no longer expatriated (as of tomorrow).

Before we knew about our upcoming move back to the US, Jay over at From There to Here dropped a line asking if I'd participate in her Expatriated series. Jay is a super fun expat in Norway...I love clicking over to check out her life. Her Expatriated series is fascinating for the wanderlusty girl like me. She features bloggers who have found themselves in a country other than their own...and they seem to have amazing expat stories...they've spent time in Belgium or Malta, India or England...and they loved it.

Sidenote: Jay and I have never met, but discovered that we stayed in the exact same hotel room in Prague. Small world, eh? :)

Anyway, I was flattered, but my first thought was, "Uh-oh. I'm going to have to say no, because I don't want to be a downer. Or, I'll have to write something super chipper and inspiring, but not at all true." But thankfully Jay, being the cool expat that she is, was actually interested in sharing my somewhat-mixed experience in the Middle East...and in drawing on the less-than-glamorous side of life that expats sometimes stumble upon in their quest for adventure.

Cue a sigh of relief. So, here it is!

Tomorrow is my last day as an expat, so it's fitting to sneak in this last little bit: In the past year, I've become increasingly grateful for the ability to express my honest feelings about my experience abroad. From the first post in which I dared to say, "I don't love it" to my last post in which I pretty much said, "I'm so over it"...I always expected to get a nasty comment or email. I'd understand if it happened...it's hard to stay engaged with a blogger who is trudging through an unhappy time, and tricky to understand the complexity of expathood if you've never dealt with it. But nastiness never happened. I always flooded with so much support. From expats. From friends. From family. From people I don't know at all.

Incase I haven't expressed this yet, I just want to say...thank you for sticking around. Most of my readers began following right before I got married. Life was full of pretty projects and wedding details and romance. And then...suddenly it was full of dust storms and homesickness and mind-bendingly awful depression.

But you all told me it was okay to feel and express. And that everything would be alright in time.

You were so right. Thanks for reading and cheering me on, even when the forecast showed no chance of glitter anytime soon. It meant more than I can truly express. It was a lifeline.

And...I'm no weatherlady, but I feel like sunshine and glitter will return again soon. Very soon.

Maybe even next week. ;)

PS: Check out From There to Here on Twitter (@theretohereblog) and Instagram (@cjstjohn). She's heading to Santorini soon, so hop over in time to take a little virtual vacation with her. :)


  1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Bethany. I'm blushing over here!

    I'm so happy for you on the eve of repatriation and I'm kind of looking forward to the reflection on your time in Kuwait in the months to come. I've been out of Gabon for over 10 months now and am still amazed as to how much it has changed and affected me. It took me awhile before I could think positively about it (I was so damn ready to leave) but when I think back now, there's certainly a bit of nostalgia.

    Safe travels my dear. (Say 'hi' to Betsy for me!)

  2. it was so fun to see you on Jay's blog! I love how we're all connected all around the world :)

    and I'm SO sorry that the expat experience was one that you're looking forward to having behind you - but I'm glad that it's time for a wonderful new chapter in your life. Sometimes you have to try the adventure to know it's not for you, right?

    See you in a few days WOO!

  3. I LOVED your expatriated and am so happy you think this next step is the right one for you. I'm actually surprised at myself for putting a regular "I love it here" slant on life in Belgium, when the truth is half the time I think life is incredibly annoying in this country. The blog helps keep me positive because expat life can be hard sometimes. I'm glad I've had the chance to experience it but am actually more nervous for the day I'll ever choose to move back home! Looking forward to seeing how the move back strikes you!

  4. I'm new to your site, but I have to say I really enjoyed what you had to say about being an Expat. It's hard to be honest about your feelings when you're vulnerable to criticism and backlash (especially online.) I really admire your openness and honesty.

    Best of luck on your next adventure!

  5. I've never been outside the country for longer than 6 weeks at a time, but I always feel happy to be home (even if I wish the vacation was longer). I always think to myself, "It's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there" of practically everywhere I go.

    I know that I'll always continue to use my passport and need new ones from time to time, but I'm sticking with the same luggage tag address thankyouverymuch!

  6. Sending you sunshine and glitter!

  7. Safe journey.I'm sure you will look back with many happy memories,adventures and stories to tell for years to come.

  8. Enjoy your life back. Do you think you will be an expat again later in life?

    Bonnie Rose | a Compass Rose

  9. I found you when someone on Twitter was all "this girl had a surprise wedding!" and I was all "WHAT?! I LOVE IT". I'm glad we've become friends :)

    It's wonderful that this experience has grown your marriage. So wonderful. But I'm really glad for you to get back to a place where you can bloom and grow and feel like yourself again. I can't wait to see what happens next in your pretty little life :)

  10. Still here with ya, and excited to follow the new adventures ahead. : )

  11. I'm SO excited for you to go back home! I'm sure you'll look back on this time with mixed feelings, but at the very least it was a huge learning experience. Now you can go on to living your life while showing a little skin! ;)

  12. I think it pays to be honest, and I loved reading about Kuwait through your eyes. Kudos to you for not sugarcoating. Hope you enjoy being home :)

  13. Hi, I am new to this site but have found what I have read refreshing and invaluable as I am on the path to becoming an expat to the US from the UK (I blog about that whole awful process and being apart from my husband).

    I hope your repatriation has gone as smoothly as these things can go and I really look forward to following you in the future.

    Good luck with everything and never worry about not sugar coating things, those of us who live in the real word know what life is like and live it alongside you wishing you all the best.

    Molly xo

  14. always rooting for you Bethany!!! enjoy the trip back to the states, if you've already made it enjoy each sunny moment in the US!! :)

  15. Yes Sunshine and Glitter are on the horizon! I am so excited that you will soon be a California girl :)

    Good luck with moving in and adjusting to your new surroundings!

  16. Hey Bethany it seems you are enjoy your life! Hope you enjoy being home!! xo xo
    - Vinnie
    Architectural Stone

  17. best wishes as you return home. i'm most scared of re-patration and look forward to hearing how that goes!!! big hugs for an easy re-entry!

  18. Kuwait misses you! Best of luck to you and Gabe. <3

  19. I'm so happy that you are back somewhere you feel you belong - its wonderful to have those memories and experiences from living abroad but there really is no place like home :)

  20. Any Unicorns and Rainbows in that forecast??

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