July 9, 2009

5 Sad Expat Memories From Overseas

When we lived overseas in Tokyo, though a great experience and wonderful opportunity that we would not have missed for anything, there were many sad moments. I've hesitated to share any of them before because I did not want to sound like I was whining or ungrateful. That is far from it and now that time has moved on, I think it is healthy to share. My experiences may help other expats who feel the same longings and mixed emotions.

Five of my most sharp and sad memories were:

  • Not being able to pick up the phone and call California on a whim because of the 17 hour time difference
  • Staying in Tokyo for Christmas
  • Being "skinny" by California standards but an XXL by Japanese size charts
  • Getting homesick but not being able to tell your friends because they thought you lived an exotic life of luxury
  • Seeing this commercial for a local bank with all the local San Francisco sights that you missed, and hearing Tony Bennett sing I left my heart in San Francisco
If you live overseas and have feelings of melancholy, it is okay and natural. Even if you are living in the lap of luxury in your new surroundings, there is nothing wrong with missing your old life. Try not to dwell in the sadness but see it as a way of appreciating what you had at home, and as an opportunity to learn how to live well in another culture and environment. Experiencing diversity and other cultures in an intimate way, such as an expat, can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Ganbatte kudasai!


  1. yeah:) true true..you will surely miss your homeland...and it's just that way how we are locked our hearts with our homeland :D there's one tip here at http://baraaza.com/ though to overcome that :) maybe it'll be taking long

    baraaza though is a great travel guide. you can interact with people and share your blog and videos there :)

  2. Thank you Stephanie for being so nice! And for the tips. I will check out Baraaza...

  3. Everyone is XXL by asian standards!

  4. For girls Matt - we never want our dress label to read XXL or anything close to that, no matter what. I'm just saying...and speaking for myself.


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