Repatriation During the Holidays is Harder Than Being Overseas….

The pitfall of living overseas is the inevitability of coming home. Dull. And with that the recalibration of expectations that the Offspring have regarding holidays and how they are spent. Some expats have a problem living overseas during traditional American holidays because they`re just a little bit off.ย  And of course family is far away- which in some cases is a welcomed Christmas blessing. The Offspring were confused by a Japanese Christmas which included the time honored tradition of feasting on chicken at Kentucky Fried Chicken. Holiday decorations had Christmas lights and glass balls but the rest had us scratching our heads looking for a connection.


A Cinderella desk is inside, but no Santa.

With no family within 7,000 miles of home, ExPats are free to flock to exotic locations now only three hours away.ย  For ExPats in Japan, places like China, Thailand, Malaysia, Bora Bora- the list goes on. A 24 hour flight combined with jet lag that lasts for the entire vacation and another two weeks after getting home is enough for most people at home to opt for a drive to the Jersey shore. ( I don`t include myself in that category- any travel that includes Jet Lag gets me upstairs packing my carry-on)

During the holidays, we lived it up.

Snow Monsters in Japan….


To Snow Monkeys in Nagano…


To places we never thought we would see like the Great Wall of China


Unfortunately, this is pollution, not fog

To Hiroshima


The added bonus of these fabulous vacations was the cost- virtually nothing. In China we spent about $10/day feeding three adults. I`m one of those mean moms who forces everyone to find something to eat out of the local cuisine. Instead of baggage containing breakfast bars we are more apt to load Pepto Bismol.

Fast forward to our repatriation.

OS#2 “Where are we going for Christmas?”

Ouisar-san “Grandmama`s – maybe.”

OS#2 “WHAT? We`re not going to THAILAND? What are we going to do at her house for a week?”

It`s a tough life folks. Just to get them back in the swing, I may go get some KFC. That`s KPF to you Montrealers……(Poulet Frit du Kentucky)


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29 Responses to Repatriation During the Holidays is Harder Than Being Overseas….

  1. Ann Marie says:

    Happy Holidays!! Always makes my day to read your blog! Hope you are doing well. Enjoy the holidays with grandma and I look forward to hearing about your next adventure. Would be awesome to see you in 2016. XO
    Ann Marie


  2. Dannette Cook says:

    I am feeling for our Austrian exchange student now. I naively thought “Christmas there is probably the same as Christmas here”. Not so. She is very excited about her own stocking, even if there is a prospect of it being stuffed with coal. We also find it more appealing than the Austrian alternative for naughty children, little demon elves that beat you with sticks, throw you into their bag, and tote you to hell (in case you were wondering where the idea for the new Christmas horror film “Krumpus” originated, apparently Austrian).


  3. cmblackwood says:

    Thanks for sharing such awesome photos! ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. Julia says:

    Love reading your blog and “hearing” your voice as I do. Love to you and OS #2, and Merry Christmas to all of your family!


  5. Emily, it’s been forever since we’ve chatted. I haven’t done anything with my blog in years. We are under construction since May. Will it never end??? Always enjoy reading of your adventures. I sure need one myself but that’s another story.
    Hugs and Merry Merry to you and yours, you Clampett-ites, well, sorta. ๐Ÿ™‚


  6. My Mom was the only one who actually made it to visit me while I was in Japan. We visited Hiroshima together, before going to the beautiful island of Miyajima (think that’s the name). She felt uncomfortable in the museum as an American. It was quite something. History…


    • When we were there, lots of groups of school kids were there. Many of them came up and asked to practice their English, had their pictures taken with us, it was really sweet. The place I found that is problematic for older Japanese is Okinawa. Where Japan lost the war and so many of their sailors lost their lives.


  7. thegannans says:

    G’day Emily, Another nice set of photos and enjoyable commentary. I hope your kids survive their Holiday with Grandma, and you find some time to yourself. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


  8. YTSL says:

    Did you ever visit Hong Kong when you lived in Japan, Emily? If so, I hope you enjoyed your time here — and I’d love to read your impressions of the place, etc.! ๐Ÿ™‚


  9. Does it get much more adorable than those snow monkeys? I remember your post about them when you first visited.
    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas — wearing flip-flops under the palm trees. ๐Ÿ™‚


  10. sweffling says:

    Lovely to be reading your posts again! I hope the move went well. Like you, one of the places bombed in Paris was where I used to eat and i know the area well. Something like that always makes it feel very personal.


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