14 February 2014

ExPat Life

I was working on some things related to the renewal of our residency permit (visa) this morning. If you've ever lived in a foreign country, you know that this is not a simple process. If you have never experienced this, you really have no clue.

This can be a daunting and frustrating experience. Once accomplished, there is a sense of accomplishment, maybe even exhilaration. But, if you are going to live in a foreign country legally (the recommended way) you simply have to go through the bureaucratic steps.

  • First, in our situation at least, the rules change frequently. You must have a knowledgeable national working for you as a visa agent. 
  • Costs can be high. You must pay the agent, of course. You will also have fees to pay to the government and pay for translation services of various documents you will need to supply.
  • Time frames are fluid. You may meet all your deadlines, but be frustrated by the fact that the government in question does not.
  • In our case, we need to have health insurance, from a company approved by the Czech government. The policy must cover the entire period of the visa and has to be paid for up front. For us that's four years worth of insurance premiums at one time. When you reach our ages, the premiums skyrocket.

These are just a few of the regular issues being faced by your friends who live in countries of which they are not citizens. Please don't get the idea that I am complaining! These are simply part of the cost of living (legally!) in another country. The rewards are also great.

Chelsea Fagan wrote this about the experience of being an expat (expatriate; one living in a country away from his/her own place of birth and citizenship)
When you live abroad, you realize that, no matter where you are, you will always be an ex-pat. There will always be a part of you that is far away from its home and is lying dormant until it can breathe and live in full color back in the country where it belongs. To live in a new place is a beautiful, thrilling thing, and it can show you that you can be whoever you want — on your own terms. It can give you the gift of freedom, of new beginnings, of curiosity and excitement. But to start over, to get on that plane, doesn’t come without a price.
To read the entire article, click here. I don't agree with everything she writes, but it is a good look at expat life.

I will follow up in coming weeks with some more snippets of life in a foreign milieu. Let me know what you think and what you may have experienced.

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