I woke up this morning and realised I don’t laugh like I used to do. Of course, I laugh but not the pig-snorting-can’t-breathe-doubled-over-clenching-my-arse type of laugh, or the scream-out-loud-tears-rolling-down-my-cheeks- type of laugh - and certainly not the soul-warming-I-feel-complete- type of laugh.
Do you know what I mean? Seriously, when was the last time you lost yourself to laughter?
Yesterday I was walking along the high-street - surfboard under one arm as I padded towards home with wet feet and soggy hair. There was a silly misunderstanding, one of those, ‘you really had to be there’ moments and I crashed out. I could not contain myself – I was roaring, hissing, clenching my pelvis floor muscles for fear of peeing my pants. I laughed and laughed and laughed, all the while, busy commuters and just out of work professional in suits and high heels walked by (granted, they gave me a wide berth) a deranged, soaking wet girl in a wetsuit, head thrown back in the rapturous delights of freedom.
My God, it felt good. But after the joy subsided, melancholia seeped in. I actually couldn’t remember the last time that happened.
Despite my daydreams and whimsical musings, I am quite a pragmatic kinda gal, so I set about working out how to find more laughter in my life – and then I found this quote:
So is that is? Am I simply torn between two lands? To dear friends back home in the UK, living in the paradise of golden sun drenched sands and crystal clear shores is a dream come true, but these dreams don’t come without sacrifice – to leave your friends, your family and familiarity behind. Memories seem to belong to a different place and come with bitter-sweet nostalgia.
No matter how much you promise to keep in touch with home, slowly, the contact becomes less and less. You miss the big moments; your friend’s wedding or your best friend’s first birth or miss their child’s first steps or words. You miss the birthdays, the new homes and other celebrations. You miss the hard times, divorce, split ups, family bereavements. They miss your times too. Unfortunately, on the other side of the world, you cannot always give them your support and they cannot always support you either. Life goes on, with or without you.
Life becomes a dance, one foot in the present and one foot in the past - your heart torn between stretches of ocean. But to live a truly happy life, we must live completely in the present moment but that doesn’t mean forgetting your past or digging up your roots, because:
You can never forget the memories you made - and perhaps the quote is right, you do leave a piece of your heart else where, but your friends leave a piece of themselves in you too. So maybe in those times of homesickness, your heart is actually brimming and overflowing with their love...
Leave your guilt for leaving behind and learn to live in the now...
Fitting in as an Expat
It's not all that easy to begin with...
I chose to leave the 'me' I was at home in Heathrow airport - of course, I didn't know I had made that choice until... well, until now. I was trying to recreate myself to become the person I thought I should be. I made new friends, frikkin amazing friends, but I've concealed my real inner self by being guarded and trying to make a good impression - perhaps trying not to embarrass myself and trying to be a ‘grown up’.
A ‘please like me’ plea.
Also, while I’ve diligently tried to create myself as a ‘professional’ writer in my new home, I’ve stopped being outrageously outspoken, distastefully humourous, and childishly naughty (what would people think?) - I’ve stopped being me. And isn't that what made my best home friends laugh? Isn't that what me laugh?
Without my Home Tribe behind me, life as an expat became all about the reflection in the mirror – “how do other people see me?”
And we kinda have to say ‘bollocks to that!’
My new home is a place that exudes cool and I’ve desperately tried to fit into that mould. But I’m not cool - I’m slapstick, I’m sassy and I’m a little bit ridiculous. So, bollocks! I’m breaking the frikkin mould and I invite you, dear expat, to do the same.
Two words; Be Yourself
You can’t fake real laughter and you can’t fake the real you, and, for what its worth, I’m beginning to believe that one does not come without the other. So try it, try being unapologetically yourself and let’s see what magic happens…