Sunday, April 20, 2014

An expat wife heartbeat

All I had was a husband overseas, confidence in my marriage, faith bureaucracy would protect us more than hurt - which means a lot for a Brazilian to say - plus a family asking if I was okay all the time. That was my life more or less a month before my arrival in Philly. Wanna learn what happened next?

Anxiety for me had its peek when I started filling out forms. Not when I had my flight booked. Not when packed. Neither when my luggage got lost (fine, maybe a little). As karma is a bitch, it turns out to fill out forms is a never ending story for expat wives!! From all I have heard, I realize when one thinks finally everything is sorted out, it's just about time to renew visa, licenses... the whole deal, again.

I knew until an expat wife adjusts to the change many challenges are faced everyday - from learn the way around and overpass language barriers to make friends, support family members to settle, and the list goes on. But I don't have kids yet. I also studied in Philadelphia in the past, and lived around long enough to have few language barriers and some friends. Have not experienced honeymoon or culture shock since I moved back, I had it before although. Yes, does make my ride little different - but in the end, we are all in the same boat. I'm learning my way as an expat wife, and this is brand new to me.

I have been trying to make new friends just like anyone else in my position; have met husband's coworkers, their wives, my next door neighbors, gym/ yoga buddies... Hoping to make some long lasting friendship along the way too. Being without friends might be hard to anyone, regardless of personal occupation - or lack of it!*

Home organization plus documents update consume a lot of my time still. However, nothing has been harder to cope than job grief. Anyone on the same page? I'm on a learning curb trying to make sense of how my family "team" function when only one teammate works. No, I'm not the head of the family, super intellectual, or irreplaceable in the business environment... True is: there is light inside me when I help people and organizations.

After some struggle (and yoga), clarity played its role: Learning where the missing bulb is turns possible focusing on alternatives that can offer same sort of light. This blog was born as part of my own solution (funny how design thinking process made me realize I was already half way done). But I still discover everyday how else I can add to it, making this light brighter. And anytime I forget my lights off, I remind myself that having a job never meant having a life.

I hope you, who are also going thro adjustments, take the time to find where your inner light shines best (there are many bulbs in each of us). Be busy nourishing it. It will help your heart beat in the same pace again.

Thanks for reading it!

*Expat wives have no permission to work (visa regulations vary by country). Many of us leave a career and become housewives, or experience a period as one until get work permit approval.