What it’s like to start over in a new country

Things you cannot possibly understand you will have to do when you start over in another country:CIMG1093

  1. Find things to sleep on and sit on.
  2. Find things to cook on, keep food in, and wash clothes with.
  3. Get these things to your home.
  4. Get these things connected/wired in.
  5. Learn to use these things that have different verbiage/labels/settings.
  6. Need transportation to do anything.
  7. When do things open? When do things close? When do they open again? Is it a national holiday? When is it over?
  8. What is our address? How do we explain how to get here?
  9. Where do we get toilet paper? Where to get food?
  10. How do we work the air conditioner?
  11. How do we get hot water? How do we to get tap water? Do we drink the tap water?
  12. How do get drinking water? How do we get more drinking water?
  13. How do we get internet?
  14. Get things to eat on, cook with, stir with, scoop with, and eat with.
  15. Get soap to wash with, rags, drying rack, something to dry with.
  16. Why isn’t the laundry drying?
  17. Water is coming in the windows.
  18. Need window coverings in a bad way. Need to hang them. How do we hang them? Where do we get tools? Which kind of tools?
  19. What is the number to the landlord? Do we have one? What is his role?
  20. Find stores cheaper than the stores you’ve already found.
  21. How do we go across the border into another country, and who will go with us?
  22. Why isn’t the trash man taking all our trash?
  23. Where will we put our clothes? Where will we hang out clothes? What will we hang them with?
  24. Where will we put our trash until we take it out?
  25. Need a shower curtain, and rings, and rod. Need somewhere to put all our bathroom junk. Where do we get more bathroom junk?
  26. How will we clean?
  27. Where will we keep our shoes? Where will we sit while we put on and take off shoes by the door?
  28. Where will we change baby diapers? How much does JT weigh in kilograms? where will we trash baby diapers?
  29. Where do we put bath towels after bathing? Do we have towels?
  30. Why does this rice taste like candy?
  31. Why did the internet stop working?
  32. Which baby food looks the least suspicious?
  33. Need something to cut food with. Need something to put leftovers in. How will we heat leftovers?
  34. Coffee machine or instant coffee?

Seriously. Every. Single. Thing. Must be purchased or borrowed.

When we started over in the Arab world, we’d made so many trips to so many stores. We had a saying in our building, “You can only make so many decisions in a day” and then you just have to go home and rest until tomorrow.

This especially hits home when I think about people who relocate in the worst of situations. We were in the best of situations with our gainful employment, neighbors, and speaking the primary language of commerce.

What about people who are forcefully deported from the only country they know? What about people running from war?


3 thoughts on “What it’s like to start over in a new country

  1. We can relate to nearly every single issue you have living there. Almost everything you have mentioned has happened to us here. I REALLY understand your frustrations, anxiety, disappointments, and stress. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but things will get better! I will be praying for you all and even though it stinks living in Korea you made me think of the very few blessings that the army has given us…commissary, PX, gas station(when we finally got a car) and a few fast food places. I will try to remember you guys when I feel like griping about Korea now. 🙂 Hang in there!


  2. Oh my gosh – now I have tons of questions…. Why DOES the rice taste like candy? No closets? What is “wired in?” No electrical outlets? Do you not have a grocery store of some kind?


    • I accidentally bought “Egyptian rice” and the package says “enjoy your sweet fruity rice”. If you over cook it, it sticks together and tastes like grits with sugar. If you just under cook it, though, it goes great with spicy Indian food. LOL.

      No closets. Not even one. We have purchased wardrobes, dressers, etc to hold stuff.

      Our stove (known as a “cooker”) and washer/dryer in one both had actual wires that had to be connected to actual live wires behind a faceplate in their spot. wowzers.

      everything else has electrical outlets.

      Yes, we have stores that sell food along with everything else. Nothing is labeled “Kroger”. It’s hard to tell the difference at first between LuLu (think walmart) or Pan Emirates (furniture) or Al Safa (think Sack n Save) or Jackies (Best buy). Where are they? INSIDE SHOPPING MALLS. Instead of Dillards, you get a Target, essentially.


Leave a Reply to newdfw Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s