Sunday, April 6, 2014

A self-conscious expat moment

After a few initial months in Philly you may find yourself thinking about how your new American life is. In the first two or three weeks of your stay, it might have still felt like being on vacation. Everything was completely new and very exciting. While you were going around the city to run all the necessary errands related to the documents, house contracts, bills, etc. you also had an opportunity to discover new sites and what’s more, to discover them from a resident, not a tourist, point of view. 

Then, of course, you were still busy organizing your new home or trying to figure out in what store you could find that exact thing which, on the other hand, you knew very well where to find in your home country. You were still busy exploring. I don’t mean saying that you will stop exploring at the certain point because you won’t. However you will get to the point when you won’t feel like on vacation any longer. You will start adjusting to your new life, running into your new routine of daily events. You will start realizing that your life is shaping slowly into something definite and it’s losing its initially blurry form. You still have a lot to do in terms of having your documents done or finding a job and a lot to discover around the city and the country but this is the moment you realize that you stopped being a complete allien and you turned to be a … hold on… who? A stranger in someone else’s country? A wife that simply followed her husband to his new job adventure? A full-time mother and housewife? Many questions may arouse and flood into your mind and you might as well start panicking… But this is exactly the moment you should take a deep breath and rethink about the stream of events in the last few months. This is the time you can rewind the events in your mind and make a sort of assesment. Getting over your past few months may help you realize the steps you have done to get where you are. There were a plenty of things to arrange and to get used to at the beginning. Now that you got all the things settled you can see all your little (or huge) personal successes and victories. It is extremely useful to keep track of all personal victories that occurred in the first months in your life in Philadelphia as it is a very self-rewarding way of recollecting the memories.  You will be proud of yourself and motivated at the same time to undertake new adventures and to grasp new opportunities. 

Did you come to Philly without being able to pronounce a single word in English and now you have new friends you can easily have a fluent conversation with? Did you only stay at home your first days being afraid of the big city or being shy when interacting with people who spoke different language and now you ride your bike downtown or have dinner with your neighbors? Were you once used to taking something out of the freezer, putting it to the microwave and calling it dinner while now you share your new recepies with your girlfriends AND it all tastes delicious? Was it always so hard for you to imagine yourself being a mom, running your household  and many other things at the same time while now it is becoming a reality? 

These are all huge personal victories and important changes in your life that might have not happened that rapidly in your home country. So just stop and rethink. Hold this moment and think about all new things that came into your life and all new things that are still about to come. Clear up your memories, maybe write them down in a diary so you could see the passages you have been going through recently. Enjoy the changes and stay open to everything new coming into your life...I am sure that you will only be able feel a great satisfaction and awareness for who you have become... :)