I'll be the first to admit that I have a fair new fears, anxiety filled moments when it comes to being an expat. Even more so that this for me, is a hard topic to speak about, it reveals what I find to be my weakness, that being an expat isn't always a rosy experience. It's hard for to pin point one fear that troubles me more than other and the fears have certainly changed and no doubt will continue to do so. So I thought I'd share some of the main worries for the last in the Expat Revelations with Holly - past, every day ones and possible future issues.
Moving from the UK with it's free NHS (well paid with taxes) to the US without any medical coverage was a big fear. Until I was granted my greencard I couldn't be added onto Joe's health insurance coverage. So for the first six months I was running uninsured and wild and dangerous and probably should have wrapped myself up in bubble wrap. That was until I got strep 3 months into uncovered period and I had to go to the urgent care. Without insurance seeing a Dr cost $100 - any treatment and tests just added up that total. Now fast forward and having that health insurance is a big relief, it's still not cheap to visit a Dr or get medication, but it makes it cheaper and something to stress about a little less.
Honestly I worry about returning to the UK, even to visit. I haven't returned since I left, I worry, and well know that the UK isn't the same country - politically and socially and I'm not that unworldly girl that left in 2011. People have changed - friends have had babies, got married, people have died and again I'm not that person they use to know (I talk about immigration guilt which somewhat relates to this point more here). Absence changes everyone - yourself and the ones you left behind. Being so use to an American way of life - a life of American pancakes, of having money notes all the same size, American gas prices, of Target and mom n pop diners, being "British" again for whatever crazy reason, even if it's just for a week, is scary.
Of Being The Foreigner
Being that British girl, that foreigner, of still being an outsider is always a constant fear. It's an insecurity that blankets my life, a fear of never fully belonging in either the US or the UK, like which country is really home. Everyday fears of my accent making me stick out but I also fear completely loosing my East Yorkshire twang, of meeting people, of being misunderstood, humour falling flat, saying, doing the wrong thing.
Visa, greencard paper has been a fear since 2011 but it's one that still comes into play when I have to apply for something new. Go back to April/May of this year and my fear of having to prove my marriage was real. Granted my greencard entitles me to live in the US for ten years, by then I want to have applied and being granted citizenship. But I fear not being able to remember all of the key constitutional points and it's amendments of all the government roles and things. I need to the battle the fear of applying for citizenship (and also what that means on a personal level as no longer being just a British citizenship - although being a Brit I'm granted dual citizenship but still) to stop the constant green card renewal fear.
Fears are something I don't think people speak about on blogs enough and certainly not enough on expat based blogs. It's not wrong to admit any of us has a fear whether big or small, but for some reason admitting you have a fear while being an expat is too real, it's too open about admitting that the expat dream isn't as amazing or as grand as you want everyone to believe.