I have really struggled with envy since we moved here. Living abroad was something Mr. F and I spoke of while we were dating, but it was always more of a pipe dream. Once we were more settled in life, finished with graduate school, and hopefully had a bit of extra money to travel. Not once did we expect to be expats at the onset of our marriage.
It took me several months, but I found a really terrific network of friends here, mostly American expats, and all of them here for different reasons. I am the youngest of this group, by a fair amount, but that never seems to matter to my lovely friends. We have the most amazing conversations, play dates, craft days, you name it! They have truly been blessings to me to fill a great void. But I often struggle with how differently Mr. F and I live from them. We can't afford to try out the local tavernas, no matter how good they smell, or travel to Malta, or take cruises, or even take day trips often. Our finances are extremely tight.
I've mentioned this mental struggle to each of my friends and they just laugh and say, "Stop it. We've been where you are now. It's just a phase." My friends are well established in their careers and families. They are in the stages of life that Mr. F and I thought we would be when we lived abroad. But we're not. We're newlyweds. So we get to listen to the stories of the fun cruises and make mental notes about the tavernas in case we have some extra money at the end of the month. And that's okay. We're at our beginning, where we borrow furniture and scrimp to get to the movies every so often. My friends are at their middles, sending their children to college, taking advantage of never before dreamed opportunities to work abroad. It's just...different. That's all.
My conversations with my friends have taught me that I'm the one with the issue. They don't care that I can't always go out to dinner with them or that our chairs are a little shabby. They still come over and help me with leaf garlands and take care of my plants while I'm away. They recognize that we're at the beginning and are so supportive of it. I just have to remember it and be content. Sometimes easier said than done, but as my friends are teaching me, completely worth it.