It's time for another link up for Expat to Expat Q&A brought to us by Belinda and Bailie.
If you missed last month's link up click here. So here we go with this month's questions.
Question from Belinda: How do you fit in to your new culture without losing some of your identity?
Okay, this is kinda tricky because at times I feel like I am never going to be part of the culture here. I feel like wherever I go I stand out. I don't speak the language. I don't look like the people. But I am trying my best to immerse myself in the culture. So here is how I am trying to fit into my culture: I try to say hello and thank you in Korean. I try to be aware of certain customs and practices (i.e. Korean Thanksgiving is coming up and we got gifts to take to our co-workers and bosses.) I always try to do what others around me are doing.
In terms of not losing my identity, I think keeping up with the daily practices that were important to you back home. If you always went to Starbucks on your way to work- try to keep that up. If you watch a certain show- watch it. And be yourself. Drinking is a big part of Korean culture, but Matt and I don't drink. Just because we are in Korean doesn't mean we are going to start drinking. I believe that you can adapt to a new culture and be yourself at the same time.
Question from Bailie: What do you think your biggest trigger for homesickness is?
Holidays! Even though I am lucky enough to have Matt with me during all the holidays regardless of where we are, I still get really homesick. Thanksgiving is the hardest holiday because it is my favorite one, and I am very picky about what food I like to eat. I want exactly what my mom and Abuela fix every year. Matt and I were married the day after Thanksgiving and our rehearsal dinner was Thanksgiving dinner. It was the coolest experience ever. All my favorite foods, plus all my favorite people were gathered in one room. It was awesome. But being away always sucks. I think it will be especially hard this year because we are in a country that doesn't celebrate American Thanksgiving. We don't get the day off of work, and it will just be the two of us.
Another trigger is seeing my little siblings growing up without me. My youngest siblings are 10 and I feel so guilty I am not living in Georgia to see them grow up, or to be able to help my mom out. I love participating in their lives and being away always makes me sad.
I guess what I struggle with is remembering that being expat means living with give and take. There are great things about living abroad and there are not so great things. There is a time to be homesick and there's a time to just go with it and be perfectly happy.