THE CONSTANT TRAVELLER OUR DYNAMIC, MULTICULTURAL, INTERNATIONAL LIVES MAKE CHANGE A CONSTANT. WE ARE ON THE MOVE, TRANSITIONING, AND LIVING, IN BETWEEN CULTURES, HOME COUNTRIES, LANGUAGES, IDENTITIES. EVERY NEW MOVE OPENS A FLOOD GATE OF EXPERIENCES AND CHANGES US. PHOTOGRAPHS ISTOCKPHOTO
TEXT KATHY BORYS SIDDIQUI
KATHY BORYS SIDDIQUI FOUNDER, ACTIVE ACTION Kathy was born in Poznań, Poland and has lived in four countries and on two continents. Growing up as an immigrant and a cross cultural child she was able to discover a multicultural world that shaped her into the person she is today. As an adult she ex-
HAVE YOU EVER noticed people "back home" saying to you with an undertone of negativity "You have changed"? Do you feel that it is difficult to pinpoint the place where you belong? The home country feels less homey and the host country is still not homey enough. Living as an International means that the way we change is much more visible to the people in our home country. Why? Because our change stands out and it tends not to fit the standard mould. For those that live in their home country fulltime and travel abroad on vacations once in a while, change is not as visible as it is when a family member who lives abroad comes back home. The differences are undeniable, from the way people dress, behave, down to a change in their core values. As Internationals we submerse ourselves in a host country. Of course, a lot depends on who makes up the closest circle. Some Internationals live in the "Expat bubble” while others are very closely connected to their countrymen, and others dive into the host country culture to get as much out of their experience as possible. Bottom line, no matter which way you go, living abroad will change you and you will not be the same person you were when you arrived. So, let's talk about change. Some embrace it, and others try to avoid it. For many, change is scary, it symbolises a shift, an upheaval in our lives. It means that life as we know it will be altered. Changes force us to embrace the positives and the negatives. When a new opportunity arises we have to pack up and get ready to start all over.
STARTING OVER AGAIN… Always in between homes, languages, cultures, family, friends, and emotions. Starting over means we have to pack our life up, say goodbyes, learn to let go and get ready to rebuild our lives in a new place. Relationships such as family ties, friends, and networks, can all be put to the test. As Internationals we
JUNE 2019 - WWW.THE-INTL.COM
perienced life as a re-pat as well as an expat and she is not a stranger to the challenges and opportunities that life are of-ten putting ourselves out there when we try to make friends. Finding new friends when you have a fami-ly and are in your 30’s or 40’s can be a challenge. That is also when feelings of nostalgia and grief can emerge. When we move we have to let go of places and people we love. The relationships can continue - thanks to virtual connections - but it is not the same. We will miss out on birthday parties, baby showers, dinners, picnics and BBQ’s. Author Brene Brown puts it so well "we can't heal if we can't grieve". It is vital to take time to grieve our losses in order to move on. It is a process that can be painful but necessary to consciously enter into fulfilling relationships.
THE MOVERS AND THE SHAKERS How come some Internationals cope well when it comes to change? Is it because they have gone through it so many times? Can they adapt so easily? Being an International is being forever in transition and on a journey - physically, emotionally, or both. With experience, we can tame our feelings regarding the change.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS: An Action Plan: Listing what you would like to achieve for yourself during this move is a start. One of the most important aspects of living abroad is that everyone gains from it. Tapping into our wants and desires is a must. Making an action plan and reaching out to people to start building a network before the plane takes off the runway is a way to feel more grounded. Commit to a Habit: Creating rituals are a staple for Internationals. Journaling in the morning, a cup of tea in the afternoon, regular exercise, whatever brings you joy. The movers and the shakers are go-getters, they are the architects of their lives, they are bold and act. Go on, embrace change and shake things up. THE-INTL
abroad offers. Just when she least expected it, she met her Danish husband and once again packed her life in boxes and set off to live the happily-ever-after life in the land of the Vikings and Hygge. Over the span of 10 years she has lived on Fyn, in Jylland and currently in Nordsjælland. Kathy has a background in Cultural Studies and also a degree in American Studies. She has been able to combine her passion and profession as a Cultural Transition and Expat Spouse and Partner Specialist at Active Action. A firm believer that if you are lacking something - create it. She is the founder of two International Mom Groups in Denmark, a running enthusiast, active lifestyle advocate, wife and mom. www.activeaction.dk email@example.com