spend every day with my best friend, adventure buddy, confidant, and biggest supporter in my corner. Her kindness, generosity, passion, and creativity are just a few of the things I am thankful for. Also, the fact that Kristen is so close with her family means the world to me.
Being Part of a Family From 5,000 Miles Away
Just like most people, there are days where we don’t think about our families. Maybe we have report cards to finish, social outings to attend, or there is nothing new/exciting to share with them. Then, there are the days where you would do anything in the world to teleport yourself to your nieces’ swim meet, your dad’s house for a cup of joe, or your parent’s house for a family dinner.
At times, we both feel like we’re being selfish living so far from our families. We want to be there for our nieces/nephews and see them grow up. Yet, with the aid of Skype and Kakao, we try our best to be an active part of their lives. Despite the fact we’re a continent away, we can still see the smiles on their faces when we appear on the screen. It is not perfect, however, it makes us feel like we are in the same room as them and that we think about them constantly.
Seeing my life-long friends once per year is far from ideal. I have missed many birthdays, births, “Friendsgivings”, and nights out with friends. Seeing the lives of people I care about from a distance is quite challenging. Watching my friends’ kids grow up via FB pictures, Instagram posts, and Snaps is difficult at times. But at other times, I realize how lucky I am to live in 2018 where it IS possible to keep in touch so easily. Twenty years ago, I would have had to hope that Correos de Chile would actually deliver the postcards that my friends sent me.
I am grateful for the friends I have met since arriving in Chile. It amazes me how like-minded many of my friends are–I guess picking up your whole life and moving abroad means that you automatically have something in common. I immediately felt a great sense of community here in Chile with my fellow international teachers. It has made the transition that much easier. Whether it’s wine at someone’s apartment, dinner out, or a trip to the coast, It’s great to have so many kind people in my life down here.
At least I Have My Health…
I am so thankful that I have gone TWO years without a surgery! Although I am quite lucky to have 100% healthcare ($0 out of pocket for both surgeries), averaging a surgery per year is not what I wanted during my first two-year contract. I can practice Jiu-Jitsu twice a week without knee pain, and even sprint around the bases in softball (who knew I was an opposite field hitter?). As I am writing this, I am preparing for a 12 hour fast to get ready for a battery of (preventive) tests that are included in my yearly physical exam. Here’s hoping I can continue this healthy kick into 2019!!
I am quite lucky to have been able to experience the Chilean culture for the past 3.5 years. Futbol matches, asados (barbeques), weddings, festivals, concerts, and hiking trips are just a few of the things that I have enjoyed here. I have tasted enough empanadas and pisco sours to quench the thirst of Andre the Giant. Lastly, the many kind, helpful, and caring people (many of which I work with), I have met will always hold a place in my heart.
These past 3.5 years have been quite the adventure. I love my colleagues, have a supportive administration, and teach some incredible kiddos. In addition, my time here has been able to pave the way for our year-long sabbatical to travel in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. For that, I will be forever grateful!