It’s been TWO WHOLE YEARS since we left California and moved to England! When I look back on the last two years, I feel so proud of us. We moved to this country knowing NOTHING. Now we are practically experts – well at least Andrew is. Me on the other hand… Sure, I know a lot about how to manage our life in England, but when I think about anything beyond 2017, my stomach ties itself in little knots and I start feeling faint. (Ok that might be a slight exaggeration.)
The truth is, becoming an expat means launching yourself into a world of unknowns. Some question marks go away over time, as life falls into a pattern of work and leisure, but the future remains mysterious. I can’t help but wonder what’s next after this? Where will we be in 3 years when our work visas expire? Should we be saving for a car, house, or another international move? Anything can happen.
We’ve casually brought up staying in the UK indefinitely, but the decision isn’t completely up to us. Our right to work here depends on Andrew’s job, and knowing that it’s out of our hands causes stress for both of us. He has the pressure of holding the job that sponsored our move, and I’m on the sidelines wondering if I should seriously pursue a career in this country, or bide my time in my 9 to 5 job.
I don’t want to diminish everything Andrew puts up with, but let me chime in for the other ‘expat partners’ or ‘trailing spouses’ out there. Postponing career goals to follow a partner to another country is no small thing. I’m very fortunate to have the right to work as a dependent on Andrew’s visa, but sometimes I see how hard he’s working, and feel guilty that I’m not earning more. Fortunately, I’m not the first person to be in this situation, and there are resources available like ExpatPartnerSurvival.com that I’ve found very helpful.
So that’s where we’re at two years down the road. I still wouldn’t trade this experience for anything, but I’d be lying if I said it’s just lovely holidays and travels all the time. It’s an adventure full of big decisions, and lots and lots of patience through uncertainty. It can be stressful, but ultimately I’m excited for whatever’s ahead. 🙂