Living abroad as an expat has changed my life in many ways. I have seen some beautiful sites and grown as a person in many ways. But what I don’t always talk about with friends and family are the difficult bits.
One of the main reasons I don’t write about the lonely and isolating parts is because they don’t last that long. Normally it takes a Skype call home or an inspirational walk around Istanbul to help me pass the blues. But these blues can run deep. I read an article recently that said expat life is filled with high highs and low lows. Most of the time, I feel happy with this life I have chosen but that is not to say that I am not tested.
With this life, I am totally free from who I was; in the sense that I can be whoever I want to be, free from the expectations of friends and family. This is very liberating but interestingly, I find myself also holding on to what I know. It’s a weird mix.
When I think of my time is Shekou, China I realize just how much I grew up. Living there was humbling and made me deeply appreciative of just about everything in my life. With Istanbul, I wish everyone could experience the beauty I have experienced living in this Muslim country.
So although I have been equal parts humbled and inspired, I am still the same straight talking, direct, (and occasionally very funny) person that I always have been. Maybe just with a softer edge. I wouldn’t change the past six years but that is not to say that it has come without a large cost. Is it worth it? Only time will tell.
Below are some photos – one set is from my trip to Istanbul Modern for some needed inspiration and the other set of photos is from two weeks ago when I went on a walking tour around Fatih, Yedikule, and Samatya.
Walking Around Fatih, Yedikule, and Samatya
I know you love the pink in the last photo! Interesting post, Claire!