The Expat life is almost synonymous to change. Why wouldn’t it? Apart from the obvious change in your surroundings, there are also some changes that this lifestyle will subconsciously trigger within you. It is amazing how you have spent most of your growing up years in your home country. Only for a couple of years as an Expat is more than enough to trigger these changes without you, even trying to do so.

Adapting to your new “home country” is a must for Expats. And while this step is necessary to make yourself a lot more familiar with your new surroundings, doing so also makes you slightly “alienated” to your place of birth. Being an Expat sometimes makes you a lot more critical about the not-so-good things in your own country that you otherwise would’ve been able to tolerate if you have been living there. Or, vice-versa!

Not every Expat experience the same things. In fact, I will not be surprised if my fellow Filipinos living an Expat life would have a different list than these! But for me, these are some of the changes I noticed with me that were tolerable when I was living there but not anymore!

I’ve become “intolerant” to the public transportation back in my home country

Traffic day in, day out..
Traffic day in, day out..

I knew the traffic situation is “bad” in the Philippines. And back in the days when I used to do my daily commute to and fro work – I find the experience troublesome but manageable. All I need to do is to wake up really early and brace myself of the arduous task traveling brings.

I don’t have to deal with all these things in Ireland. I certainly appreciate being able to go to the city center by walking for only 20 minutes without buses belching smoke on my face or to count on the train to be there at the station at the time I expect it to. The conveniences of commuting here highlight the lack in my home country and that lead me to somehow be “afraid” to deal with these things when I visit.

I’ve become a lot more conscious of observing traffic rules

Crossing the street
Obeying simple traffic rules

I am not proud to admit it but when I was living in my home country – I was not the most law-abiding citizen, especially when observing traffic rules. I have jaywalked countless times and have made the mantra “hesitation will kill you” as I braved the approaching buses and jeepneys to cross the street.

After living in countries where the law is enforced (hello, Singapore) better in our country, it became ingrained in me to be a lot more conscious of following the rules. Even the simplest traffic regulation such as the use of pedestrian crossing was something I dutifully follow from then on. It was a good thing to be a disciplined citizen. After all, it allows me to contribute, even in the smallest of my capability, to the betterment of my country.

My body’s been unable to take the summer heat (and humidity!)

Beat the summer heat!
Beat the summer heat! Photo via Flickr

When I was living in our home country, I can tolerate heat better than other people I know. I was often teased that I am like a cat as I don’t sweat as much as they do even if it’s the peak of summer.

Now that I live in a country where cold is a lot more common than warm, I noticed my body has become intolerant to heat. I remembered a time when I flew back during the peak of summer and was so surprised how uncomfortable I’ve become to the humidity and heat combined – something that my body was able to endure for 20 years!