Living in a foreign county is not all sunshine and barbecues on the beach but it is very important for most expats not to let anyone else know this – after all we would hate to think that anyone stuck back in good old Blighty is actually having a better time than us!
I sit here now looking out of the window at the bright blue sky in November and I am happy for everyone to know that – but what we don’t need everyone to know is that I am also wrapped in a blanket wearing three pairs of socks and tying to remember where I put my fingerless gloves.
The illusion of how great life abroad can be is so much nicer than the truth and luckily we now have Facebook to make sure all of our friends and family in other less spectacular and sunny places can see just what they are missing out on.
Remember the days when you used to send a postcard back home with a picture of the beach you have been frolicking on for the past two weeks? They do actually still sell postcards here but I am pretty sure they are the same ones that I took my pick from 20 years ago when I came to visit because now we have Facebook to update everyone about what we are doing and we can do that everyday, sometimes several times a day (how could that ever be annoying!).
In the summer time there is no point uploading another picture of the local beach because everyone is doing those pictures of their legs on the beach that look like hot dogs in the sand.
Did you know you can actually work out just how fat a person is by the amount of body they show on those pictures? Think about it; the super skinnies out there will usually include a flash of toned tummy all the way down to toes but the fatter you get the less you see. Only the very brave would post a picture of dimpled thighs on the beach so it is best to focus on toenails at this point.
Anyway, in the summer time everyone is posting up their great pictures of the sunshine, it is the cold and dark winter months that the expats can exact their revenge on the warm, well fed and well paid Brits back at home by posting up day after day of sunny photos from around the local area to make sure that everyone knows how good we have it.
Sometimes a sly share or like of a picture posted by someone else makes its way onto your timeline – like the person didn’t really mean for everyone to see it but be assured that they did.
I find that I most enjoy posting pictures of me on the beach in about February time when the depression of the long winter in the north of Europe has fully sunk in.
February is a miserable month in tourist towns, even if the sun is shining. Nobody has any money, there is no work, everything is closed, you haven’t seen a new face in six weeks and you are sick it being warmer outside your house than in.
But just one picture of a palm tree in the sun outside your window and it looks like you are in paradise again. Then you sit back and wait for the likes and the comments and the “wish I was there” remarks.
Its a cheap shot but there have to be some perks to being an expat.