A bunch of problems resolved today: apartments, lease car, business contracts, airline planning. None of them were life-threatening, but all required diligence, flexibility, negotiation, and time.
Sometimes the process overwhelms the promise; things that should be easy are way too difficult and simple requests lead to inaccessible procedures.
It can get discouraging, and I wonder whether maybe expat living just sets up too many pointless artificial barriers. Is it all worth it?
But today, riding my bike back along the river, feeling flush with my problems solved, there was no place I’d rather be. The bustle of students, the terraced buildings, the steeples across the water, the trees in full bloom, the bicycles clattering by, the cafe’s lining the streets: This is still an amazing way to live.
Six years ago, I walked away from a job that had peaked, looking for a more creative, fulfilling, balanced way to live. “My private theory about midlife is that if you don’t move forward, and also sort of at least semi-correct wrong paths, expired ways, do some of what you secretly wanted to do, you get weird and bitter,” wrote a friend, remarking on her experiences. A similar article in Wired reflected on the evolution that talented technical people experience through their lives,
Some are now rich, famous, and powerful, thriving in the transition from subculture to industry. Others, unwilling or unable to adapt to a world that had discovered and exploited their passion — or else just unlucky — toiled in obscurity and fought to stave off bitterness.
I never wanted to become bitter; never wanted to feel like life had become all it could be, or that it never gets better than this.
I think that we all make intentional choices, we work hard to make the most of them, and we learn from them, every day.
And the reward is that the life we lead as expats becomes remarkable.