I have had two massive nudges in the last week to acknowledge my expat achievements and appreciate just how far I have come since I moved to the Netherlands in 2000.
Firstly Jessica de Rooij posted this comment on a recent post about the things I have learnt from the Dutch,
“Today I had this thought that I wanted to compliment all expat mamas because you must be very skilled to live in a foreign country: be an expat, mama and happy at the same time. Takes a huge effort.”
Living overseas is indeed not as easy as it may seem to inexperienced non-traveled eyes. Doing it as a parent throws up its challenges too – after all I am raising three children in a country that I did not grow up in. My childhood was spent in a different culture to the one my children are growing up in. My sons have Dutch nationality and speak Dutch as their first language. It is not a scenario I ever imagined whilst I was doing my growing up in Britain. And yet here I am. An expat. A mama. Happy. Thank you Jessica for a lovely reminder that expat parenting takes skill and effort.
My second nudge came in the form of a tweet I saw about The Reverse Bucket by Erika from America. Instead of dwelling on all the things she hasn’t done, she compiled a list of all the things she has done. I love the idea. It is so easy to focus on what you haven’t yet achieved and forget the victories and experiences you already have under your belt. Particularly when you have replanted yourself in a new country and have made/are making a new life for yourself.
A recent post I wrote about the 10 hard lessons I have learnt on the way to a happy life abroad resonated with many expats (it is by far my most read post, and with 1.9k Facebook likes as I write the most popular by a mile) and also made me stop and realise how far I have come since those early newbie expat days when I made the jump over the North Sea to the Netherlands. In other words my reverse expat bucket list should be huge. And so should yours.
And so it struck me that we expats should shout about our accomplishments. And the idea for another expat bloggers link up was born: My Reverse Expat Bucket List. On Thursday 17th April I will publish my post listing the things that I have achieved as an expat, the top experiences that I have gained since moving overseas – and I invite you to do the same and link up. You can write as short or long a list as you like, you can focus on one major accomplishment, you can list 200 – there are no rules except that you should shout as loud as you can about the amazing things you have done as an expat. Are you in?