3 Ways Being An Expat Is Like Being 15 Again

It’s been almost four years since I moved over to Glasgow from America, which is cah-ray-zee. 

Living in a new country is exciting and terrifying at the same time.  Being an expat has its ups and downs as well.  I moved to Scotland for love, and there’s plenty of that in my life, but I still have many days when I wonder if I’ll ever really feel at home over here.

It’s the little things that make being an expat so tough.  Like, you know, everyday things that you learn to take for granted as part of your life that are missed once you are without them.  The other day I got to thinking after having to add 90 minutes to my travels  — because I had missed the train I needed by one fucking minute — that being an expat is pretty much like being 15 years old again.

I don’t know how being 15 worked out for you, but I’d have to say, without ANY hesitation, that my version of 15 sucked pretty hard.

Am I dramatic?  Of course, I am.  That’s what I sometimes do, though.  It’s how I cope.  So, you might be wondering specifically in what ways being an expat is like being 15 years old again.  

Three Ways Being an Expat is Like Being 15 Again

You have to learn how to drive, take lessons, and pass a test and shit.  I have to learn how to drive on the opposite side of the car and the opposite side of the road.  Every time I’m even a passenger in a car over here, I find myself in a panic about how ass-backwards the whole Scottish driving experience is.  This country is full of rotaries (roundabouts) and chaos.

via GIPHY

 Also, and this could be a category of its own, I am at the mercy of train schedules and other people who own cars.  Either that or I walk everywhere; which is fine, but, not always the most convenient option when it comes to the weather.

via GIPHY

You have no credit history.  Trying to get anything that requires any credit reference without having a viable credit history doesn’t happen.  The computer will say no.  Always.

via GIPHY

You have to make new friends, and it’s super tough as an adult.  Remember your first day of school?  How much easier it was to make friends amongst your peers?  Being in your thirties and moving to a new country makes it super challenging to meet people.

via GIPHY

Call me a crybaby, but feeling like I’m 15 again can mess with my head.  At least I don’t have to worry about dating.

 If I had to worry about dating in a new country, I would be a whole other level of mess.  Dating sucks enough on your home turf, am I right?

via GIPHY

Don’t get me wrong, being an expat is super fun in many ways, but it’s not exactly all rainbows and unicorns (despite the national animal of Scotland being a unicorn, yes, not joking.)

via GIPHY

Somedays you feel like a lost 15-year-old, and sometimes you even need the  Clearasil to go with it.  Also, remember when Mark Ruffalo was the face of acne-free skin? 

Now I am showing my age.  

via GIPHY

Ever wondered what moving to a new country really feels like? Read my post on the three ways being an expat is like being 15 again. Click To Tweet

Would you move to another country for love, work, or just for the hell of it?  

Am I the only adult who finds it difficult making friends later in life?


Try This At-home CrossFit ‘WOD’ Workout

There is no denying that one of the most popular fitness trends these days is CrossFit. CrossFit is a workout designed to use functional movements (real-world situational biomechanics) that encompass principals from sports such as rowing, running, gymnastics and more.

Just a little background on the CrossFit brand; It was created by Founder and CEO Greg Glassman over several decades and is explicitly designed to improve fitness and health. The workouts are designed to challenge different parts of your strength and condition level to improve your overall level of physical fitness. Traditional CrossFit workouts have names like Cindy, Barbara, and Nancy also referred to as “benchmark workouts.”

What I love the most about CF-style workouts is that they are varied and scalable to help anybody get into the best shape of their life. I never get bored of finding out what the WOD (workout of the day) challenge will be!

But, not everybody has the luxury of getting into a CrossFit centre or gym to get in a workout, and that’s okay, you can still challenge yourself and fit in this style of fitness right in the comfort of your home (or backyard if you’re so lucky to have one!).

Components of a WOD

WODs can be performed for time or as many reps as possible (AMRAP). If the WOD calls for moves to performed “for time” you would complete all of the moves, reps, and rounds and record the amount of time it took to finish the workout. The idea being that as you progress you will improve on the amount of time it takes to complete the exercises through the program.

AMRAP workouts are prescribed a specific timeframe when you are to complete as many reps as possible of the moves provided before the final buzzer sounds! This method is also to measure progress but this time, measuring the number of circuits you can complete within the time frame versus improving the time in which you complete them.

Designing a WOD

So, you’ve got 10 minutes to fit in a workout, and you’re interested in getting the most bang for your fitness buck –great! So, you are probably wondering how you can create a CF-style WOD that you can complete with limited time, space, and equipment? Here’s what you will need to include in your WOD to get a killer workout and the motivation to start building your personal best:

Bodyweight Movement (Non-equipment, resistance, and flexibility based moves.)

Equipment Movement (Equipment based moves (dumbells, etc.)

Condition Movement (Moves that improve your cardiovascular fitness.)

Static Movement (Moves that require little to no movement while contracting muscle fibres.)

If you don’t have dumbells at home you can use full water bottles or food tins, however, purchasing a set of dumbbells ranging from 1.2 -4.5 kg will be a great investment! For the rest of the exercises, you will only need your body and a safe/comfortable workout surface!

CROSSFIT STYLE WOD AT HOME _ erin's life bites

Examples of exercises included in this WOD:

There you have it! A beginning CF-style WOD you can do anywhere at your convenience! Add this routine up to 3 times per week over the next 30 days for best results. For beginners, start with a 5-minute WOD, slowly challenging yourself to add a minute on as you progress.

Try this fun and fast at-home CrossFit style WOD for a challenging, full-body workout! Click To Tweet

As with any fitness routine, please check with your physician before starting this or any exercise program.

Happy sweating!

Three Things I Learned About Myself After I Quit Drinking

Strength of mind rests in sobriety;  for this keeps your reason unclouded by passion.

-Pythagoras

I love that quote.  The reason I love it so much is the bit about reasoning clouded by passion.

I believe that passion and passionate people can struggle with logic and reasoning; I put my hands up entirely and say I am a super emotional person and this is why I believe in the struggle.

I know that passion clouded the way that I thought and made sense of the world around me and I attribute a lot of this to the fact that I used to drink at times when I needed to be clear-headed the most.

For the majority of my adult life, having a drink was synonymous with relaxation, de-stressing, celebrating, mourning, fighting, socialising and the list goes on.

If you see a theme in that laundry list of things I associated the reasons to drink with you can probably gather that I drank for a number of reasons and most of them were the for the wrong ones.

And to be clear, I have known my entire life the perils of drinking as my mother continuously reminded me that my grandfather wasn’t around for her life because he drank himself to death.  I have known multiple people who lost their lives because of alcohol.  I had numerous mental and physical health professionals tell me that they thought I drank in response to anxiety and stress, but I never thought that what I was doing was any more hazardous than the people around me.

I wasn’t wrong (to an extent) I wasn’t really drinking more than others around me, but here’s the thing, we are always surrounded by a culture of addictions.  Whether it be to food, sex, gambling, drinking, drugs, social media, exercise, approval and so on – people are addicted, compulsive, and it’s everywhere.

So, sure, I wasn’t drinking more than the people I was surrounded by, but the thing is, most of those people were drinking too much too.

You know the saying, “I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.”? — that’s where I finally landed a year ago and here are three things that I have learned about myself since then.

THREE THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT MYSELF AFTER I QUIT DRINKING _ ERIN'S LIFE BITES

3 Things I Learned About Myself After Quitting Drinking

I can handle things without booze.  My go-to solution for any problem (and I mean any problem) was wine.  Red, white, whatever shade, it was what I needed on-call to deal with whatever stressors or emotional triggers I experienced.  It probably seems like common sense to people who don’t drink or deal with the mishaps in their lives without a “crutch”, but I truly believed that if I didn’t drink when the alarm bells in my head went off, I wouldn’t be able to cope. I was wrong. It turns out, I can deal with what life throws at me, and I don’t need a giant glass of Merlot to do it.  Truthfully, at first, it was extremely uncomfortable for me to deal with things in the absence of wine, but stepping back, breathing, and even writing down what I am feeling has helped me to work through things; the emphasis being on “helped”.  Approaching bumps in the road with a clear head and a steady hand has helped me realise that I can handle more than I ever gave myself credit.  It’s not easy, but it is possible.

I am a morning person.  People who know me will probably argue with me about this discovery, but I will urge them to hear me out.  I am still a bit bitchy and groggy first thing in the morning, but once I am up, I can get things done.  I have always been a morning exerciser, even when I would wake up dehydrated and hungover, but now I can tackle the workout, emails, chores, etc. without the feeling that I am forcing myself to do it because if I don’t do it now, I won’t do it. Which isn’t something I could have ever said with a straight face ten months ago.

I am an introvert, an INFP-T if you will.  Now, I believed for my entire adult life that I am extroverted because I can be chatty in most situations and that for some strange reason I don’t have a massive amount of stage fright when talking in front of large (or small) groups.  However, it turns out that what I was is what I like to call an “alcotrovert” – a reserved person who becomes outgoing after drinking and conflates that enthusiasm for extroversion.   Do you know what can confuse the hell out of you when you’re an introvert who drinks? Going to an event centred around alcohol and not drinking.  About two weeks after I stopped drinking, my husband and I went with friends to a comedy “pub crawl”, and I was on the non-alcoholic Kopparbergs and soda water while everyone around me was slamming down pints of liquor.  I had severe anxiety about going out to a pub-centred event just weeks after giving up drinking, but I discovered that I could not only have a good time without drinking but that I am quite observant when I am sober.  As a self-professed shit talker, I was most surprised by this fact.  I was happy keeping to myself and didn’t need alcohol to be in social situations because I finally realised that nobody cares what you look like, drink or do when everyone is out for a good time.  Also, if you ever want confirmation that not drinking is rewarding, spend five hours around shitfaced people when you’re not drinking and realise how terrific it is not to have to point and stammer when telling the same story four times to the same three people.  Seriously, try it.

Of course, there are more things that I learn and discover about myself with each day that passes, but so far those are the three things I have learned that have made the most significant impact on my self-awareness.  I have also noticed physical and spiritual changes since the day I quit drinking, but that is for another post!

I never honestly thought that I would gain anything out of quitting drinking, but what I’ve acquired in exchange is too valuable to give credence to at the moment.  As I learn more, I will share my thoughts and feelings.  I also know that this is a one day at a time journey and the minute I start to think I’ve figured it all out is the moment I could potentially backpedal on my progress.

Have you thought about quitting drinking? Read about the three things I learned about myself after I quit drinking! Click To Tweet

I would love to connect with other people who have had similar or different (or whatever) experiences after they decided to give up drinking alcohol.  If you would be interested in sharing your experience with quitting drinking, email me at erin@erinslifebites.com and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog for new content!

Until next time!

Subscribe to receive new posts!