This time of year, life as an expat begins to get a bit tricky. Rumors begin to surface as to who may or may not be leaving, who is bound for home or other distant shores. Friends start selling things like popcorn makers and hair dryers. They look for new homes, ones they will purchase and decorate to their liking. They might offer you a box filled with brown sugar and Aunt Jemima syrup, and attempt to hide their smile while saying, ‘I won’t be needing these anymore.’ You, on the other hand, will fake a smile and sort of wish that you weren’t needing them either.
A friend and I talked about how it feels to be the ones left behind, to sit back and listen to others make plans that don’t involve dubious attempts at learning German. Sometimes it’s painful because we are homesick, but I think sometimes it’s because it is hard to watch people chase new dreams. We sense their excitement, hear their plans taking shape, and we lose sight of the fact that we are right smack in the middle of living out our own. It is a case of the grass is greener, or the lifestyle is better, or the cost of living is less, or their husband will be home for bedtime stories. Don’t get me started on the shopping. I just can’t go there.
I feel this way about a lot of things. About the friend who finished last week’s marathon in 4:01, or the girl who writes books for a living, or the family with a gorgeous home in London. They are chasing dreams and when their dreams look so much like my own, I forget that every day I wake up chasing mine too. Mine happen to look like a hairy poodle and three funny kids and a husband who emails me To-do lists. They look like cultural confusion and writing in the quiet hours and friends who dream as big as I do. I am living my dream. Someday it might look like a marathon run in 4:01, but even if it doesn’t, it still looks like running. And today, that’s good enough for me.
What dreams are you chasing? Tell me I’m not the only one with dream envy.