Literally the worst thing about being an expat

Power Adaptors literally the worst part of being an expat

Its time to get real, its time to talk about the hard stuff. Yes being 18,324km away from home is hard, yes being in a strange city alone is tough, and yes winter has lasted for at least 7 months already but that is not the hardest thing. They are tiny annoyances compared to the big issue causing daily agony and mistrust with the world. What is literally the worst thing about being an expat I hear you say? Two words…power adaptors.

Those little fuckers are the bane of any expat’s life. Things are simple when you first move over, you have your iPhone charger with a New Zealand plug and you just need a one adaptor to make your life in London complete. Then you decide to go on holiday to Berlin so you find the one place in London that sells a New Zealand to Europe power adaptor and your life is once again connected and complete.

So far so electric.

Then you start to accumulate UK appliances and trouble starts brewing like grey clouds on the horison. It might be that hair dryer you brought, or you might have splurged on a new laptop because you decided to start a blog. All of a sudden most things you own have UK plugs, you get used to not needing adaptors in your life, you are becoming naturalised to your new city. Until you decide to travel that is, and then you are entirely screwed.

After four years I have about ten different power adaptors and my amazing super power is to never have the one I need when I need it. To New Zealand I took a European adaptor, to Europe I took the NZ to Europe adaptor but only had things with UK plugs. Yes part of this is that I might be a tiny bit useless at packing, but mostly I blame global politics and power plays for allowing the tyranny of power adaptors to take over.

I bet one of you smart asses is sitting there saying I should get a universal adaptor. I bet you are smugly sitting on your bed charging your New Zealand phone in a UK socket knowing that if you had to go to Norway at short notice your power requirements would be 100% sorted. But you are also probably the sort of person who chooses to buy the more expensive power adaptor at the airport instead of buying gin. So you may be happily charging your iPhone right now, but I am fuelled by the power of Hendricks and am pretty much invincible so fucknuckles to you.

One day I will be prepared to pay the £10 more for the universal adaptor. On that day I will be sober, boring and ready to talk life insurance over Starbucks cappuccinos. Until that day however I will scream my power adaptor injustice at the world from every mountain and every city hotel room that I find myself in. Expats together we will get through this challenge, be brave my loves.

 

Moving to London is exhausting

8 Comments

  1. December 7, 2015 / 3:38 pm

    Oh, I hear you.

    I blew out my hair dryer on our very first day because I had no idea you couldn’t plug them into an adaptor. Then the husband destroyed his electric shaver. At that point we got a clue and realized that every small appliance we had en route from California was going to have to be (1) stored and (2) replaced. So now we have a new Nespresso, tea kettle, toaster, and I’m looking at purchasing a printer and a crock pot before the week is out. And the absolute worst of it? We’re here for two years and I’m already gunning for London next … where we’ll have to do it all over again.

  2. December 7, 2015 / 5:33 pm

    I know exactly what you mean, the power adaptor situation drives me crazy. I’ve got quite the collection in my apartment in Switzerland. And with the conversion issues between Europe and the United States, it’s double the trouble.

  3. December 7, 2015 / 10:06 pm

    I completely agree with you! I just got back from Paris with my UK laptop and NZ camera and phone. My inability to cope with buying two adapters (and the fear of plugging a NZ/UK adapter into a UK/France adapter)resulted in me charging my phone into a USB port on the WIFI box and deciding that, once my camera died, the Paris photos could wait until New Years! – P.S: Love the Snow falling down your page!

  4. December 9, 2015 / 9:23 am

    I couldn’t agree more! I’ve officially given them up and have bought us, France and UK specific chargers for phones and have boxes of local hair dryers, straighteners etc. Crazy, perhaps. But I don’t have to deal with adaptors anymore mostly :p (also every universal adaptor I’ve ever had has broken within two uses. Rubbish!)

  5. December 13, 2015 / 1:28 am

    Ha ha, love it! I’ve been back in NZ since 2008 and just got an electron friend (so handy – everyone should have one!) to change over my last UK plug!

  6. December 15, 2015 / 5:13 pm

    hahahaha this is so true!!! I have so many…EU, UK, USA…so many! And I still manage to ruin some of my electronics!

  7. January 3, 2016 / 5:12 pm

    I love that you call them little fuckers. I echo that sentiment times 100. I fried (as in ON FIRE) an expensive American flat iron after realizing it’s not just a matter of an adapter when it’s the hertz that are the issue. Even with a converter, hair tools are a no-go from the US to France — unless you want to risk frying it and/or burning your house down. I literally turned my back for 10 seconds and turned around to smell smoke and see 6-in flames coming from my flat iron. Ooops. I went out and bought a French flat iron the same day. If the hertz are different, I don’t convert, I just buy French products.

  8. June 14, 2016 / 4:49 pm

    I hope the day when you talk anything over Starbucks Cappuccinos never comes… Stay away from the dark side!

    Brian.