Monday, January 26, 2015

5 things I learned from living abroad

The other day someone asked me if the experience of living in another country taught me not be afraid to try new things, and I realized that's not true for me. It's the other way around: was my experimenting mindset that helped me to live better in a new country. But then, I got trigged to list what moving has thought me so far. And here it is!

 1. To go with the flow
I am a planner kinda person, I enjoy giving myself deadlines for goals and personal projects... I'm still the same, but muuuuch more flexible now. And patient. When you move abroad culture differences play hard, and it is easy (and natural) in the beginning to be frustrated when it gets hard to make yourself clear, or figure service providers... or find your way back home. But if you are motivated and persistent to understand and accept your new environment, settlement become just a matter of time. For instance, once I stopped converting degrees and measurements, I finally invited them into my life - and found much more peace in my days.

2. Less is More
Moving twice made me learn to let go of things. I realized everything I need can always fit in two pieces of luggage. Okay, two large and compact suitcases but still! I have been always good donating what I don't wear or use... but giving away what I like, use, but can live without brought myself a different level of attachment.

3. But not always
Less is not more in communication. I learned this by trying make sure people understand me and vice-versa. That also means apologizing when my words come out wrong. Believe me it still saves me time and conflicts in the long run! Communication is a two way road, but we do have responsibility for what we say and how - don't forget. When I listened to people instead just reacting to their odd habits/ behavior/ perspective, I finally understood that we don't change to adjust to a culture... we learn to accept differences and THAT change us significantly. 

4. Love is a bridge
I'm always amazed of how time and distance don't matter for the heart. Of course, keeping relationships requires nurture... But more than that, intention. When I talk or meet my family and friends, I feel like I have never left. And perhaps that's because even when my nurturing fails, my feelings and intention never do. And eyes may not see, but hearts do.

5. Fashion and purchase behavior change, but style never
Seriously! In Brazil I find people much more fashion (brand) oriented than in the US. But also, it is not an easy job in Brazil to dress well finding quality clothing outside the bubble. I found liberating that in here there is no label pressure! Unless you are a fashionista, I think. But then that's not who I am - "Not my circus, not my monkeys". I can go to the grocery shop in sweat pants, and nobody cares. If I was to do the same in Brazil, I would be all the way hoping to not cross anybody I know! When I go to a party, people may say how beautiful my dress is, but rarely someone asks me the label. The lack of pressure changed my purchase habits drastically... But not my taste! I still catch myself looking for the same kind of clothes or cuts. Funny how certain things never change!

I hope my self-assessment makes you think about your victories too, ladies! Always celebrate!