…I DO give a damn.
Being an expat comes with its challenges and sometimes it takes hard conscious effort to stay positive.
They say home is where the heart is! For an expat, that is such a difficult definition! Each country makes its mark on your heart and you leave a piece of it there. Each country changes you so you fit in, you get the best of it, you learn and adapt… and what happens at the end? You belong everywhere and nowhere! That is at the same time wonderful and extremely difficult…
What makes it better is if you always strive to surround yourself with friends. Create your social circle as fast as you can… It’s not an easy task but if you just focus on finding people with common interests and aspirations, it suddenly fits. We all tend to lean toward the familiar but don’t limit yourself to people with the same citizenship or the same mother-tong – you’ll miss out. Join activities, take classes, go to events that fit your personality and there, naturally, you’ll meet your new friends. Your common passions will connect you!
Sometimes, expats close themselves to new friendships because they know they’ll have to separate again. Separation is hard. But ask yourself: “Why is it so hard to separate from your friends? Why do you miss them?”. The answer is: “They were your support mechanism, your extended family. Because they enriched your life.” – That is priceless! Don’t deprive yourself from it. Embrace it!
Don’t focus on the “noise”! It distracts you from the important things.
For example: If you live in Beijing, it is easy to zero-in on the pollution, crazy traffic, etc. aka the metaphorical “noise”. Once you isolate that from your mind, you can focus on the culture, the people and what they can teach you. Take that experience and learn from it because you are privileged to have it.
Don’t give up to the frustration! I know… Easier said than done! It takes persistence to maintain the “Glass-Half-Full” attitude. Think about starting a new job: It is frustrating in the beginning when you are the newbie and you have to get through the learning curve. It is a similar, but more intense, experience. At the end, you will emerge wiser. So focus on how to make the most out of your expat life!
FYI, there are those days when nothing makes sense and you think to yourself “that sucks”. Of course! It would not be normal if you don’t have those days. It is unnatural to be happy all the time… that is another kind of problem 😉
Now, think back… hasn’t “that sucks” moment happened at one point or another while you were living in other countries? I have had those “that sucks” moments in Europe, in America and now in Asia. For the most part, it is due to something personal rather than the country I live in at that moment…