LimboExpat by Andy Mayer
It does not matter if you are moving out of home for the first time where you can shove all your measly possessions in the back of a hatchback, moving states where your possessions are shoved into a borrowed van or if you are moving to a new country and all your possessions are shoved into a 40ft container.
It just sucks. FAAAAAAARK IT SUCKS!!!
All the buddhist meditation, yoga classes and retreats amount to Sweet FA when you live out of a suitcase as stomping, bitching, moaning and drinking too much cheap wine seems to be on an exponential curve.
My eyes open every morning (well not this week as my eyelids stuck together with conjunctivitis) but normally they open and as my vision comes into focus and I see the mattress on the floor next to the double bed, the really ugly gold and white polyester curtains, the dusty laminate floor and the blank cream colored walls and I wish it was 10pm and I could be heading to bed again.
I am in a shitty place mentally. I have just moved to one of the best countries in the world and I am floundering. We are all floundering. Even the dog is floundering.
Living in temporary accommodation for more than 3 months anywhere in the world is like groundhog day. Living without your possessions and realising Summer has long gone and Winter is approaching at a rate of knots is daunting. You only have a suitcase with your summer clothes , enough OB Tampons for 3 periods and your face cream is down to wiping the inside lid with your finger.
You never consider when you pack up your old life it might be 3-9 months before you will be reunited with your “stuff”. In some cases you are never reunited with your stuff.
I know some of you are nodding in agreement because you too are living in cramped quarters, kids are bickering wondering when they will see their stuff, sleep in their bed, pat the dog/ cat/turtle again and when Mum and Dad will stop huffing and puffing saying “Excuse Me “ just that little bit to gruffly passing through the kitchen reheating the 3rd premade supermarket dinner that week.
You may be trying to familiarize yourself with a new language, settling kids into a new school or being the new kid in the office at the same time trying to navigate the immigration systems and get the much desired residency card. Either way it is tiring and soul sapping.
Limbo is like a long boring game of connect 4 where there is no chance of winning .It drags on. You toss and turn in a bed that is uncomfortable, too hot or too bloody small. You are living in a new country but really it just feels like you are existing. You have no identity, no friends and are not plugged in.
At the end of a boring day you click on the remote and hope in vain there will be a show in your mother tongue. The shows on Portuguese TV are pretty slim pickings. Our nightly viewing is limited to Big Bang Theory, American Pickers and Storage Wars none of which float my boat. We have become a huge fan of Inspector Morse ( we call Old Morse) and now understand why old people like the show so much. It’s boring and not much happens so you can actually have a bit of a nana nap and still be up to date with the story line. New Morse is our favorite but like it’s predecessor it too drags on a bit and you find yourself wishing Eddie Redmayne played young Morse. Infact I find myself wishing Old Morse was played by George Clooney. Ahh Limbo makes you shallow and boring even if you are in the best expat country in the world?
I just discovered as I chastised our boys about not helping out around the apartment. “We no longer have a housekeeper you guys need to take the rubbish out, put the recycling in the bin and empty the bloody dishwasher! ” I then yelled ” Electronics off and 30 mins reading right now off to bed” .
My eldest pointed out unfairly, “but mum it’s only 6.30pm”.
Some of you may be rolling your eyes thinking
“well what about the refugees?”
“You have a roof over your head!”
“You are practically on holidays “.
Don’t think that has not crossed my mind but this nagging, dragging rather lonely feeling is not a holiday, it’s not my roof and we are economic refugees . It has me longing for our old life and I know having friends make a big difference.
I believe I have been here before it’s called Transition and it has an end with friends.