Last weekend my family and I had the pleasure of lunching with some expatriate friends we don’t get to see that often – they are back in the UK between assignments and waiting for the green light to go to Egypt for a two year secondment. They are the kind of people I always feel ‘home’ with. We seem to have an understanding about each other’s lives and experiences which is very comforting – we don’t have explain, justify or reason our decisions to live in different countries. There’s a knowing and acceptance between us.
Like us they have a young family with various needs to meet, a busy pressured job and live with lots of uncertainty (when will the next assignment start? Will some of the project be completed in the UK? What will the uplift package be? Where will we be based? Etc). Sound familiar?
I’m going out on a limb here but it is my opinion that for the great majority of people, this would create untold anxiety and stress that would simply be unacceptable and completely freak out the greater part of society. However, the energy of this couple is one of serene excitement, a kind of ‘que sera, sera’ positivity, which got me to thinking – what is it that makes Expatriates, like our friends, so different? What qualities do they possess that allows them to seek out, enjoy and thrive even in difficult foreign environments?
If we are to succeed in what could become ever-increasingly challenging countries and environments what are these qualities we have within ourselves that we need to nurture, develop and grow? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter. In the meantime I’ll leave you with this short (fun) exercise:
- Without thinking about it too hard, write down 20 answers to the following question: “If life were without limits and money/time were no object, where you are right now geographically and at this moment in your life, what opportunities are available to you?” Don’t analyse, don’t criticise, just write.
- What surprises you about this? Feel free to share your answers and thoughts with me below or if you would prefer privately, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a wonderful week, wherever you are, with love and respect, Amanda.