People constantly ask me, “How can you just leave?” and “Aren’t you scared?” so in this post, let me be truthful. YES it is always scary to try something new… just because I am excited does not mean that I am not apprehensive. Just so you know, I am not a fresh graduate straight out of campus, looking to find myself in a foreign land while I traipse around with a bulging backpack. I am grown woman, well established in my career with a secure job and many financial responsibilities. However being responsible doesn’t equal being boring! Ultimately a million things could go wrong but then again, a million things could go right. If I don’t go, I have gained nothing; if I do go and it doesn’t turn out great then at least I know I tried, don’t wonder “what if” and hopefully, I grow from the experience.
I also think that experiences are what you make of them… 4 years ago when I moved to South Korea, I didn’t know a thing about the little peninsula with the kimchi obsession and K-Pop revolution. But I landed, adapted and ultimately, enjoyed. During my two years in Korea I managed to travel to 12 different countries as well as took trips in and around Korea and a one trip back to South Africa to visit my family. It was the best chance I ever took. So yes I am not superhuman; I am nervous and hesitant just like any normal person who is about to leave their comfort zone and venture halfway across the world to a tiny, scorching country between Saudi Arabia and Iraq. However I do believe that, “Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” — Helen Keller
For those of you who don’t know me personally, I am married. On this blog my husband would like to be known as Expat Fox. Four years ago Fox and I got engaged in South Korea and then we moved back to South Africa where we tied the knot in 2014.
Fox and I both share a love of travel and a thirst for adventure (explains how we ended up together of course). From shark cage diving to bungee jumping to zip lining to sand boarding to riding a scooter in chaotic India, we have done it all together and Fox is a fearless adventurer (sometimes much more than this lazy panda).
Having both lived abroad before we both know that there is no need to stay put in one place forever and we often discussed our next move. Once we had accomplished everything we set out to do in South Africa (getting my teaching license, him passing a board exam, finishing up postgraduate degrees and buying up some property) we knew it was just a matter of time before we headed off somewhere new.
People seem extra concerned about my move abroad because I am married. I constantly get asked, “But how does your husband allow it? And “Is your husband ok with your decision?” The key to our happiness is constant communication .We have always spoken about how we don’t want to get tied down in one place so when the time was right we started applying for jobs and reviewing offers. Ladies, the right man will always ease the burden and the wrong one will become a burden! My husband has supported me from day 1 of our marriage and I still don’t understand why he has to ‘allow’ me to do things… after all, he is my partner not my jailer.
Expat Fox is NOT a teacher. So our journey to move abroad is a bit different to others. He is an architect. Yes the kind that designs houses and babbles on about ‘the structural integrity’ of buildings whenever we go anywhere new. Just last month I got an extensive explanation about the difference between pillars and columns over supper (who knew?).
So the first thing we did was make a list based on our requirements i.e. it was must not be a country with an intense winter (I detest snow) and of course it must be a country where we could both find opportunities in our chosen fields in a salary range we found acceptable. We made a small list, which included countries like:
The Middle East (UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait)
Initially the plan was for me to find a job where Fox could be sponsored on my visa however, that plan didn’t pan out. And once my documents were ready I could no longer wait another six months to find a position where he could be sponsored by my school. We then decided that I would secure a job first as my job would have accommodation included as part of my package. Fox would then look for a job in his chosen field and come over and move in with me. If the accommodation turned out to be shared then he would wait a month or two so I could save up and by the time he arrived we would move into our own place. I did get lucky because my contract gave me the option for a generous housing allowance (something worth negotiating for if you are against shared accommodation and don’t have the option for something private). As soon as I signed my contract Fox started getting his portfolio together and began looking for opportunities in Kuwait. Note: Kuwait does not legally allow wives to sponsor husbands anyway so Fox would have to come over on his working visa no matter what.
On this blog I plan to share the details of how Expat Fox is going to join Expat Panda in Kuwait and how you can look for a job abroad if you are NOT a teacher.
Here is another pic of Fox & I… hopefully he will agree to write some posts for this blog in the future!