My New Year’s Resolution For 2013: More Input From You!

Expatriates do make new year's resolutions, don't they?

Have you already made your list?

If I could sum up 2012 in one word, I would say… transformation.
2012 was a turning point for me where I finally decided to follow the path of a life-long interest in psychology.

I’m fascinated by the deep understanding of how relationships work, weaved by the influence of culture and languages.

I found my way because I was not feeling well.

I was desperately looking for answers after several losses I had to grieve:

  • the loss of my corporate career after 15 years (even if I was glad to leave because my job had become meaningless and dehumanized),
  • the complete loss of my financial independence (this is still a tough one),
  • the loss of all my references by moving to the end of the world.

I was wondering what to do with my starting career as a translator, unable to connect with any companies other than translation agencies, offering poor feedback and no loyalty, squeezing you to the core for always less money.

As you can imagine, this was not a very good cure to heal my longing for genuine relationships, professional growth, and positive contribution to a more sustainable world.

But moving to Australia made me “aware” that I had been an expatriate for more than half of my life. I have experienced first hand moving to another country, giving birth and raising children in another language, working with international teams and living with a man of a different religion.

I had done all those things without giving it a thought!
I had not made any research about culture shock and Third Culture Kids. I was not even aware of those words!

Since January 2012, I started to read avidly. I learnt a lot, with tremendous pleasure. But it’s only a beginning. I’ve still so much to learn. It’s both thrilling and overwhelming.

Looking for answers led me to found Expatriate Connection.

I first launched the blog in June to support you, fellow expatriate, in your struggles with identity, grief and loss, culture differences, bilingualism, relationships.

I created the free expat meetings in Hobart (local town where I live in Australia). This group is open to every expatriate, motivated to share and learn about expatriate psychological problems (either family related or professionally oriented). Today, we’re a group of 10 people meeting every first Thursday of the month. We explore together a different theme during each session: children identity, trust in relationships, role and development of self-esteem in children and adults.

In October, I enrolled for a diploma in counselling to deepen my knowledge in psychology and be able to offer reliable and professional help.

Expatriate Connection today is a little online community with 94 Facebook fans and 34 subscribers.

But those numbers don’t mean anything if they’re just numbers.

I wish to place 2013 under the sign of DIALOGUE: your input is essential.

Since I left the corporate world and became a self-employed trailing spouse, I felt more and more isolated. Each year. Each month. Each day.

Of course, people in your close surroundings can be very friendly.

But there are 2 major hurdles specific to expatriates:

  • language barrier
  • frequent relocation.

Add to this people who do not necessarily share the same interests and you can end up very lonely.

This is why a community is so important. But not just ANY community.

A community of like-minded people: because you won’t have to explain in great lengths what you’re feeling. In a few words, they’ll understand you because they’ve been through similar experiences.

An online community: because establishing trustworthy relationships takes time and effort and you don’t want to start all over again every second year.

A supportive community: because you need to connect to heal (when you go through expatriate grief). And this is where your input is so valuable.

Do you want happier children, less stress and more emotional strength?

Are you fed up of being alone, banging your head against the wall?

Are you tired of extended family and friends you can’t relate to anymore because they have not been through your experience?

Don’t be shy.

Write, call or speak up: this year is a year where we can come together, learn from each other and feel better.

How does it sound for a New Year’s resolution?

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Comments

  1. Many thanks for this Anne! Happy New Year 2013. Whilst there may be physical distance, it is always nice to feel part of a community, even if that is only possible as a virtual community. My own reading over the last few years has been very much in the realm of philosophy. I’ve found that some of the things that ‘speak’ to me most clearly were written well over 2 000 years ago by the ancient Greeks. Best wishes!

    Chris

    • Dear Chris, thank you so much for your heart-warming comment. You triggered my curiosity now with your readings of ancient Greeks. Who is your favourite author? What book do you find the most relevant? In our instantanous world governed by Google and the Internet, there is definitely a tremendous value to “rediscover” ancient wisdom. This is also what struck me when I learnt about the Aboriginals. These people had been practicing sustainability (such a buzzword today) for more than 20000 years!

      2013/1/9 Disqus

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