Expatriate Life – New Beginnings

A Wonderous Yet Difficult Time.

You’ve finally arrived in Paris, and have a new home. You smile with delight when you first spot the Eiffel Tower twinkling at night. You are full of desire of exploration and wonderment at this beautiful new home town – Paris! The honeymoon phase of living in Paris begins.

Relocating to another country and culture can be exciting and daunting all at once. It is even more stress invoking if the new country uses a language you do not know. Depending on the circumstances of your move, typically there will be a honeymoon phase. This is a time of great delight, motivation to learn the language and enthusiasm to see and experience all of what there is.

Paris, also called ‘The City of Light’, and well known as the city of love, magical beauty and baguettes while bustling with a quiet energy ready for you to explore, can at some point become dull, grey, lonely and a chore!

Yes, you are now feeling unhappy, low, insecure, and not sure what is right or wrong. The long dark days, or even bright long days, takes its toll and you find yourself having trouble creating and maintaining a rhythm of daily life - the “honeymoon” phase is finished. You have landed in the face of French bureaucracy, not enough language skills and perhaps no French speaking friends at hand to help you out. Thankfully for many, there are relocation companies employed to help you wade through the initial challenges of finding and securing a new home and the myriad of paperwork that comes with it. But, for many others they begin alone.

For most, living and/or working in a new culture requires a period of adjustment. One may experience frustration and the humbling experience of not being able to express ones’ self as freely and fluently as in your native language. It is common to feel irritated and misunderstood, or just out of place as you move around the intricacies of social norms not yet known. At times one may experience periods of intense introspection that may lead some to question where they fit into this new culture. All the while your usual social supports are far away in a land not forgotten.

It may be you experience parts of your personality not so welcome or that just don’t fit your new city, At the same time, you may find other parts of yourself are awoken. Perhaps you just yearn to experience parts of yourself not yet explored.

A new location will have you question many things about yourself and test all relationships both near and far. Confusion, low moods, uncertainty of self and lack of confidence can soon hinder you.  You may have noticed your family members seem different. Yet, in their own way they are experiencing the challenges of the change and are also trying to put the pieces together.

It is important that these experiences are processed and understood to help you experience greater confidence and find direction in your new world. You are on an exciting journey with a great opportunity for new experiences, new goals, to learn more about yourself and a new culture and language.

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