Sometimes I think I will never be a “good” expat.
You see, I love my expat world. I delight in my life overflowing with people. But after nine years of living abroad, I’ve discovered that my expat lifestyle and introverted personality conflict in more ways than I ever imagined.
I’ve struggled to strike up conversations in my second language because of my quiet temperament. Explorations of my new surroundings are stressful because of my not-so-adventurous personality.
At cafés? I’m perfectly content with sitting by myself for three hours straight. At parties? The kitchen is my haven. And when the kitchen isn’t in sight, I resort to the restroom for quick reprieves of solitude. I’m as introverted as introverted can be. But these struggles can fuel discouragement and insecurity when I see my extroverted friends speaking fluently, discovering new places, and befriending locals or other expats with ease.
I’ve been known to declare with exasperation, “I just wish I were an extrovert!” Sometimes I think it would make life abroad much easier.
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