Expat vs Immigrants

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I once had someone ask my thoughts on the difference between expats and immigrants. When I was searching in the internet for blogs of people who had moved to Egypt so that I could get a glimpse of their experiences to prepare me my move, I came across the word “expat” a lot. Once in a blue moon no matter how many years you have lived in an English spoken country, you will learn common words that you have no idea how you have missed it before. Expat was one of those words that I have never heard or learned throughout the 16 years of living in the US.

Growing up in USA I was always revered to as an immigrant or a green card holder. Every time I would hear that word “immigrant” or “green card holder”, I would grouch my teeth, as it always made me feel inferior or marginalized. I faced a lot of discrimination and verbal bullying for simply being an immigrant. So when she asked me what my thoughts on expat vs immigrants were, I immediately went back to that bad feeling I had with the word “immigrant”.

She had told me something interesting which got me thinking. “Expats are always revered to white people and immigrant are for the people of color”. Although to some extend she is right, she had never lived in America and didn’t know that even white people that are not born there are revered to as immigrants. Off course, class status, country and your purpose to moving to the United States can have an affect on how people precede towards your migration. A Saudi Arabian, Angolan, Chinese, German student who is privileged enough to study in the United States is revered to as international student. This student is not here to stay and take away the jobs of hard working Americans, in fact, these students are very good for the American economy because they come here, their government or rich parents pay for the schools and they often spend a lot of money.

Now a white Romanian who has migrated to the United States in the hopes of catching the “American dream” will face a lot of obstacles and discrimination as  a Latino would, holding the same purpose for migration.

However, when moving to Egypt, I faced something very different. Expats are those who have a special passport from either “USA, Canada, UK, German, European Union and some others”. Are also the diplomats, international lawyers, petroleum employees and international companies that hold employees from overseas.

Every other immigrant are either refugees from Middle East, East Asia, Sub-Saharian Africans and what we like to consider as “others” for the very minority groups.

With this I felt very uncomfortable as well, when all the sudden I was given privileges and priorities for simply being an American passport holder. Throughout my life in United States, I had to fight harder, had to over come many obstacles because I didn’t have the same privileges as someone who simply was born in the US. You can imagine how strange it is to all the sudden have the roles switched on me.

I like to tell people that I am a Cape Verdean American Muslim revert, living in Egypt who’s lives very much like an Egyptian woman. In other words, I am a little bit of both, not quite American and not entirely Egyptian. You can expect this to be very difficult for me, as I don’t hold the same privileges that any other Americans or expats would, living in fancy places and putting their children in expensive international schools nor do I share some of the same values or perspective in life as many Egyptian woman do.

So, there you have it, these are some of my thoughts on “expats vs. immigrants”. What are your thoughts on this subject? Do you feel the same or different? What are your experiences and feelings with theses two words? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Happy Anniversary on WordPress

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I received a notification today from WordPress letting me know that today is my 4 year Anniversary from the day I decided to blog.

I first started to blog because I was really interesting in photography. I had no background experience or training in photography but I just enjoyed the creative aspect of taking photos.

Soon, I discovered that I liked to write my thoughts and experiences along with my photos. I haven’t been persistent on this blog and to be honest, I don’t really know quite yet what I mainly want to focus and achieve through blogging. All I know is that I enjoy it so I am just going to keep on writing and posting until I know what I want to focus on.

I also want to be consistent and try at least do 4 posts a month. With the new baby coming soon, I rather start this new habit as soon as possible so I don’t fall behind and just give up on it.

With that said, if you follow and read my post thank you so much for taking the time of your day to read my thoughts. I want to build a community and would love to read your thoughts too. What do you like to read the most? What blogs and posts do you enjoy?

How to Cope With Homesickness

home-is-where-the-heart-is-e1379124220521Moving to a whole new country, sounds very exciting and adventurous but it has real challenges that have physical and mental effects. Homesickness is most definitely an inevitable phase of moving to a new country, it is a step for adapting to a new culture and environment.

I remember while working in an international school having a friend who had just moved to Egypt and she was very sad and had a difficult time coping with it all. I would always try to reassure her that it was just a phase and it will get better. My first advise to someone who is at this pivotal moment of feeling sad and alone I would say;

  • Loneliness is very normal when moving to a whole new country, it is not a way towards depression even though the feeling is very real. It will get better with time and hopefully my next advises will help you get out of this phase faster.
  • Fell proud of yourself, know that you are a strong person for getting out of your convert and moving to a whole new world. Not anyone can do it and you did!
  • Try to keep in touch with your family back home. One thing I did that triggered the loneliness is that I cut communication with my whole family because I didn’t want them to know how sad I was, so that they would not worry about me. However, not having communication with the people that I loved made me feel even more alone and sad.
  • Make a new routine. Somehow and I am pretty sure there are a lot of scientific research out there that states that routine is part of a health state of mind. Having something you do everyday will ensure familiarity and security in your life. Weather it’s going out for walks or finding a hobby. do something that makes you feel good everyday.
  • Be familiar with your surroundings. Moving to a new country will make you feel like a little ant in a massive land but knowing where to buy your groceries, where to take public transport and shop, etc, will make feel less small in an unknown country.
  • Try to learn the language. Part of the loneliness is caused by not being able to communicate with people. If you know some of the language than you are at least able to express to some extent your feelings. Just take a toddler for example and their tantrums, it’s all do the fact that they don’t know yet how to communicate their feelings.
  • Make friends! Having a friend is so important in life. It doesn’t matter if that person doesn’t speak your language fluently having someone that shares the same perspective in life will help a lot through your journey.

This is all that my fried pregnant brain can come up with but I really hope that this will help someone, somehow.

If you are someone who has moved to a new country, please, please, please share where you have moved to and what were some things you did to cope with loneliness.

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