The Expat Triumph’s over the Dark Side

I wrote this post a couple days ago. This bit inspired the Yoda Quotes post that I have now made a page. Honestly, those quotes are universal, and can be used to inspire anyone. Anyway, on with today’s blog…

Over time, I have realized, I become needy at times. I turned into the girl who is looking for expat friends to have those connecting conversations. Expat isolation, strikes again. But like the Empire, I strike back. in time.

Like in Star Wars, it takes time for the plot to unfold.

A sick kind of desire overwhelms me, I am looking for that kind understanding that only an expat can have, no matter where they are from. The force within me weakens and I am vulnerable to the “dark side”.

However, since I am from a small town, I am not in reach of anyone nearby that I can have a conversation with locally. That creates a loneliness that can create a stranger in me. It can be the stimulus for the expat depression I wrote about yesterday.

I have always wanted to be that friendly inviting person that makes others feel comfortable. (I get that from my Mom. “Thanks Mom!”) But with this unusual longing, I have become less of that inviting “Little Miss Sunshine” friendly girl and more of the Eeyore dreary type. The clingy, needy, SWF type person who is looking for friends. Anyone who understands. Not a very attractive side, I admit.

I don’t like this me. She does not often emerge, but when she does, I know I need help. Fortunately, I can help myself. I have developed strategies and employ them regularly.

This neediness is a side effect of the Expat Blues I wrote about and cast away yesterday. As a result, I had a stellar day.

If you see that side of you becoming dominant, it takes a bit of effort, but being positive and determined can make all the difference in the world. Do not be a victim of the Syth lord. Stay strong.

Yesterday started out so glum, and I turned it around with being Thankful. Then, I had some setbacks. I could have let them color my day dark… I stopped myself and decided to put a positive spin on it. That made all the difference in the world.

I am still smiling at the turn in the road I made. Triumph! The Force was strong with me today. And I learn from my victories as well as my mistakes.

Sometimes the dreary days are too much for us or circumstances are not as easy to change. But just remember, time changes things. With enough effort, choosing to be happy, or finding the bright side you will change yourself! You can become a beacon for others to bring them out of the darkness that overtakes them.

In this ongoing struggle, you never know what kind of cool intergalactic friends you will make along the way. Maybe you will meet them in a time of need. Yours or theirs. reach out. Hopefully not too much translation will be needed. 😉

You will be stronger and braver in the long run.  The need to cling to others in that not parasitical way diminishes.  I still want to share my experiences with other expats and have that long talk over coffee, but the dark longing that is accompanied by bitching and complaining is gone.

A healthier psychological outlook has come again. Optimism is back and I am me again. This is an ongoing struggle. But each challenge is as real as each victory we have.  The choices we make shape our lives. Choose to be positive create a bright outlook for yourself and others.

Here are some songs that can help you with a brighter outlook on life:

 

 

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Yoda Quotes for the Expat Soul

There is so much truth and so much to learn from the great Star wars movies. Just as I was writing another post, I realized just how much I could transfer into my life as an expat. Most of the characters are expats there, and are learning to cope on new planets. (I know we feel that way sometimes.)

Going for the real wisdom, I decided to write a post on the insights of the little green guy we all know and love.  Thank you Yoda for all this goodness.

“You must unlearn what you have learned.” 

Rule number one of expat life! When moving to another culture, almost nothing is the same, the way you think must change to accommodate the new truths.

“Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.”

You must acclimate. You came here for change, a new start, a new job, a new life, a great adventure. Do what you meant to do or go home.

“Named must your fear be, banish it if you can.”

Sometimes we are so overwhelmed with all the changes,we cannot name what it is that is overtaking us. Find some quiet time, meditate, and riddle out what that fear is. And do what you can to overcome.

“Already know, that which you need.” 

We know our basic needs, find a way to meet them. That is often a challenge in the expat world. But with perseverance, time, and some help, you can find what you need. Sometimes we even learn to create it ourselves. That inspires more self-confidence. What a Win/Win!!

“Fear is the path to the dark side, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate. Hate is the path to the dark side.”

Fearing the change, the different, the challenges is only going to weaken you. Make you vulnerable. Muster the courage to face your fears or you will be taken by the dark side. Expat depression is the evil we all battle. Becoming bitter and angry as a result is the equivalent of going to the dark side.

“To be a jedi is to face the truth and choose. Give off light or darkness, padawan. Be a candle or the night.” 

This is the fight we all fight. In our times of darkness, we make a choice. Choosing the light may be hard, but it makes a better world for all of us.

“Calm you shall keep, carry on you must.”

Even in trying times, when the rug is pulled out from under you and you don’t know which way is up, keep calm and carry on.

“If no mistake you have made, losing you are. A different game you should play.”

In the expat game, it is inevitable to make mistakes. We learn large lessons from them. We are humbled, and wizened. We become stronger and better for the next lesson. It is just around the corner. If you aren’t making mistakes you need to get out and make some! They make for great stories later in life and great blog posts now! 😉

“Much to learn you still have my old padawan… This is just the beginning.”

The learning curve is constant. Once we overcome one thing, we have not finished. We have never arrived. What would be the fun in that? This is an exciting adventure. When you are tired, get some rest and be ready for the next lesson.

Dobar Dan Y’all! and may the force be with you!

 

 

 

Giving Thanks to beat the Expat Blues

In just a couple of weeks, the American Thanksgiving holiday will be here. This post is about giving Thanks for what I have… and to kick my Negative Nancy into a Sunshine Sally.

I know how lucky I am to be living in Europe. The ultimate trip. Living abroad! I am Thankful I do not just dream about going somewhere, I actually have!  Now, I just have to deal with the repercussions of the big move!

I am thankful for this Blog!  It is a place where I can come to say anything. This is my therapists couch and my clay on a wheel. The end product may end up looking like my second grade clay bowl, but it is mine. and I love it!

I noticed today, as I talked with my two closest friends, I was being overly critical, judgmental, and negative. It happens often when I feel myself getting depressed. It is the kind of expat depression that doesn’t last long, but can feel like an eternity at the time.

Expat Blues before a holiday or at anytime is not out the norm. I just Googled “expat depression” and a slew of sites popped up, But first as I was typing in my search words it offered more… expat depression China, Germany, and so on.
I have heard of Beijing Blues, and having a Shanglow day in Shanghai. I would add Balkan Blues or Serbian Sadness. It happens and you just have to find your way out of the jungle and move on, knowing that you do love this place, just not all the time.

I am Thankful that the internet lets us commiserate. Knowing you are not alone is comforting.

I am Thankful that I get to work in Nature! For numerous reasons the great out doors is home. When I am in the fields, I don’t feel judged. I am able to just be me, breathe the fresh air and enjoy God’s creation. Usually, I am getting a great workout at the same time.

Incidentally, getting out of the house and working out are the too many things that kick expat depression in the rear. I am Thankful that I get to do that often!

It is when I come back to town, I feel like an alien. I feel that I just don’t fit in here. And as I just read in Sunny Sanguinity, ” I don’t always want to be different. But I want to be me.”

I don’t always mind being that stranger, sometimes I relish it. I am Thankful that being different isn’t always bad. 

I am Thankful for the internet! I can message people online and skype! Hallelujah! I need to do that!

I am Thankful for my Family. All of them! I am a lucky girl to have so many loved ones.

I am Thankful for Friends! I love you all! Thanks for being there for me.

Ok, I need to go back to bed… T minus three hours till I get up… I am Thankful Munchkin goes to preschool!  

I am Thankful that I get to go cuddle with my hubby and little one in a King size bed!

I am Thankful that writing this post lifted my spirits and I feel at peace! See, being Thankful helps!!!!!!

 

Dear Diary March 7, 2013

This is my life right now.

I am feeling at a loss. I feel the need to have a job. The projects are great. I get a sense of accomplishment from them. But, I am not doing something that propels the family forward.  I don’t have a job that brings in income. and any idea of a job or company that I could start is illusive.

I cannot blame this on PMS. Sometimes I have to wait til that has passed to see clearly, but this is as clearly as I get. At times, I put off posting because I am chemically or hormonally imbalanced.

What is the source of this Eeyore day?

Maybe it is because I FINALLY met another American this week, and he has a purpose here beyond his little girl and Serbian wife.

Maybe it is because I feel I made a complete idiot of myself last night while we had some family members. Conversing in English and Serbian is exhausting, confusing, and I make some ridiculous mistakes. Mistakes that make me feel like I am back in Jr High again.

Maybe it is because the Munchkin is Fussy, like all the time. Or because the Muz is going to work in the village. I feel guilty for not joining him like I did before the little one came along.

Obviously, taking care of little M is productive. just not the kind that adds monetary gain… rather the opposite. Helloo diapers! Come on potty training!

AND How is it that she is pooping more and eating less? The input output just doesn’t make sense!

an added bonus to my day…I think she has discovered that whining is a good tool to get attention.  Maybe that is what I am doing now.

Discouragement comes in all sorts of forms. As an expat, they are sometimes devastating. Trying to buy things for friends is a huge source of downheartedness. Here it is so hard to find things that are good quality. but here good quality is  not only illusive but super expensive. And culturally, something I think would be a good present, may seem really silly here.

The plight of stray animals  is a constant source of sadness. Every time I take a walk outside I am dismayed by the homeless animals, skittish from abuse from humans. They scrounge dumpsters for food do their best to avoid becoming the meal of a larger, stronger animal. Listening to the screams of these animals at night while they fight with one another adds weight to my heart.

So many other things add to my sometimes silly, yet all to real woes. Often hiding in the strangest corners just waiting for me to stumble upon them. But then, they pass. Thank God!

I know that Mentally sunny days are just around the corner. They always are. But my down days always seem much lower here in this big strange land.

If I can…I just need to take a break, then give myself a strong kick in the arse. Remind myself how lucky I am to have a good life and family. Then do something fun or productive.  and that is just what I have done today.  I wrote down my feelings then moved onto some projects that needed to be completed.

Enough whining, onto a new food like for myself, Carmelino! For those of you unfamiliar, it is a baby cereal. Millie doesn’t even like it as much as I do! For the first time, I must remind myself it is her breakfast not mine.
Dobar dan