So there are some differences between our life in America and our life in SE Asia. These pictures give you one side of that view...our homes. Going from a 4 bedroom 2 1/2 bath 2000+ square foot home to a 1 room condo of approximately 560 square feet (and no cars!). Well...that was a change! And only ONE of the many changes that any expat will face, and especially if their life has been rooted in their home country for many years.
Having worked as a Social Worker and Personal Health Coach for 20 years plus, I understand the concepts of transition & change. In connection with these concepts comes the link between...what touches the body will also touch the soul and the spirit of a person...the holistic approach of life and change!
I just heard an observation that I think is good to input here...what is the difference between "here" and "there"?? Simple..." T "! Ha! So what does that mean?? T = TIME!
Another wise saying I recall is, "Preparation TIME is never wasted TIME."
So TIME is one of the important ingredients regarding Living Here--Living There.
TIME to Prepare! So what do we prepare? Well, here are some thoughts from this expat to any other expat or a person facing CHANGE!! (click on the READ MORE)
Climbing the Mountain of Change...
What drives this change?
How does this tie into my heart passion?
What will my day to day life look like there? (Do you have any pictures or experiences to draw from to help create this vision?)
What are my pros and cons of this move?
For me, taking some short term trips overseas was a great help! It took me out of the "fantasy" realm of living in another nation. These trips gave me a real life taste of the change I would need to be ready for. My short term trips ranged from 2-4 weeks. I would recommend a 4 week trip if possible because you really have to figure out how to "live" in that nation during that trip. You get beyond the "goo-goo" eyes of a tourist"!
I have seen the value of "experiments" when a person is preparing for change. The experiments give you an opportunity to see what will and will not work before you jump into the full change!
2. PREPARE THE PROVISION (The Body needs plus the Soul needs)
Provision includes (but is not exclusive to): Finances; Healthcare; Housing; Food; Social Support; Language; Transportation; Fun/Recreation; Communication/Tech needs; etc.
Start making your list and filling in the details. What do I need for my day to day life and my month to month "sanity"??
Knowing someone who lives in the nation you are going to is a great help! We have had people who have helped us and what a great advantage that has been! I don't believe in being the "lone ranger" or re-inventing the same wheel!
Pull on other's experience and you will find some great treasures at your finger tips!
An avenue to use are the expat blogs that are out there! Go to Trip Advisor and other expat websites. Expats seem to have a great sense of "helping the other person"! If I can help you avoid the confusion and frustrations I went through....then Yeah! I will help you!
3. PREPARE THE TRANSITION (The Spirit, The Soul, and The Body transitioning)
What is going to help me have comfort in an uncomfortable place?
How will I maintain connections in the lonely and isolated times of adjustment?
What information tools do I have available to me?
Who can give me some insight into the transition of a new country and culture?
One of the pieces of advice that a long time expat gave me was..."Make your home your haven; Our home is an American home...not Asian" With that in mind, I created a list of items I wanted to take with me. And I used a box/suitcase to start storing things for my move to Thailand. When we settled in Thailand, I had: some favorite seasoning packs for cooking; some small and light weight home décor; some family pictures to put in picture frames; some light weight cooking utensils I enjoyed using; some refrigerator magnets that I liked. Then I made sure I had items I wanted to take from America like: vitamins, cold medicine, diarrhea medicine, mosquito repellent, shampoos, etc.
Journaling is another way I process my adjustments in life! So I made sure I had my journals and other reading that is very important to me. Playing the guitar is an essential part of my well being, so when we got settled I bought a guitar in Thailand (note: This is one of those things we researched out before we left).
As well as being connected with a group of welcoming nationals, we also have had an expat group that we
stay in communication with. Use your Embassy. Use Google. Use other avenues. And find support! You will need it as you are making friends and adjusting to a new nation and culture...actually any change! Language schools can be an avenue for this.
Climb Your Mountain and Enjoy the Adventure of Change!