Hello dear Travelers!
This time I would like to share with YOU one story from the train and how to become a happy expat.
5 months ago I happened to overhear a conversation between 2 strangers in the train on the way to Genova – a Japanese girl with her boyfriend. He started a pretty strange conversation about the different size of men across the various countries. This topic definitely got my attention, because this is not exactly a typical conversation you hear on a train. So I was hiding behind my sun glasses, it is pretty silly wearing them in the train anyway but for spying it is just perfect! But this time my eyes almost popped out with surprise. What kind of conversation had I actually been witnessing. I was glad no one could see my face. I had no chance to dive into his deep philosophical thoughts (if there were any).
This pretty bizarre dialog ended in a huge fight. After that, he got upset and walked out. I walked right up to the Japanese girl and said, that she should find a better boyfriend. All what she said was: “Really? That’s what I thought! Thank YOU for telling me! I think the same and I am glad YOU see it as well! ” To be honest, this reaction surprised me even more! 😀
When I got to my Italian school in Genova, who was my new class mate?LOL!
And here I am 5 months later, sitting in my fab coffee place in my little village and I see a girl sitting nearby. I was thinking her face looks a bit familiar to me like I had seen her before. I couldn’t believe my eyes – at the table next to me was the same girl, the girl from the train. The world really is an incredibly small place! Even more shocking – she lives in the same village as me! 😛
Anyway we had an amazing conversation about an expat life. We both agreed that settling down in a new country, when you have no contacts, no friends and entering a new environment only for your boyfriend or job is really, really hard.
We both agreed on experiencing ups and downs during our years in Italy. And in the first part of our stay, because of the lack of friends and contacts it was an incredible lonely time and we were forced to start enjoying our own being. Nothing more important than learning to be happy just alone. But I can tell YOU that – it was very long process for me. When I came here, I spent many days sitting alone on the beach, wishing for some girlfriend to go for a swim with. My options were pretty limited. It took me a long time to be able to create my circle of friends, my little comfort zone, the kind of life, we all are taking for granted day after day. Sometimes it is very hard to come to a foreign country. Now I am feeling happy, also my new Japanese expat friend feels pretty alright by now even though she didn’t break up with that Norwegian guy. But sometimes people are just scared of change. The insecurity of our being….taking the walk to the edge of all the lights and stepping into the darkness of the unknown.
The rules of being a happy expat:
1. FIND an expat FRIENDS: Meetup, Counchsurfing, Facebook group like Expat in Italy . There is an English-Italian aperitivo happening in every big city in Italy, and while i was staying in Brussels, even there I found my little Italian world filled with like-minded people, always happy to go out.
2. Be OPEN to NEW Things | Experiences- step out of your comfort zone by trying new things. Make trips, find everything whats going on in your new neighbours = be always curious and learn.
3. TALK to an ITALIAN strangers – all the time have a little tinny Italian chick chat – they call it a “piccola chiacherata”, there is never too much of little chat in one day 🙂 I love that everyone knows YOU, they talking to YOU, they advice YOU. Today I went to the market – bought veg and fruits and I spoke to everyone. They even gave me a free melon or other fruits, strawberries for my bday and they are always happy to share with me their Italian receipt if I ask. So speak – but speak about nice things, moaning and complaining in front of Italian isn’t they way of living. so don’t! YOU need to become part of their culture. Happily accept their habits as your own.
4. FOOD – learn to eat slowly and enjoy each bite! Get used to Italian way of seasonal veg and fruits and fishes ans sea food…and very late and long dinners.
5. LEARN the Language – well try your best! As more YOU learn, as easily YOU fit in.
6. SEARCH YOUR SOUL and SELF-AWARNESS: This point is the most important in the way of becoming a happy expat – from the time of having NO soul to talk to, being all by yourself and having endless time to search your soul, you finally got to know yourself. By now after few years living in a completely new environment YOU know, who are YOU. So hallelujah! Finally this self-awareness arrived and made everything just fine! I finally had a chance to get into my feelings and realizations. So here I was, ready to just enjoy the ride.
7. BE Kind – YES! But the kindness will come along with all those things. Because for me the most important was to bring me to my own happy place. Where every life animal or human is welcome ( a part of mosquitos 🙂 lol ) but I can pretty well make it on my own. Because there is no-one who will make us happy, if we are not able to be happy alone. So from this point of realization, no matter what my life will bring me or not, that’s why I am trying to live simply happy.
Would YOU like to share your story how YOU became a happy expat?
Comment bellow to share. Thank YOU! With Love, Zuzi