Anatomy of this Outfit: Top – weekday | Bottoms – Urban Outfitters | Shoes – vans | Hoodie – Abercrombie and fitch


As most of you are well aware of, I have been living out the majority of my (young) adult years – five and a half! To be exact – as an ex-pat in Berlin. Which is kind of insane, because making a home in a foreign country was never really on my list of priorities in my teenage or college years. In fact, the idea never really entered my mind. After college, I ended up taking internship opportunity which happened to be located in Berlin, but didn’t really think much of it. It could have been in New York City for all I cared. It just happened to be in Berlin. I had focused on German history in university, and wanted to pursue my researching goals and thought that spending some time in Germany would help aid in that process, so I figured that having an internship in Berlin could be helpful, but I never really thought that I would end up here semi-permanently.

I actually wanted to split my early 20s between Germany and Japan for research purposes in order to study post-war film from both countries – I wanted to study the ways in which these films aided in re-building morale and social identity in the post-war period as well as study how these films were used as vehicles of socialisation and politicisation. And although in order to do this I would have to live outside of the US, this was only thought of as a transient state – a means to an end until I would be sitting pretty as a tenured professor at a prestigious American university. Needless to say, I never made it to Japan. Or back to the US for that matter. I kind of got stuck here, and I kind of really fucking like it. I’m ex-patting the shit out of my 20s and to be entirely honest, although I do not like to over-think the future too much, I’m relatively sure I will be doing the same thing for at least a few more years to come.

However, when you end up staying put for so long, there comes a point where you sort of stop being the typical ex-pat and, instead, really settle into the place you are living. Sure, Wikipedia defines an ex-pat as: “a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of their citizenship,” but when I think of most ex-pats, I most often think of transient people who don’t really ever put down roots, travelling to different parts of the world every few years, still very strongly identifying with their native culture, viewing the country of residence as a foreign place.

And then there are the ex-pats like me – Those who move (for whatever reason) but somehow end up getting stuck, end up building a home for themselves in their new homeland, taking on the good and bad from the culture of their new home. This kind of results in some sort of hybrid mixed culture identity that just sort of happens one day when you turn around and realise that you’ve started to scoff at strangers over things that really don’t concern you and started to (unintentionally!) form your English sentences with the Grammar structure of the language from your new home but still crave that American friendliness and struggle with speaking German sometimes, wondering if you ever really did learn that goddamned foreign language or not.

Being an ex-pat is weird, and in a lot of ways once you go ex-pat you can never go back. Because people back home somehow don’t ever really get it and still ask you when you plan on moving back from what they see as an extremely over-extended vacation. But you also understand that due to the fact that you grew up in a land that is and will always be your home, that you will never fully be at home in the place you now live. So you end up with this sort of global identity that only other ex-pats or others with multiple identities understand. Because they understand that you can’t live your live in two places at once and they’ve also experienced how friendships from across the ocean slowly fade away as new ones form in your new home base.

But just as soon as you’ve built up a new life for yourself, you start to get itchy feet and think, “I need to get the fuck out of here and move to someplace new”. Because although you’ve taken that less travelled ex-pat journey, although you’ve built a home for yourself in your new land, although you’ve become part of the society here with the mentality of a transplanted citizen and not that of a transient party person, you start to realize that travel is intoxicating, and you’re hooked, and it’s time to discover something new. Because you’ve stayed long enough to understand the culture from a level deeper than that of a superficial 6-month stay and you feel as if you are beginning to stagnate. Which means you’re feeling ready to uproot yourself from everything you have built up for the past 5 years only to have that existence fade away in place of a new one you will have to create from scratch. Which is equal parts exciting and terrifying.

Someone once accused me of being an “eternal tourist” but why does that have to be a negative thing? Isn’t there beauty in curiosity and a thirst for travel? As long as you are leaving to explore something new not running away from something found, I see no harm in picking up and exploring something new. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Berlin, and I could potentially see myself building a family here. I have also met so many amazing people and have so many amazing friends in my life right now, that it would be so hard to say goodbye to that all. But I’m also craving new adventures. After all, there isn’t just one proper path to take through this world and life is only so long and there are a lot of places on my travel bucket-list so I sure as hell better jump on that. Besides, home is where your heart is, so wherever I might be, I will always be home.

Photography: Johannes Husen


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Rae Tilly

Rae the EIC of LFB and YEOJA Magazine. She is also a photographer and social media influencer.

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  • You have such amazing style!

    http://www.georgiajade.com

  • Stephanie Louise

    Love your outfit Rae! It’s really amazing how you are spending your time living, working and enjoying Berlin. You’re still the first person I know to make the move there, usually it’s the UK, or Paris, China, or like you mentioned, Japan. Cheers to uprooting and rooting in other countries! x

  • You look gorgeous swty!! Love the outfit

    CANDICE | BEAUTY CANDY LOVES

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  • I have always wanted to visit Berlin, it seems like such a wonderful place! I love your story, I would love to move away and live in a different country but it’s just not right for me at the moment. BTW i’m in love with your hair!!!!!!!!!!!

    http://katsbeautytales.blogspot.co.uk/

  • I love the conclusion you drew: If home is where the heart is, you will be at home always!

    Being no ex-pat, but traveling whenever I get the chance, i can relate to the feeling that you never really settle down.

    Berlin is a great city to live this feeling, as the city itself isn’t settled quite yet.

    LindaLibraLoca:
    Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  • You look so rad! Love the pants and the shoes! I’m glad you like to live in Berlin. You look like you belong there and I’m sure you speak the German perfectly by now :D
    Wünsch dir einen wunderschönen Freitag!

    http://www.glamdevils.com

  • That’s a really interesting point of view! For me, I always lived and grew up in New York so I’ve never been able to experience that. I couldn’t imagine myself being in a different country. In a different state yes, but even that scares me a little. My boyfriend and I are long distance – he’s near Toronto and he’s always moving different places between co-op terms, school, and home. If we end up living together one day, I have no idea where we’ll be location-wise and it freaks me out a little bit to be far away from home for long periods of time.

    Unrelated but, I really like your hair! Your fringe really suits you :)

    becky ♡ star violet

  • I totally understand! When I was a teenager my family and I moved from Missouri to Egypt, then Sudan. You’re right about there being those “temporary expats,” but we were more in the “permanent expat” category. Now I’m a Third Culture Kid, and I’m a weird mish mosh of all the places I’ve lived and love. I identify with how you go “home” and people don’t really understand, but I feel my life is a lot richer for having lived in a few places. (And hopefully I will again in the future!)

  • larissa

    Sometimes I feel the same way, my family is from Panama, I live in Mexico and although I had lived here most of my life I still don’t feel I fit perfectly. I think it has to do also with the clash of two cultures, but I think it enriches yourself to be able to live between two cultures. By the way all the photography in your blog is amazing!

    ibelieveinrosa.blogspot.com

  • You look so fabulous! I’m loving those jeans and those leopard sneakers are way too cute!

    <3 Shannon
    Upbeat Soles

  • At Wednesdays I Wear Pink

    You’re so pretty !

    Love your hair !

    xoxo

    http://atwednesdaysiwearpink.blogspot.pt/

  • K.

    This is such a cool, casual look. And I am loving your hair in these photos.

    Kay of Pure & Complex
    http://www.purecomplex.com

  • Mel
  • Stripes n Vibes

    I think there is nothing wrong in being “eternal tourist” as long as you feel yourself comfortable in this. Besides there are so many new places and people that you just don’t have the time to be bored)

    Looking great!

    Tanya
    http://www.stripesnvibes.com
    BlogLovin

  • I don’t know, if I could live like that: go somewhere, anywhere, build up a life, a home, friendships and then leave.
    You were so brave coming to germany in the first place, and then wanting to leave again to discover another country/place and do the whole thing another time: build up a home, work, find friends, build up a life– it’s so different.
    I’ve never heard about a lifestyle like yours (me, from the small town I come from), and it definitely made me think a lot. It was incredibly interesting to read and so inspiring.
    Thank you!

    love, Kat

  • I think you’re living a fantastic life, to be given the chance to live, study and work in a foreign country at such a young age is a huge privilege that most of us can’t afford. I would have live life to the fullest too if I had the same opportunity as you and would have treasured every moment of such brilliant experience. xx

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

  • I love your style and how you can pull off pretty much anything. I’d love to live in another country, even for a short while. I think breaking out of our comfort zones like that is important, because we can become too relaxed, I don’t know really.
    Do you have an idea of where you’d like to go next? I think the idea of being an eternal tourist is rather romantic really; as you said, there is so much to see in the world – why stick to one place?

  • You looks so amazing in this outfit

    I love how you style yourself

    XO

    Check my new post.

    The Bandwagon Chic | Instagram | Bloglovin

  • Really enjoy reading your posts, Rae! You’re very wise, girl!
    So in love with your denims! Look beautiful with gray!

    JOURNAL OF STYLE

  • Toller Look! Mal etwas anderes :)
    LG Lynda
    http://fashion-petite.blogspot.com/

  • nice look

    Mrs NoOne

  • Your life sounds so interesting! I love how you styled this super casual look too :)

    Chelsea
    Chow Down USA

  • Your Blog is lovely! Really enjoyed reading some of your posts! You looks gorgeous too! :)

    Kim x
    thelensaffair.com

  • Gorgeous photos! Love the outfit!

    Dora NEW POST! Bangs Bang | Bloglovin

  • yuyufashionbook

    Like always, you’re just so stunning my dear !

    Kiss my dear ! Yuyu

    http://www.yuyufashionbook.com/

  • B.A.D style Adriana Barar

    that hair color is really awesome! Love your edgy style

  • I loved reading this. I miss living in a foreign country and living the life of an ex-pat, although I’m not sure that just one year in China would count (an ex-ex-pat?) – perhaps a temporary one at best. Moving back to the states was so difficult for me because just like you said, I felt like people did not understand. I had seen and experienced so much outside of the American bubble and there was no sufficient way for me to get this across. If ever given the chance, I think my husband and I would consider living abroad, but we’ll see!

  • Csenge Orban

    Just discovered your blog and I immediately fell in love! You’re so pretty and your hair is amazing! I was never brave enough to try it, even though I have always wanted the same color as your hair… maybe someday :) I love everything about this outfit! It’s so laid-back but edgy. You have a great style! xxx

    Kisses from Hungary

    http://www.csengespoint.blogspot.hu

  • I would love to live in a foreign country for a while, I think it would be amazing! love your style by the way :)

    Rebecca Coco

  • Somehow I can relate to this, living in a state across the sea from where I grew up. everything’s different, culture and the way of life. I used to think I’ll never really settle down anywhere, but yes, home is where our heart is, cheers to that :) p.s love that outfit, you look stunning x

  • Maireem Maneje

    I can totally relate to this. Such a meaningful post that obviously touches everyone :) Love your blog :)

    http://www.maireem.blogspot.com

  • Very well written! I enjoyed reading this a lot. I’m always craving new adventures and even though I’ve only lived in Belgium so far, I constantly crave the need for change. I’ve spend weeks in different countries and I can see myself living in Spain and the US, but maybe even Portugal or Italy or god knows where. And the last sentence is BEAUTIFUL. (I might have to borrow that, and credit you of course) home has always been where the heart it. Great, great post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! xx Naomi in Wonderland

  • I loved reading this – especially as i’m about to become as ex-pat in the next few months so it was really interesting

    Gorgeous look – your hair is flawless

    xx

    Garland Girl

  • I’m an expat too, and you’re right – home is where the heart is!

    adore your photos, so awesome!

    Charlotte Harvs Style Blog

  • Signaturebymm

    I`m so glad i found your blog, i really love it! Like the way you write and all your looks :D.

    Cori from Signature by M&M

  • Dressed With Soul

    Oh, gefällt mir sehr! Genauso stelle ich mir einen stylishen, lässigen und besonderen Look vor <3

    xx from
    Germany/Bavaria, Rena

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  • Interesting to read! Does this mean you’re planning a change? I would love to live + work overseas for a while but I’m not sure how wide my options are for my career path.

  • Beauty Follower
  • I like this post so much, beautiful words :)
    I love your style too, you are so beautiful and I like this blog very much!
    I will keep on following you :) and hope to see your jewelry creations soon ;)
    xx Elisa
    http://www.francinesplacediy.blogspot.com

  • Min

    Awesome outfit and beautiful photos! I love it all! Happy weekend!
    http://www.minsbeautyequipment.com

  • sano sanisimo

    absolutely amazing outfit!! I love your style!!! you look awesome
    have a wonderful weekend!!
    xx

    100% natural & homemade cosmetics => http://sano-sanisimo.blogspot.com.es/

  • Machachu

    I enjoyed reading your post. I would love to live abroad after I finished my studies too.
    Love your outfit & your hair :) x

    http://machachu.blogspot.com

  • melianachen

    amazingggg hair! love your outfit as well <3

    http://www.melianachen.blogspot.com

  • Ah I totally agree with you in this post, having lived in NZ/Aus/England/America, I definitely feel like a global citizen! Moving pretty much constantly growing up has definitely given me itchy feet – I am the same eternal tourist! I have done 2 years in London now and still loving it though! xx

    Jasmin Charlotte | UK Lifestyle Blog

  • I really admire your passion for your line of work and how brilliant that it saw you venture to Berlin. I agree, there’s nothing wrong with having an eternal love for seeing the world and I hope wherever you explore next will be just as enjoyable as Berlin has been for you! :)

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice

    x

  • mfashionfreak

    i love this so much :)) you have such a wonderful blog!

    mfashionfreak♥blog

    GIVEAWAY

  • The path you chose for your academic career as well as your choice of study is so inspiring. I would never have the balls to relocate to another country. It takes a really strong courageous person to do that. If I could go back I definitely would’ve chosen something more meaningful. Btw, I love your writing.

    xo,
    Mindy | Blonde Nouveau

  • Lindsey Lam

    This was a great read! Relocating definitely adds a new sort of richness to living, and not everyone can do it (for whatever reasons). I have played with the idea of moving abroad for a while now after graduation next year. Happy I stumbled across this post of yours!

    High Heels & Happy Feels

  • Jackie Lee

    Omg wow your blog is stunning!! I am in love with your style and I followed you on bloglovin’ <3

    xoxo
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  • Eleanor

    so interesting, and i love your look xx
    http://www.alldeathbydiamonds.blogspot.co.uk

  • What beautiful photos dear. I love your look.
    Kisses

  • This is a very interesting post! I’ve never thought of relocating to a different country for academic reasons or internships. I bet it does get very confusing between your home culture and your “current” home culture. I mean, as long as you’re doing something that you love, it home can be anywhere.

    Love your casual look! ♡

    xx AlexisSplash

    Deadlikeyourfame.blogspot.com

  • Lovely story to read, very nice written! And I also love your look & blog, I’m your newest follower on Bloglovin’! :)

    xx Alex // ILUMUOTI.nl

  • Iren

    Fantastic styling!! So cool and trendy <3

    http://WWW.LIAKW.COM

  • Samantha Mariko

    I can relate to you somewhat – I was getting anxious to leave the bubble in California and I just had to get out after I graduated college, and to try something completely different in Japan. Although its not “foreign” to me as I am half- Japanese and I speak the language.. but it was worth it! I’m sure living in Berlin helped you grow a lot as a person! :) Kudos to you!
    http://www.samanthamariko.com

  • Kelsey & Kenecha

    Beautiful look! Really like those pants x

    Florals&Smiles
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  • love this look, and i hope you enjoy living in Berlin, dont ever give up and live your life to its fullest dear because you are awesome
    anyway, would you like to follow each other on gfc/bloglovin and instagram? Let me know :)

    NEW POST ON SRS BLOG : CLICHE AS IT SOUNDS

  • Maddie

    I absolutely adore your hair! Your bangs remind me of Audrey Hepburn! I also love the casualness of this look, keep up the great work!
    Love, Maddie

    http://www.chiconthepeak.org

  • Allure Obsessed

    This is stunning! I love this look. xo

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  • Joy

    Love the look, and photo’s! you have an amazing face!

    xo

  • Rita Sousa

    Amazing look, and I’m in love with your hair!

    http://rustorstardust.blogspot.pt/ **

  • I think it’s funny how we follow a call and things lay itself out at our feet like that. Sometimes we, the non-planners, find ourselves in the coolest possible situations! But it takes a lot of courage to do that. Can’t wait to see what comes next for you :)

  • YES! Beauty in curiosity and thirst for travel. Beautifully said. I like it! =) I can see myself fitting in that category and it’s a great thing to actually found the other half who like it just as much. Nothing is wrong with you. We are all unique in our own ways. I must say we are all human. We all think that grass is always greener on the other side. Although we learn to be contented and never be complacent. It’s not too good to be complacent.

  • Loove this look, I have a feeling this will be me one day, I’m already planning a couple of places I want to live in the future and how I’m doing to live there. I have such itchy feet at the moment and want to just travel as far and wide as I can <3

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  • Love your look, and love this post. So beautifully written and very insightful! x

    I’m a newbie blogger hoping to make some friends in the blogging community, if you’re at all interested! :3

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    xx Chontelle Louise

  • This was a great post! And I hope you’ll find a way to feel entirely at home, even if you do end up moving a whole lot. And an Eternal Tourist doesn’t sounds like a bad thing to me either.
    Growing up my family travelled a lot. We always “lived” where I still live now, but we spent quite a lot of time in the US each year too. So I can always really relate to expat stories of people that miss things from whatever country they are not in. When you’ve seen so many customs and cultural differences it’s like you can’t win anymore. You always leave something awesome behind. Yet it’s still better than not having seen it at all.

  • So where is next? Really love how you wrote this, speaking from the heart right there.

    Buckets & Spades

  • Hi rae, It’s vina! The one that just email you :)
    You look like a barbie doll, I love your style.

    much love,
    Vina
    http://WWW.LOONAIRE.COM

    • rae

      Hi Vina! Unfortunately, I have not received any emails from you. Did you send it here: [email protected] ?

      • Hi rae, I got mistyped the address. But I did fix it, and forwarded the message I got wrong to send. have check it out? :) Thank you, dear..

  • Absolutely right – nothing wrong with being a tourist. Tourists sometimes explore a place so much more than someone who lives there, and that’s how I want to live!

    Also, just a side note. What kind of visa did you get to live in Berlin for an extended period, or do you just regularly renew?

  • Vaida Tamošauskaitė

    first of all – i just LOVE this outlook of yours. i know i’ve said before, but you’re very beautiful, and got this unique sense of style which i really like. i find you very inspiring, i guess that’s i always end up leaving many compliments on your blog. but they all are honest! trust me :)))
    as for the ex-pat. i do feel ya. i lived in London for 2.5 years. i really liked it there, and while i was there, i thought i will never go back home.
    now i’ve been back in Lithuanian since 2013. still i cannot decide whether i will settle here or not. i believe i need to travel for more, live somewhere else and then i would make up my mind. but yes, once you’re ex-pat everyone’s kind of expecting you to announce the date you will be going home.
    tho i also love that you are in the history, and that all sounds amazing! while reading this post i just thought “wow, i’d never guess that some person who’s studying or into this kind of studies would be a blogger”. i guess these are the stupid stereotypes but i like you now even more :D haha.
    Vaida @ http://www.donttellanyone.net/blog