Having passed two-plus years here, I don't hate it as much as I used to. Now, living here has been upgraded to "don't really like." That's an improvement, right?
It took a trip to France (and several weeks of interesting travel) for me to really examine my current situation. Ultimately, I have a job I like and one that allows me to lead a comfortable, interesting lifestyle.
In the last six months I have been to California, Sri Lanka, India and France. That's not going to happen with any regularity once I move to, say California or France -- the two places I'd most rather be.
So a big part of adjusting to life here is learning to take advantage: eating on the terrace at the Lebanese restaurant, for example, or going to the beach when the weather is nice; getting out of town when it isn't. And I'm fortunate enough to have those options.
Friends and former colleagues tease us about all the time off we have. For me, it's especially dear. I had seven weeks of vacation when I worked in France, and I've been an expat for 10 of the last 12 years, so I've really come to value that perq. Going back to two weeks off seems cruel and unusual. I don't think I'll ever manage to do that.
This isn't so much count-your-blessings as a bloom-where-you're planted. And it's taken me a long time to do that.
Should I get the chance to move back to Europe, will I do it? You betcha. But until then, I'm figuring out ways to not waste my life wishing I was elsewhere.
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