Living abroad is really hard sometimes

I have been living abroad off and on for the past three years now. I have been back in The Netherlands, but never more than a few months in a row and those months were more like a holiday / being-between-jobs (in the best possible sense of the word) than living there, if you know what I mean.

You’d think I would have gotten the hang of it by now, but I struggle more than ever.

Living in Oman has been a huge test for my patience, which was never really my thing to start with (ask my mom) and sometimes I feel like I’m slowly losing it.

I don’t understand how things are run here. I am tired of hearing “next week, Inshallah” as an answer to the question when our work visas are going to be ready. We have been hearing “next week, Inshallah” for the past five months.

Tomorrow, Inshallah

I also try really hard to be culturally understanding and not to extrapolate one frustration to the general population.

I don’t understand how it is better to tell someone an un-truth (lying seems such a harsh word, but that’s what it is) rather than answer a question honestly, because we all know that it won’t be next week and definitely that it is not up to whatever higher power, but up to you doing the job that you’re paid for.

Even something as simple as renting a car can take up half a day to arrange. “I have a car, maybe, I call you back in ten minutes” means: You will have to chase me for the rest of the day and I won’t answer my phone until you have tried at least ten times, six hours later.

And I nod and smile and hope that it will be all sorted, and then when I hear it won’t be until another two weeks because suddenly the rules changed I lose my shit and go nuts which is not like me at all.

It makes me very cynical. Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be: that you hear “maybe tomorrow” and you assume it is a no and shrug and find someone else to do the job (if possible at all). Maybe that just really means ‘no’ and I’m only getting it now? Just a bit late to the never-give-a-straight-answer party? But all this cynicism and frustration makes me into a person that I don’t really want to be. Time to let go – but how?




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