I would have never thought that one day I would have let my family move abroad without me and let my son start a new school without me being around.
For me, my most important role was to take care of my family.
It was so important to me that I quit my job so we could move abroad together as a family.
Our first move as a family was in 2002 to Lagos Nigeria.
Months before the move we went on a pre-assignment visit and met some lovely people when visiting our son’s new school and in the course of that week spent time getting to know them.
This was the pre-smart phone time, so I was staying in touch with the Lagos mums via email. They were seasoned expats and were already helping me in making sense of what to bring to Lagos and what not. So already at that point I was getting a lot of support from them, and I wasn’t even in Lagos yet!
Our plan was to travel to Lagos together after the summer holiday but at the beginning of July, I got into a massive car accident which resulted in me being in a cast for three months. This was my worst nightmare as I wasn’t able to take care of my family in the way I wanted to.
I felt like the worst mom ever and was certain that our son, who didn’t speak English at the time , would be traumatized for life if he had to go to Lagos without me.
As you can imagine we had a huge dilemma at the end of that summer.
After much pondering we decided to ask one of the mums if she could take care of our son after the school day for a few hours till my husband finished work.
There were no words for the gratitude and relief I felt when she said yes!
Although it was very difficult for me to be away from my family for so long and not be there at such an important moment, I am glad I had that experience as it made me aware of the importance of having a good support system and strong relationships in place before you move.
I am happy that I got to learn such a valuable lesson at such an early stage of our expatriate journey. It has been my mission ever since, to find ways to make those early connections.
This realization transformed me in such a way that I have been developing strategies ever since to be able to do just that!
Why I feel so passionate about it
It just breaks my heart when I talk to clients who feel isolated, lonely and not even motivated any more to try and create relationships after being in a country for a couple of years or even newly arrived.
The majority tell me that the main reason they haven’t created connections since their arrival is that, when they arrived, they felt overwhelmed with all that needed to be done for their family to have a smooth transition. They didn’t have the energy or time to invest in a new relationships and in what was important for themselves.
And that last point throws them into a negative spiral of loneliness and loss of self-esteem which makes it extremely difficult to go out there and make friends!
Hearing this and seeing the huge impact the lack of authentic relationships has on their wellbeing and on how they perceive the whole expatriation and transition, is why I am passionate about supporting others in creating meaningful relationships even before they move!!
Over to you!
After reading this post, what do you want to do, to start creating authentic connections? Take a peek at my tips
Are you ready to start reconnecting with yourself with my support? Don’t hesitate to reach out!
Let’s start your transformation today!