Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Best of Both Worlds

This post was originally a guess post over at Niescior's Notes, but I wanted to share it on here today because I don't know how many of my readers got to read it. This post really explains my life here in Japan and why it isn't a typical "expat" experience.

When people ask about my life here, I always explain it as having the best of both worlds. No, I'm not actually a popstar living a normal life (Hannah Montana anyone?).  But I am kind of a poser. Yes, I'm calling myself out. I am not a "real" expat. At least I can admit it, right?

Here's the deal, my husband is in the Marine Corps, and they moved us to Japan. Living in another country on military orders provides the best of both worlds. We get to have all of the experiences of living in another country. We experience the culture, the food, the sights, and all the wonderful things that this country has to offer.

On the other hand, we get a lot of the comforts of home. I can buy all American groceries at the commissary on base. There is a store on base that sells any American product we may need; furniture, electronics, make-up, clothes, etc. I can go to the doctor on base whenever I need to. We can go to restaurants, movies, and bowling on base, just like being in the States. We have so many resources available to us to help make our lives in another country easier. We also have tons of other Americans in the same boat that we can be friends with.

These American comforts are what make me feel like an expat poser. I feel like we don't have to face as many hardships that other expats face. We didn't have to be super brave and make the decision ourselves to move abroad, we were sent here. We don't have to experience adjusting our cooking to not having any American products. We don't have to navigate a foreign healthcare system. Not that we wouldn't want to be friends with locals, but we have Americans to be friends with as well. We are given money from the military to help offset the cost of living, which we wouldn't get as regular expats.

I am not going to lie, I kind of like being a poser, because I don't know if I could be a real expat. I don't know if I would have had the courage to drop everything and move to another country without knowing what was in store for me. I am so thankful that the military has given us the opportunity to have the best of both worlds. It has been such an incredible experience so far. This place is incredibly beautiful, the culture is so wonderful, and the food is unforgettable. This experience has been so great, maybe someday I will want to be a "real" expat!


  1. What a great Experience!

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  2. What a great post! I think traveling with the military is the best way to go! I would be so comforted knowing that I could have the American things I needed when I needed them. Haha. That may make me a terrible person, but that's okay.
    Japan seems amazing!

  3. I'm so jealous of your adventures!! I know it must suck being away from the rest of your family but being with your man is still pretty sweet ;) Blogs like these make me want to travel the world!
    Meghan @ Lipstick Skulls Blog

  4. Being an expat is fun buy sometimes I wish I could just have a Target! Those American things are such a comfort. Jealous you get to buy the stuff you're used to! I'd say a poser expat is the best way to go :)

  5. Such a great post! I can totally see that. So true. Creature comforts on base, new and culture shock off. What a great way to put it to words! If we ever lived overseas, I think having this perspective would help a lot in settling down overseas in a new country and feeling right about it. And it doesn't hurt that since you are traveling with the military, moving is paid for.. Love your pictures too!

  6. I'm I guess what you'd call a 'real' expat in that I don't have support from a base. I appreciate your honesty and have to admit some jealousy for your access to the comforts of home. Fortunately I have some friends that do get support and have been able to aid my Kraft Mac & Cheese and Cinnamon Toast Crunch cravings. No matter with support or without, living abroad is still an amazing opportunity for growth and perspective. Kudos to both of us :)

  7. That is awesome you're having such a great experience, your pictures make me so jealous! I'm sure I'd miss some things (family) if I was in your position, but it's such a unique experience at the same time.

  8. So great that you still get some of the comforts of home - I think that is one of the hardest parts of moving halfway across the world!! It's a wonderful once in a lifetime experience and I'm sure you guys are living it up!!

  9. What an amazing experience! I'm not going to lie...the food and travel opportunities look like a once in a lifetime experience right? Still nice to have the comfort of "American" products when you get a little homesick though :-)

  10. found your blog thru amanda's! love! that mini car is cracking me up. love your blue & white top. and i could totally go for some ramen right about now...

  11. that is so awesome! i would LOVE to live in another country and experience all of the culture ---while still being able to buy peanut butter ;) enjoy it! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

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