15 Ways You Know You’re an Expat on Your Holidays “Back Home”

In the absence of any texts of note between us (unless:  “Hi!  Are you sober?” “No.  You?” “It’s 7am.” “Oh.  Bummer.”  counts) we’ve compiled a list of the top ways you know you’re an expat on holidays in your home country.  (This is particularly relevant if (a) you’re expatting in Singapore and (b) your home country is in Northern Europe, the United States, or anywhere else where your hair doesn’t frizz up and you don’t start sweating within four minutes of leaving the (air-conditioned) house).  

15 Ways You Know You’re an Expat on Summer Holidays “Back Home”…  

  1. You sit in your car at the gas station waiting for an uncle to come and fill up your tank. (And you sit.  And sit. And sit.)
  2. When your kids are kicking off their shoes to go play in the garden, you immediately think of snakes.
  3. Speaking of shoes: People wear them inside their homes – and nobody says a thing!  (WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? Get those filthy things outside, and into a large pile by the front door, where they belong…)
  4. You have literally no warm clothes. None. So you spend the first few days wearing several t-shirts and your father’s gardening cardigan, before succumbing and heading to Primark / Target.
  5. Primark / Target makes you WEEP WITH JOY.
  6. Grocery shopping takes HOURS because you keep sighing and fondling the produce.
  7. And while we’re on fondling – you hair (YOUR HAIR!!) is a thing of wondrous beauty.
  8. You are shocked – SHOCKED – at how truly bad Chinese, Indian and Thai food can be when you’re far from China, India and Thailand. You bore your friends and family by repeatedly pointing this out – but you just can’t help yourself.
  9. You arrive “home” with two suitcases and leave with fifteen.
  10. Into those two suitcases you actually packed school books for your children.
  11. Your children get freaked out by common wildlife. Such as pigeons.  And worms.
  12. You can’t quite figure out how to negotiate being in a place where there is – horror – *CRIME*. You’ve just let your toddler use the public toilet alone, and you routinely leave your car doors unlocked, and yet you’re wearing a wallet-belt 24/7.  (Well at least your MRT card is safe, PHEW.)
  13. You cannot understand how your children make such a mess. Where has all this laundry come from? Why are there toys and shoes and bits of food all over the place?  WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
  14. You suddenly realise why it’s happening, and make a mental note to build a shrine to your helper when you get back.
  15. Despite loving being home with every fibre of your being – your family and friends and your gorgeous hair and the incredible produce and the fresh air and all the millions of things you miss every day in Expat-Land – you (whisper it) miss your (whisper it again) *other* home.
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One thought on “15 Ways You Know You’re an Expat on Your Holidays “Back Home”

  1. Even when on holiday “back home” in the States from a climate that does induce frizzy hair (Scandinavia) or really need A/C in summer – like AT ALL, I can completely relate to most of these. #5 actually made me a little verklempt just reading it. Oh Target. I love you. Skål from Copenhagen!

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