Good afternoon beautiful beings! It is a rainy day today, but rain brings cleansing and nourishment to my soul, so I am not complaining at all but grinning from ear to ear.
It is 28 January 15:37 p.m and this has been an exciting month. I have transitioned from being an ESL teacher to now being a Spanish student for the next 6 months. Even with my age and my professional background, learning a new language is always challenging when you are doing it for your next big step. When you might be putting too much pressure on yourself to excel because of your background and that people around you will assume and expect certain levels of something about you that is just is not who you are.
We are all leading different lives, at different paces with different goals in mind even though we are on the same path. That path is living our best lives, respectively. The following step has a few hidden treasures as well as traps so be advised, so that you can help yourself while living abroad.
Many of us are always in awe when we first meet foreigners. We all have these preconceived ideas of what a European might be or what an African might be and when we have these preset expectations ( or to me fabrications of ignorance), it could backfire on us if we are not careful. It can also pleasantly surprise us if we go at in from another avenue, the avenue I mostly prefer taking when I meet people from other nations. I simply give respect and kindness. I do have my wits about certain characteristics, but I don’t “blame” or ” reject” fellow expats if it turns out that we are not each others’ cups of tea.
Let’s get our glow on with STEP 7: The expat -effect. How others might view or receive us, vs. How we would like to be viewed or received.
- What we need to do first is realize that we are fresh meat, mysterious, a representation of our nation ( not only our ethnic backgrounds ), flavour of the season, a fantasy, a meal-ticket, a wallet, a cash cow, or a huge blessing ( which is what I resonate with right now ) our new environments. I am just keeping it realistic here. I am merely telling you what I know to be true through the lenses of others vantage points. Yes, we are mostly well received and treated like royal guests, but once you start to settle into a new society you will begin to notice some good things and some bad things about the expat -effect.
- Take what people initially say about your country of origin with a pinch of salt.They will say things like ” I thought there were only black people in Africa”. Then, I softly help them along by saying South Africa is a country on its own and that the continent Africa has 54 countries, of which I have only stopped over and saw some of Ethiopia. I have however met many people from almost all the countries of the continent Africa. Please do not take offense, this is not a personal attack or insult, some people just don’t know much about other countries. I still don’t know a lot but I always tell people, I don’t know much about your country, but I would love to know more. Sincerely and with interest. Culture is amazing. Others cultures are even more amazing when you get to experience it through the eyes of the people who come from it. Trust me.
- Being an expat will give you the upper hand in many aspects for the mere fact that you are now on an international scale, you bring something to the table that other people do not have and might not have heard of before. I, for example come from a multi-cultural country where we have 11 official languages, so I have a much better understanding of different ethnicities than someone who maybe is from a mono-linguistic country. I also have the gift of being able to relate to people from all walks of life, which is a valuable skill to have when you are thinking about a career in communications or teaching.
- The expat-effect will also unfortunately draw in the most undesirable characters who just are around you because you are a foreigner. Many, many, many people have these far fetched ideas about foreigners and how they are always bigger and better than their own nation. It is all about perspective. Foreigners are different. You might be a rich foreigner or come across rich foreigners who will have lots of money, but very little respect for the world around them. This is when the expat-effect gives a bad name to the rest of the kind-natured expats around the world. They will shave us with the same razor and might even take advantage of us, but what you put forth is what you will get out.
- The expat-effect should count in others’ favour. Why? Because you have an amazing opportunity to debunk all the nasty things that might be said about your nation. You can truly share a piece of your home with others. This is something I always had struggles with in the past. I could never get excited about sharing where I was from with others, because I was still dealing with an internal issue that I had related with my country in its entirety. Now, I am happy to share where I am from. My roots will always be in the motherland.
- So how do you make sure that you are received the way you would like to be? By moving in circles that serve you. I have no idea what your motives are for being abroad. If it is to glow and learn and explore then I have some advice for you. Meet people halfway. Say you are new to a different country and you need help with getting settled in. Meet people half way, they help you, you help them. Tit for tat. No more, no less. If it is to abuse, misuse and exploit another culture or country, I am afraid I can not and will not speak on that kind of path.
- The last micro step of STEP 7, is to always remember that you are fortunate to be welcomed into another nation. A place full of opportunities and lessons and blessings and challenges and other wonderful things. This place might activate your hidden talents as it has been activating mine. The expat- effect might be your key to the many spiritual doors that you have been wanting to unlock and never could, but now you can. So tread with mindfulness when taking this step.
If you would like me to explore any of the previous topics more please feel free to comment and I will do my best to share what I know and have been experiencing so far.
With Love and Light