Integration is an important aspect of becoming an Expat. It is important Expats, especially newbies, learn how to live within the new community in order to feel a lot more “at home”. More importantly to Expats who relocated alone, feeling more at ease about your new surroundings will make you feel less homesick, too.

Grand Canal Dublin
Trying not to shiver. Summer at the Grand Canal Dock. Photo via personal Facebook page.

Despite knowing that, most new Expats can relate to having “odd” moments while adjusting to their new home country. And even if I am not a new Expat anymore, I still confess doing some of these things until this day!

So if you are a new Expat or think you are doing things some people may find “weird” – maybe you can spot one or two from the things listed here! Take comfort knowing you are not alone and there’s a fellow Expat doing EXACTLY as you do.

Convert EVERYTHING to my home country’s currency before buying

My parents raised us to have a simple lifestyle. I am one of those kids who very rarely buy a pair of shoes or have something new “just because”. We never felt deprived growing up but my Mom taught us that our financial status back then only allowed us to buy “regular” things – so we were always on the hunt for a bargain.

Money matters. Photo via TaxRebate
Money matters. Photo via TaxRebate

The mentality of choosing the cheapest possible item whenever I shop rubbed into me until my early adulthood. Until I relocated to Singapore (my first Expat experience), I had that mentality not to buy anything “expensive”. This led me to constantly try to convert items I want to buy (shoes, clothes, etc) to my home country’s currency when I shop. And if I think it is expensive or I think I can get it cheaper when I fly back – I don’t buy it!

Do most of my personal shopping only when I am back in my home country

I don’t do this as much now since I can’t go home as often as I did when I was still in Singapore. But back in my early Expat days, I stock up on my personal items only when I go back home. Face creams, body lotions, and even hygiene products – I buy these in bulk to take with me when I leave!

Shopping spree
Shopping spree! Photo via Flickr

It is probably weird since there are substitute products for these in Singapore. But apart from costing a little bit more, I realized there are some products I use that are not available (or may have a slightly different variation) if I bought from my Expat home country.

Use all of my annual leave day allocation to go home

Traveling is a driving force why I decided to become an Expat. But would you believe that I didn’t do as much traveling on my first Expat years and used up most (if not all) my Company annual leave days and/or bank holidays to fly back to my home country instead?

Experiencing the powdery white sand personally. Photo via Grab a Ticket Buy a Bite

I don’t do it as much now since flying home is more expensive and tiring, especially with a toddler, but back in my solo flying days, I don’t mind the long flights back home! I just miss them that much and would love to see them as often as I can – even if that means not having paid holidays to travel somewhere else!