Thank you so much to the Expat Kids Club, for inviting me to write this article, it’s so amazing to be able to share my writing with another audience. If you’re not familiar with me, I’m Little Miss Expat. I run a blog where I share my experiences being a teenage expat, and how I moved from England to Dubai when I was only 12 years old. Arguably, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through, but I am so happy I experienced everything that I did, and I wanted to share my journey with others.
That is why, when the Expat Kids Club asked me to write something for their site, I was over the moon, because my whole intent in starting my blog was to give advice to other teenage expats, and let them know that they’re not alone. And the Expat Kids Club, is another place which supports and helps expat children.
Today I wanted to write to all those children going through the same thing that I did four years ago, to all those children moving from one place to another, and saying goodbye to everything they’ve ever known. I want them to have the support I wish I had access to when I moved. It’s a tough thing, picking up everything and moving from one continent to another. I remember the first few months after I moved to Dubai, I would just sit in my room after school everyday, trying to find a way to entertain myself and feel less lonely. Fast forward 4 years, and I’m in a much better place, but I have to admit, I owe a lot of who I am to those experiences that I had in my first few months of being an expat.
Talk to any expat, and I’m sure they’ll say something along the lines of how this experience changed them tremendously. I was an expat child, and I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t moved. But with all the character building, and eye opening experiences that come with being an expat, sometimes, and I’m sure I’m not alone, I feel like there are other things that you’re opened up to when you’re an expat that perhaps aren’t so pretty at first sight. Take for example the simple question, so where are you from? How are you meant to answer that when you’re an expat? Or better yet, where’s your home? These are questions that baffle most expats and third culture kids, which I want to work through today. For me, when I’m in England for the holidays and people ask me this question, I say ‘oh my home is Dubai’. But when I’m back in Dubai I say, ‘I’m from London’. I did this without even noticing, but when I took a step back and actually realised that I was doing this, I forced myself to answer the scary question, so where actually is my home?
And with all this contemplating I figured something out, I associate different emotions with different places in the world. When I think of England, I think of elementary school, going to the park, and picnics. And when I think of Dubai, I think of high school, going to the beach, and, of course, the Little Miss Expat blog. But as silly as those memories may sound, it’s important to look at them through a different lens. I associate different memories and emotions with different places, because that’s where I experienced those things. I was a child in England, and I grew up into the person I am now in Dubai. And it would be unfair to call just one of these places my home, because they both had an equally large impact on shaping me into who I am today. So, to answer the difficult question for an expat, of where home actually is, I could not give you a single answer. I would have to say, that my home’s would be anywhere in the world that has had an impact on me, and built me into who I am. And for any expat this is true, we hold connections around the globe, and it’s as if we’re like patchwork quilts, with pieces from all over the world coming together and forming us into the people we are.
For an expat this question is complex, but that’s why I love it. So to my fellow expat community out there, be proud of who you are, and what makes you, you. Never be scared to call more than one place home, and most importantly, be happy to call yourself an expat. Once again, thank you to the Expat Kids Club for allowing me to write this article for them, and to all of you that read it! If you would like to see more of my work you can head to www.LittleMissExpat.com to see more of what I do.