Thursday, April 25, 2013

Finding a New Normal

I think one of the hardest parts of becoming an expat is finding a new normal. Everything in your life changes
as an expat spouse, at least it did for me. I went from working a lot outside the home to becoming a stay at home mom, literally overnight.  This is an adjustment for anyone, let alone then move half way around the world.  I heard somewhere that depression normally kicks in at 3 months, or for 3 months, I've passed the 3 month mark without a melt down, so I hope that doesn't mean I'm in line for a 3 month depression.

The other part of the equation is habits, everyone has habits, things they are used to doing a certain way. All that changes.  What you are used to eating for breakfast, where you buy your food, how you get your kids to school, not a single thing for me stayed the same.  We had to find new ways of doing our daily tasks and activities.

Engaging with the expat community, I think, is the most important step. Finding other people, like you, who are going through the same thing. Or even better, who are seasoned pros.  Making sure you put yourself out there to meet new people and finding things to do. Socializing is imperative if you want to adjust quickly and with as little stress as possible.

I'm not going to say it is easy. Especially when dealing with a language and cultural barrier as different as Chinese versus American, but some days you just have to laugh to keep from crying.  Some days you just sit in your house and wonder what in the world you are doing. But, most days you are thankful for the opportunities your family has been given and make the best out of every situation.  A new normal is the best way I can describe where I'm at in my life. It isn't better or worse, it is just different and I've embraced it.

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