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From Maine to Brazil to UAE back to the USA: Whole-hearted Traveler

16 April, 2018 08:25  Erin Erin My name is Stacey and I am from Maine.  I moved abroad to work as an international teacher.  I lived in Brazil, Senegal, Argentina, and the U.A.E. After 10 years, overseas, I returned to the U.S.  and have been going through the transition of repatriation.

1.    Why did you move abroad?
I moved back to the U.S. because I wanted to make a career change and obtain a master’s degree.  I was very sad to leave my expat life behind and return to the U.S. so I decided to move to a new city. That way it would still feel new and exciting and I could still explore new places.  I choose to move to Austin, Texas which turned out to be great, perhaps too great!  Right away I meet my now partner which has been awesome however he wanted to get his Ph.D. and we ended up moving to a Denton, which is a small college town in Texas.

This has been an interesting move for me, although I am accustomed to moving in the past all the decision we’re mine because I was single.   Now I have moved because of another person’s purpose to a not so exotic place to live.

2.    How do you make a living?

I am the Local Coordinator for Academic Year in America, which places high schoolers with a family for a year in the U.S.  I help find families that are willing to host and help the students transition to living in the U.S.

I am also a wellness coach.  I work with expats who are living overseas to help them transition to their new culture and make healthy lifestyle changes.

3.    How often do you communicate with home and how?
I actually see my family and friends that live in the U.S. less than I did when I lived abroad.  When I was an expat teacher I had the summers off and no place to live so I spend most of the summer traveling to see family and friends.  Now I don’t have the time or the finances to do that.  I do probably talk with my family more over the phone then I did abroad.

I keep in touch with my international friends through, text, facetime, skype, and Facebook.  Sometimes I feel like now that I am out of the international teacher circuit some people have written me off as an “outsider” and don’t want to keep in touch.

4.    What's your favorite thing about returning to the USA?
My favorite thing about returning to the U.S is having access to things like a library.  I love to read and now I can read for free!

5.    What’s the worst thing about being back in the USA?
The worst thing about my current home is that I expected that when living in the US I would have access to amazing grocery stories and yoga studios. However, since I don’t live in the city I am sadly missing these things and didn’t realize they would be lacking.

6.    What do you miss most about living abroad?
I miss traveling and how quickly you can make friends in the international community.  In your home country, there is not the same sense of urgency to make friends.

7.    What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
Still working on this one!  We have been meeting people through my partner’s graduate program.

8.    What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
I did not grow up in Texas, so I find it so funny that adults and kids wear cowboy boots in the summer when it’s 100 outside.  I have seen kids playing basketball outside in cowboy boots!

9.    What is a myth about your country?

I think there is this myth within the U.S. that we’re are this great country and the leader of the world.  Yet, sadly we are following behind in so many areas like in education, healthcare, and happiness! It’s been challenging to move back and have our current president be elected.

10.    Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
The cost of living is higher than the other countries I lived in overseas and now my housing isn’t paid for!  I have had to make big budgets cuts and unfortunately that means travel has been cut.  I try take small trips around Texas or go camping so it still feels like am exploring.

11.    What advice would you give other expats?
Moving back to your home country is hard; treat it as though you are moving a new country, because you will still feel like an outsider.   I would say be intentional about where you going to live when you are returning home to set yourself up for success. 12.    When and why did you start your blog?
Sadly, I didn’t start my blog until I returned to the U.S. After I completed my master’s degree in health and wellness coaching I wanted to incorporate my knowledge of wellness with my expertise in cultural immersion and decided to start my blog.  Now I feel like I have a voice and purpose for my blog.

Blog LinkStacey's blog, Whole-hearted Traveler


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