Friday, October 30, 2015

2 Days Left - Lessons I've Learned as an Expat

Little Sable Point, Sand Lake, MI

In our home countries, we have certain ways of doing things.  We become accustomed to the social norms of how things are done.  We have our personal bubble that we don't like invaded.  We drive a certain way, we stand in lines a certain way and we go to the bathroom a certain way.  

In many other countries the women cleaning the bathroom hang out in there, continually cleaning and waiting for a tip.  My husband told me that it took a long time for him to get comfortable with this.  It's just not the way we do things in our country.

It can be hard to hold your head high at times.  At home I have no problem knowing how much I need to pay when I buy groceries, but as I'm learning numbers I end up just holding out a palm full of change and letting the clerk pick through the money in my hand to find the right change.  Most of the situations I run into are small, insignificant things, but they point out to me how humbling life can be when your are thrown out of your comfort zone.  It just shows me how much our dignity is protected in our home country but how good it is to strip it away from time to time and learn that life goes on.

Most of the time these are just small situations but a few nights ago we were watching The Pursuit of Happiness where Will Smith's character actually becomes homeless at one point in the story.  Talk about your dignity being taken away.  But he made the best of it and continued to pursue his goal.  By the end of the movie he was on his way to becoming a successful stock trader.  

It doesn't matter if the challenge we are facing is little or big, we can overcome these hurdles and our dignity is more a pressure we put on ourselves rather than an actual barrier to success.

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