Are you a recent expatriate? Have you just arrived in your new location only to find out that you have by no means escaped certain annoyances that occurred on a daily basis back home? I mean issues such as: paying the bills, standing in lines, car repairs, meeting deadlines, endless meetings at work, and so on. Yes, this is life no matter where you live, where go and where you are right now.
However, to be very understanding, these issues can be especially tough when you are a newly arrived expatriate. Not only do you have to deal with all the daily events and routine, but you also have to manage a range of other expatriate-related realities namely; language barriers, visa problems, getting lost every other day, having to pass a driver’s test again, driving on the “wrong” side of the road, getting used to the food, not being able to get a decent cup of coffee and the list continues …
However, there is good news. Although the going may be tough, there are many upsides to being at this point of your life right now and there are reasons to be bright and cheerful. Let’s consider a few:
* Strangers appreciate you for trying to speak their language. In fact they make you feel special for doing so.
* How about those friends you met at the local tennis club? They help you with cultural information, make phone calls for you and are available for any Q & A.
* People you barely know help you get the Internet hooked up.
* Colleagues take the time to show you how subway system works.
* Neighbors advise you on which grocery store to shop at and which markets offers great deals.
* New friends share their best-kept secrets of favorite locals and drag you off for fun nights on the town.
* The gym manager gives you a special membership discount as a way to welcome you into town.
* Teachers at the Dutch, French or Spanish language classes have more patience than you ever thought possible for any human being.
* People passing by on the street help you find your way around this new city.
* Colleagues support you in meetings and help you understand the company policies and rules.
And so, before you know it, you are beginning to enjoy your daily life and you begin to feel that you are a real and integral part of the community. Actually, at the end of the day, it all comes down to getting out what you put in. If you really want to give your term in this new land a fair go and be happy while living abroad, you may just need to go out on a limb, take some risks, put some effort into your experience and live your life with positive expectation.
Give your host country a chance and open your eyes for all it and its people have to offer. Be prepared to live outside of your comfort zone and don’t compare everything to how it is done back home. You are in a different place now and if you make this place home and treat it like home and I can almost say with confidence, your new home will treat you back in more ways than you ever thought possible. You may not ever want to leave …
Quote of the week
“Wondrous is the strength of cheerfulness and its power of endurance – the cheerful man will do more in the same time, will do it better, will preserve it longer, than the sad or the sullen.” Thomas Carlyle
CHEERY HAPPENINGS IN MY WEEK:
* Free fruit.
* Translation help.
* A local public holiday.
* A new friend.
* Phone calls from home.
How was your week…?