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Living Through A Global Pandemic as an Expat

Sure, we chose the expat life.  However, we did not chose or foresee a global pandemic as part of this plan.  Like many of you the world over, the past year has been incredibly difficult for so many reasons.  But, as the light at the end of the tunnel is finally and seemingly coming into view, I wanted to reflect on expat life during the pandemic.

Expat

More than anything, this is probably just a whinge and a moan.  Stuff I want to get off of my chest.  But as some of you might be in the same position, or are interested to understand a little bit of what it has been like in the UK, here are my thoughts on living through a global pandemic as an expat.

Stranded From Family & Friends

I get it. Most people have been isolated from their family and friends during this pandemic.  But for some there have been small windows of opportunity to catch up for a walk, form a support bubble, make doorstep deliveries to each other etc.  For us, we are totally stranded here with no guidance of when we might be able to return home.

My sister had a little girl in March 2020 and I am still yet to hold her in my arms.  In the grand scheme of things, this will not greatly affect her as she is too young to remember.  But I will know, and my sister will know that I haven’t been there to support her.  And whilst technology is a wonderful thing, FaceTime is simply not the same thing as being there in person.

It’s Not Our Country … So We Can’t Complain

Because it is not our country and we chose to be here, I feel like we can’t complain about the government and their dealing with the situation.  We haven’t grown up in this country and we didn’t vote for this government, so are we entitled to have a voice?  Having said that, I am a British citizen by family birth right.

I’m not saying that I could have made better decisions than old BoJo, but I do think that they f*cked up several of their decisions last year.  On the other hand, I do think they have done a good job with the rollout of the vaccine, because in reality, they had to!  And I am very pleased to say I have now had my first jab!

Expat in Global Pandemic

People Back Home Don’t Quite Understand

In our home state of Western Australia, the government dealt with the outbreak of Covid-19 incredibly well.  And with the exception of a few minor lockdowns, they have been living life mostly as normal for the past 15 months.  Good on them for acting swiftly and looking after everyone.  Unfortunately in Victoria it has not been such smooth sailing and they are currently in Lockdown No. 4.

But when it comes to understanding what is happening in the rest of the world, I would say that the general view in the UK is that many Australians have no idea what is going on or just how hard it has been for everyone.  When I read comments on social media, I feel that many are ignorant to the situation and not very sympathetic.  They have been in their own safety bubble and the pandemic has largely not affected them.

Furthermore, I’m now seeing lots of commentary that Australians are not willing to get the vaccine for various different reasons.  Covid is not going to disappear overnight, and the only way the world can return to some form of normality is for the majority of the world population to be vaccinated.  However whilst there might be some resistance right now, I can guarantee the moment they need their vaccines to get on a flight to Bali, there will be a que for days.

Missed Opportunities During Our Valuable Time Here

We chose to move to the UK for my husband’s work and the chance to travel Europe as much as possible.  Whilst our stay is not a defined timeframe, it has always been our intention to head home to Australia at some point.  So with an entire year of tough restrictions, I feel we have been wasting away our valuable time here.  We had such an epic year of adventures scheduled for 2020, all of which had to be cancelled just like the rest of the worlds plans. And believe it or not, we didn’t move here for the weather.

We Can’t ‘Just Go Home’

There is no easy way to get home right now, even if we wanted to.  For starters, we have our 2 dogs with us and to transport them to Australia is at least a 7+ month process.  We knew that when we moved here.

There are long waiting lists for flights for Australians stranded in the UK waiting to get home.  So it can be months before you can secure a flight.  And then you will be lucky if you aren’t bumped off that flight, or several.  Not to mention that the one way tickets are significantly more expensive than normal times, and you have the privilege of 2 weeks quarantine in a prison like hotel on arrival.  Oh yeah, you get to pay for that privilege too.

Its Been A Tough Year

There is no sugar coating it.  For me, it has been one of my toughest years.  The mental struggle to keep going every day is real.  Everyone is tired, bored and fed up.  I like to think that in general I am a realistic and positive person.  I can find ways to pick myself up and push through difficult times.  But with no end in sight, so much uncertainty and the inability to control any of it, its been very hard.

Sure, you might see me post pictures on Instagram of a yummy meal, a nice walk or Mackenzie and I smiling on our days off together.  But that is purely just me trying to make the most of small moments during a shitty situation.  You don’t see the shouting, the frustration and the anxiety.

Expat in Global Pandemic

So, there you have it – my truths on life as an expat during a global pandemic! Recently lockdown restrictions have been lifted to some extent here in the UK and with nicer weather gracing us, everything seems a little rosier.  However, its not over just yet and we still need to remain vigilant and remember to expect the unexpected.

I would love you to share your experiences, good and bad, from the global pandemic.  Or if you have any specific questions of me, be sure to comment below! Take care wherever you are in the world.  Shell x

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

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Inspiring and Informing Your Family Wanderlust
Aussie Mama Living in York, UK
Lover of Coffee, Champagne and A Little Luxe

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8 Responses

  1. Bless you. I really sympathise in a reverse way – my parents have lived abroad for many years and we’re used to not seeing each other all the time, but it’s been two years now and it’s really hard. They’re in their 70s and there’s the odd health issue – I know they’re surrounded by friends in their little village, but it’s hit home that I can’t just get to them.
    Also, as small business owners who are 97% down with next to no government help this year I also sympathise with feeling anxious, and that others have had an easier time and are less sympathetic etc.
    So, just to say that you’re not alone and I hope things feel better for you as the summer goes on. Xx

  2. We’re in the US and while our family are here, we are on opposite sides of the country. The inability to travel between is heavy for sure. I do have friends, though, some whom we’ve been able to maintain contact with. I am so sorry you’re feeling all of it so heavily. Our government, as I’m sure you know, handled this horribly. Vaccines are going well, but overall, terrible. I hope you’re seeing widespread decreases in numbers as vaccine percents rise. <3 Thanks for linking up. #KCACOLS

  3. You have every right to complain about the government- they didn’t handle it well at all to begin with and we’ve paid the price. I’ve found the pandemic hard but I’ve enjoyed the slower pace of life and the minimal amount of societal pressure to do lots of things, especially children’s activities, I think the slower pace of life suits me and my daughter more than when we were running around everywhere, cramming so much into a day. That said I’ve had the luxury of doorstep drop offs, walks and childcare bubbles and having read this post I now realise how lucky I’ve been to have those things.

    Katrina x
    #fortheloveofblog

  4. I will say that now that the vaccinnes are rolling out, you are possibly better there than here. I suspect we will be in lockdown once we finally open our borders. What was initially a good response (thanks to WA really), we are now in this weird position where we can clearly see certain officials have absolutely no idea….and I think we might pay the price for this cluelessness. #FortheloveofBLOG

  5. I really feel your pain. My cousin and I have always been very close. She now lives in Australia. She had a baby in September last year and it has been so hard not being able to see them, and not knowing when they will. I am so desperate to give them both a cuddle. I really hope you can be reunited with your family soon. #fortheloveofblog

  6. I cant imagine what it is like being an expat. I can totally understand it being tough, hopefully things will get better with time and more opens up x #kcacols

  7. Ah I hear you. Haven’t seen my parents or sibs since my last visit to the UK in November 2019 for mum’s 75th and honestly have no idea when I will as the UK hasn’t reciprocated Malta’s waiving of mandatory quarantine for visitors. I did laugh at the bit about Aussies queuing for days as soon as they want to fly to Bali and you not moving to the UK for the weather!! #fortheloveofblog

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