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“What-if” Syndrome of Expat Life Mei 13, 2008

Posted by Jun in Being Expat.
Tags: ,

It is finally coming. I will be getting my spouse visa by the end of the week. I will need to get my one way ticket to the Philippines. Not that it is a bad thing, I am ready to start a new life. I have quitted my job last month. I gave my two month’s notice in March. Somehow, I have not done anything to prepare for my trip. Thankfully, we only need to be in the Philippines for six months, then we might be moving to other countries again. I am enlisting to nomadic lifestyle club! 

It has been a while since I stayed away from home. The last time was in 2000 when I went to Adelaide for school. So many doubts and questions are engulfing me right this moment. 

Have I spent enough time with my parents to make sure they will not miss me as much? Have I settled all my finances? How much should I bring? What if I get sick and my mother is not around to make me chinese herbal tea? What am I going to do there? Should I get a job? Should I become a stay home wife? What if we have to move to some weird-ass (pardon my language) country again? Can my parents come and visit? What about chinese new year? Can I come home then? What if I want to eat sambal? 

Moving away from home, is like moving away from my nest. My comfort zone. It is so hard. As it is nearer, I am feeling more and more restless. 

How do you cope with moving our of the country? What did you find is the hardest thing of the whole thing? 





1. dinysays - Mei 14, 2008

Is this Anita who’ll be moving away to the Phillippines?

2. andiesummerkiss - Mei 15, 2008

Hi Diny,

No, this is AndieSummerkiss. I will be living in the Philippines for a while. Anita lives in Scotland. There are two moderators in this blog. 😀

Hope that clears things up ..

3. dinysays - Mei 15, 2008

Oh hi Andie… how are you. Sorry about the mistake. Good luck with the move 🙂

4. Ayin - Mei 16, 2008

silahkan mbak kalo mo di link, nanti saya link balik 🙂
makasih udah mampir didapur saya

5. wirati - Mei 17, 2008

If God bless me, end of Desember I apply visa to London. Good luck with the move. he.he….he…… Ok, visit my blog too. You found delicilios balenese menu. I wait you. thanks alot

6. astipastina - Mei 19, 2008


Just blogwalking here.

I’m Indonesian too, and I called Philippines home for 10 years (1996-2006). My parents are moving back there this June, so I’m guessing it’s going to be home for me again 🙂 Best of luck with the move, and enjoy the Philippines! Honestly, I didn’t really like it when I first arrived back in 1996, but I ended up having a great time there. I guess every place has its own pros and cons.

Are you moving to Manila, or another city?


7. anonimous - Mei 20, 2008

mba Andi,

i don’t know u well, but i can feel from the post that you are a bit nervous with this big journey of your life.

i think you shud relax a bit more. sure everything will be al rite. u will miss your old life, ur mom, ur friends..but life is like that. next ten years u’ll be in somewhere else and will be missing life in Philippines. perhaps.

so just enjoy the perfect present 🙂

8. yodee - Mei 20, 2008

i just moved back to indonesia. how did i cope? i didn’t… i couldn’t.
i just played along 😉

9. arman - Mei 21, 2008

the biggest and stressful ‘what-if’ question pas saya mau pindah keluar dari indo adalah ‘gimana kalo gak dapet2 kerjaan… anak istri mau dikasih makan apa’?

selama udah ada kerjaan sih ‘what-if’ lainnya gak terlalu big deal ya kalo menurut saya. kangen ama ortu di indo? kan bisa chat dan ada webcam.. 🙂 kangen ama masakan indo? yah bisa masak toh atau ya masih bisa lah ditahan2… 🙂

so yang penting sih selama udah ada kerjaan dan gak jauhan ama istri/anak, everything’s going to be fine… 🙂

10. andiesummerkiss - Mei 23, 2008


Thank you for the visit, I am actually moving to Legaspi City. So if you know anybody there, pls let me know. In need of new pinoy friends .. 🙂


Thank you for the visit!


Thanks for the great insight. I love your blog. It is great, really.

11. Shel - Mei 25, 2008

I’ve moved several times in my life, this being the first time out of my homeland. The thing that gets to me either way is the “Neither Here nor There” syndrome. You know, the time between when you find out you’re leaving up to the time you hop on the plane and head out. You keep from getting involved in anything because you know you’ll be unable to see it through, you’re not sure exactly where you’ll fit in the new place.

How do I deal with it? I get as much information as I can get my hands on! Prepare to hit the ground running. Look forward to what the future will bring me. Feed the adventurous bird within me and let her fly!

I know for some that’s easier said than done. It does become easier as I grow older and (hopefully) wiser. I’ve learned that life really is a beautiful thing, if that’s what you determine to make it.

Good Luck!

– I’m heading to the Philippines next month just for a few days…can’t wait!-

12. bleu - Mei 25, 2008

Oh, that “what-if”… I guess for expats typically the move will happen every two to three years. A little longer if there’s luck. Soon the question may switch to “when will I settle down – where?”

The hardest thing for me has been how to ensure my family will do just fine, particularly with the school for the kids.

All the best with your move. I’m sure you will enjoy your stay in the Philippines.

13. therry - Mei 26, 2008

The “What-if” that surprised me the most was, “What if I couldn’t cope with the Indonesian culture?” upon my returning home.

Still finding it hard to do just so.

14. astipastina - Mei 26, 2008

Hi Andie,

I’m afraid it’s been a while since I’ve been back in the Philippines, so I think most of the people I know have moved out. Plus, I’ve never been to Legaspi city.. just stayed in Manila most of the time :p

Most Pinoys speak English, so language barrier is not too big of an issue.. also, their language(s) has (have) some similar words with Indonesian (and even Javanese).

How long do you plan to stay in the Philippines?
Good luck with the move, and have fun!!! 🙂

To Therry, that’s exactly the “what-if” I struggle with everytime I contemplate moving back… Glad to know I’m not the only one!


15. country comfort adelaide - Mei 28, 2008

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16. fastforwardtome - Juni 26, 2008

dear andie,

i guess my biggest concern when i was gonna study in japan was the language. but i soon coped with the language concern since we have language classes in between our regular classes. other than that, my home is indonesia and it will always be indonesia. so i just consider staying at other countries as just a stay at a hotel for a prolonged period of time and the friendly staffs are people we soon call friends since they’re there when we need them to share all the fun and grief.. putting that into consideration, then a hotel is not such a bad place after all i guess hehe.. weird analogy, i know hahaha!

well that’s my share of the story 😀 nice blog by the way! looking forward to hearing the adventures you’ll have in the philippines!


17. andiesummerkiss - Juni 27, 2008


I can understand how you feel about language aspect. It is not pleasant at all to stay in a place where we don’t speak the language. That’s why we need to learn and fast. There is no point of living abroad if we don’t grasp the concept of learning the language.

You will be living in a hotel the whole time? That is really cool. No making up beds? No washing dishes? Count me in!

18. bonnie2405 - Agustus 27, 2008

Hi Andie,
How’s Legaspi? Alredy able to say more than Mahalkita? 🙂

In regards to your questions…I think everybody have their own way to cope it. Some people that I know seriously just go and move to another country, find the job and immediately settled down with people with same root or background. Some other will dig lots of information to at least at some extent understand what the new life would be look like.

Moving to the NL was one of my hardest decision in my adult life. I never really think to build my life outside Indonesia. Oh of course I always have this thought of getting my second degree somewhere in foreign country but to actually live there for longer term or even forever…hemm never crossed seriously in my mind.

So when the moving most likely will happen, I started correspondent with people that I knew live in the NL and asked them series of questions ranging from how to get the visa to job opportunity. Before moving I also visited the NL couple of times to have a little bit grip on the country. I also listed things that most likely will shocked me the most such as losing circle of friends or even a simple thing like go to salon once in two-weeks for creambath hehehe. The necessity to make these list is to remind me during bad days so I won’t be too sad as I should already know the risk. It is also good to make a list of things you want to do in the fourth to six months of your arrival as most of the bad days (at least for me) was in the month number 4-6. The first three months usually lots of stress with visas and arranging house and so on so you won’t even get frustrated too much…you already have lots of to do anyway. The month 4-6 should be a good time to explore surroundings 🙂

Language is obviously my biggest problem here. If I looked at Lorraine’s dutch…I should be sooo ashamed of myself 🙂 So yes..language should be the first priority. But don’t take it too hard to yourself if after 1 year it seems your tagalog stopped at certain level and seems never excel. There were nights after party that I want to kill myself as I totally frustated with the incapacity of not understanding single words in dutch hehehe and the nights like this still exist but not as often as before.

I will say…don’t hurry to find a new job if both of you can afford it. Take it easy, make new friends, enjoy yourself, get acquinted with the language and culture, do some serious sightseeing + adventures, and strengthen the bond with the only family that you have at this moment (your hubbie).

19. Endy - September 18, 2008

Hi Andie,

I smiled as I am reading your blog..welcome to the Nomad lifestyle.
Met my hubby when I was working as an Engineer. Fast forward, I married this man quit my job has been on and off with the “in the office” kinda work following this Nomad lifestyle that we have choosen to do. About 4 years ago I decided that I would not pursue a carreer that involving regular hours and staying in the office.
And here I am now reading your blog while checking stuff out on the net trying to figure things out because hey I am on the move again.
This is my 2 month in Canada. This time the move would be a bit permanent because its involving the little one education. We will see if this is going to fly.
I think getting into routine and setting up the routine is important. Setting up the house and makes yourself comfortable is important.
Languange is important thing. It helps when we learn a bit of the local lingo I would think.
It was not fun when I was lost after 2 hours of jogging and not able to speak any portuguese and asked the for some direction..well that was my 1st week in Salvador, Brazil and since then took some lesson and things are fine for the rest of my stay.
Be street smart, do not afraid of going out there and do your things and remember to enjoy your new place. You might not be there again..
Be positive… and always look on the brightside 🙂

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