The Reality of Living Overseas – Part 1

“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life,
but my life has never been ordinary.
I’ve simply failed to notice how extraordinary it is.
Likewise, I never imagined that home,
might be something I would miss..”

Well, 10 months have passed since I came here to Abu Dhabi. And, as I become more and more settle into my new life in a new country as time passes, now it becomes less a question of how long I’ve been here, and more one of how long I’ve been gone from my home country.

I know, having overseas career is appealing for a lot of reasons. And, living in new country, even just going to the grocery store — when in an exciting new place within a new language — is a thrilling activity. And having to start from zero and rebuild everything, having to re-learn how to live and carry out every day activities, fundamentally excited me.

And at my home country, people that I used to know, nowadays just see me in a completely different way, and different level of respect. After all, it’s all about, very well, having dreams and hopes and aspirations however.

After all, being in my 20′s, I really want at this age to be the time in my life when I try new things. New jobs. Living in new cities. Meet a new people, with different culture, and different mindset.

But what about the realities of living abroad – do my dreams match the reality? From my own experience, my answer is “YES”, for the most part. However, as what always understand about life, there is no such thing as “perfect ten” in real life, so still there is “but” somewhere along the line.

Why I Chose to Live Overseas

You see, to live in a new place is a beautiful, thrilling thing, and it can show me that I can be whoever I want. It’s like the gift of new freedom, of new beginnings, of curiosity and great excitement.

However, that’s not the main reason why I left my home country. It’s not the main thing that I was hoping nor expecting. The main thing is that, I wanted to evolve, to change something, to put myself in a completely new situation, that would force me to into a new phase of my life.

It’s like, I want to escape myself, of “the illusion of success”, of bad traffic on the road which really stressful, of unbelievable workload, of ridiculous salary, of my own bad habits, of judgement / opinions about me, of arguments and exes, of love that has turned sour, of the same restaurants at which I’ve eaten everything on the menu at least ten times, of the same bad news on TV over and over again (and sometimes it’s really annoying & unimportant), of bad memories, from which I feel I can’t break free.

Then, I got an idea, that the only way to escape and to wipe my slate clean is to go somewhere where no one knows who I was, and no one is going to ask. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Indeed, it’s enormously refreshing and exhilarating to feel like I can be anyone I want to be and come without the baggage of my past, rebuild my life again, and have a new life on my own terms.

There is a certain amount of comfort and confidence that I gain with myself when I go to this new place and start all over again, thrive on living abroad. The travel. The challenge. The new people I meet. And a knowledge that — come what may in the rest of my life — I was capable of taking that leap and landing softly at least once in my life time.

My Daily Life in a New Country

My daily life is much like any other office professional worker’s. Normal time of 5 working days, with pretty much good balance of time for personal life and professional life, and good flexible working-time. And, of course, there is no road traffic whatsoever and very good public transport in this city, so I can literally go anywhere at anytime in a very comfortable bus, plus without worry much for time-consuming of traffic.

Most people I know are moving from somewhere else also. It doesn’t matter what brought us to the city. A job. Somebody we loved. A dream. A hope. The fact that whatever we were searching for wasn’t in the place we left. Whatever the reason, we’re not there anymore, and we’re here now.

I create “new homes”, new friends, and new colleague, though it’s safe to argue that I often can’t entirely replace one with the other, because it doesn’t change the fact that I began from somewhere else, and moved here. And, of course everyone always wants to know where somewhere else was. Over time, I’ve established a life for myself, with a good job.

And, I like my freedom. I realized I could survive on my own at this foreign country. And of course, no stranger people will suddenly bother gossiping nor care to ask nor having opinion about my personal life, so I don’t have to fake it or try hard just for the sake of “good impression of conversation”. And in that way, I love the feeling like I’m in my own world here sometimes.

But, the thing is, this is not my country, of course !!! There are moments when expat life reminds me, that I’m capable of setting up a life on the other side of the world – and that’s no small feat. However, sometimes, It feels hard to feel truly settle here. I also feel like, it’s “a stop gap” life – come here to make big & quick income tax free, live the good life – and go back when I feel I’ve had enough to live well in my country. With such though, everything is a stop–gap: friendships, jobs, etc. So, still I’m having wanderlust to do research on other country, where perhaps my next destination. I mean, just because I’m settled for the moment here, doesn’t mean I’ll be settled forever.

(Well, I’ll continue my post for Part 2 on this specific topic)..

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6 Responses to The Reality of Living Overseas – Part 1

  1. indra says:

    I know you can do it, as for may self I am still stuck in the country that offering series of “illusion of succes” which you explained in paragraph 8 and yet still cannot escape, that’s way I am so jealous with you. To think about what our ancestor usually says “dima bumi dipijak disitu langik dijunjuang” I still believe that I can do something here. Yes I know you can do it because I know you, you are my friend.

    • armetra says:

      Thanks for the comment, Indra.
      Well, there are no need to have the feeling of envy.
      After all, each people walk on their own path,
      which I’m sure that each person is different.. :-) :-)

      • indra says:

        Hahaha… you are right, each person is different and so do I, beside I am kind of people who always use envies in good ways, my previous comment just to show how proud I am with you.

  2. pacs says:

    hallo salam kenal baru buka kaskus dan nemu blog ini dari sub forum UAE, setelah baca ini saya cuman mau nanya is it really worth it? to work overseas, leaving comfort zone etc etc, jujur i have big dream ( obsession :P ) to work overseas, i think im on the right path now, im working in one of main oil and gas services company. hehe udh mulai jauh dll karena posisi saya FE,, ninggalin ortu jadi hal rutin,, lewatin acara kluarga (birtday party and funeral) mulai jadi agenda. nikhan temen , hampir gak dateng semua, sampe sempet saya berfikir. is it really worth it?

    hehe my question , with all the benefit and bad thing, is it really worth it?

    • armetra says:

      Salam kenal balik, agan Pacs.. :-)

      Ya, yang namanya kerja, mau dimanapun dan jadi apapun, awak rasa, tetep ada kelebihan dan kekurangannya.. Ada something “gained”, ada something to “sacrifice”.. Dan, masing-masing orang tentu punya “priority” sendiri, tentang apa yang di cari.. Dari priority itulah, kita bisa menjawab, “is it really worth it or not”..

      Klo agan nanya ke awak, berdasarkan apa-apa yang jadi priority awak, “Yes, it’s worth it for short time, not for long time”..hehehe

      Gut lak buat merengkuh opportunity go overseas-nya ya, Gan.. :-)

  3. Pingback: The Reality for Living Overseas, Moving Abroad | Uda Armetra

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