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Posted by on Oct 16, 2012 in Blog, Expat Life | 8 comments

The Expat Dilemma

The Expat Dilemma

I’ve fallen in love with Seattle hundreds of times. Every time the sun comes out after weeks of seemingly unending gray skies and drizzle, after I eat a great local meal, or can marvel at the city’s natural beauty from a new viewpoint, I’m reminded of why my home is so close to my heart.

Every trip back, I discover something new, rediscover old favorites, and yearn for a life that Spain can’t give me. What was once old and familiar is now new and exotic after years of living on the other side of the world.

That’s the expat dilemma—you’re always reminiscing of your life pre-expat, but know that if you were to ever move back, that you’d miss so many things from your adopted country too.

So, during a recent visit to Seattle neighborhood Ballard*, I realized while walking around I was so focused on how I had to leave soon and would miss everything, that I wasn’t enjoying the moment. I chose then and there to remain thankful for the things both Spain and Seattle have given me, and soak up as much as my rainy city as I could before boarding that plane back.

What do you miss most from home?

*All photos are of Ballard, WA


  1. I love Ballard! I currently live in SLU and am originally from Poulsbo. My boyfriend Antonio (from Perú) and I are wanting to move to Spain but are a little concerned about the current economic status and not having any jobs lined up over there. Seattle is a wonderful city and there are so many things to miss. (Although I will never miss how many gray rainy days we have here.) How does the weather in Spain compare to here? Any suggestions on what part of Spain to live in? I’ve been a few places and have friends in Madrid…it just feels so daunting to pick when we could really move anywhere (inexpensive, that is). Saludos y Feliz Año!

    • That’s great that you’re thinking of moving here! It’s a tough time, however, to look for work in Spain unless you plan on teaching English. I’d recommend Andalucía because it’s one of the cheapest areas, but the unemployment rate is also one of the highest there.

  2. I think you really nailed the expat dilemma – missing home, but knowing that if you moved home, you’d miss what you just left. In some ways, it feels that moving abroad condemns you to a life of never feeling fully at home again, no matter where you are. Maybe that’s the trade-off for all the wonderful parts of living abroad!

    • It must be the trade-off! So many pros and cons to each life decision :)

  3. How are you working in Spain, btw? Every thing I look at says, “EU citizenship required.” It’s changed a lot from when I worked in Madrid before Spain entered the EU. Back then, a little gift for the work permit people was all you needed.
    Tom Bartel recently posted…The Best Food of my Life: Asador EtxebarriMy Profile

    • It’s not an easy process getting a visa over here–mine is still in the works after starting the paperwork a long time ago!

    • No worries! I checked out your blog and read that post. It’s amazing that after so many years those feelings still keep coming! I hope you rediscover your love of Madrid soon and the homesickness goes away :)


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