I read a blog post the other day about being an expat. It made me sad. Because it described a person, trapped in a situation that not only he/she has created, but that also he/she can change, but did not have the power to or had not realised that he had the power. Because of fear? because of not wanting to sacrifice anything? because of many different reasons I guess.
I can say these things, because I ve been in this situation. But I came to know a few things.
I know that the minute I realised that I will not allow myself to feel splited amongst 2 places, I will not allow myself to be away from the people that I want to see growing, getting old and I will not allow myself to be far from contributing to a place through doing what I love, that is closer to my heart than any other place on the map, the decision was simple.
Yes, I was terrified. Yes, my salary fell to a fraction of what it used to be. Yes, I live – for now- back at my parents’. Yes, I don’t like many things around me, they piss me off. Yes, it takes me one hour every day to go to work. Yes, I face challenges at my work that I never thought of them before. Yes, sometimes I feel that I am not doing enough and many times I feel nostalgic…
But, I have made up my mind. This is the place I want to be. This is the place I am building a life, not just a career, around. And this feeling, Mr/Mrs Expat makes a big difference in my every day life. I am not talking about creating tangible commitments here, like buying a home, buying a car…I am talking about investing in creating relationships with people, who I will most probably grow old with, I am talking about integrating, living in the reality and not in a parallel one as a lot of times expat communities do.
I am not saying that everyone should return back home. I totally respect everyone’s decisions regarding this. But I feel sorry for noone being self-trapped in this. I only sympathize with people that are forced to leave their homes because of extreme situations, like my classmates in my German language school in Zurich, who came from Afghanistan and Eritrea and their single thought every day was to save their families back home, by bringing them to Europe.
My message is simple.
From heart to heart, if you are thinking to come back, overcome your fears and do what feels right for you. You will find your way. You found the way to move to a foreign country, get a job and live abroad for so long. Why not try this at home?
From heart to heart, if you are thinking of living, enjoy it to the fullest but look back. It is not just a matter of responsibility it is a matter of fulfilling your purpose. As a friend of mine told me once “There is a reason Petroula, why your soul chose to be born in Greece, on 8th of February 1983″…
From heart to heart, if you are already abroad, think well before you become trapped in a situation that you create. If you have made your decision of being abroad, try – it’s hard I know, but try- not to become a tourist in your own country.
From heart to heart, this is what makes my heart, my soul, my mind and my body truly peaceful and happy every day. This is my daily secret…