Posts tagged Loneliness
The Top 4 Stressors in Expat Life, and What to Do

I stepped off a plane into the summer heat of Casablanca, Morocco with my two boys (3 and 5 years old). It was August of 1997. My boss and his welcome committee all ended up on vacation the week we arrived. 

“That’s ok, we can do this!”

We were excited for the adventure before us and easily sloughed off getting lost in a taxi with no cell phone. We didn’t get outwardly frustrated trying to find food in a store where we couldn’t read the labels. Even trying to find our own housing with no native English speaker to help was ok . . . for about a month. 

We started off with the honeymoon (link to culture shock graphic) excitement and joy that you may remember. But over time, the stress of cross-cultural living settled in, and we began to carry around the weight of it. Now, after all these years, we not only can look back and identify the stress we faced, but we can more easily see it in the new people that arrive each year. 

So what are the common stressors we see? 

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How to Invite Someone to Tell Their Story

We all have stories to tell! Sometimes, we have fun adventures that take place in our daily life. Other times, we have tough stories that unfold over the course of our work and school days—even over our years.

Some stories are easier to tell than others. Some people tell their stories naturally, and others need to be encouraged to share.

Some need to be invited to share.

One of our favorite family dinner questions leads to great table conversations with our children. We begin with two simple questions, “What was the best part of your day? What was the hardest part of your day?” Then, we move around the table, each telling the tales of our day. As a result of these two simple questions, we have heard some really funny stories . . . and some really gut-wrenching ones.

What can we do to invite someone to share their story?

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Finding Friends in the Desert of Life

verywhere I look, people are together—together with their families, together with their friends, together with their neighbors. Mothers and daughters shop together at the market. Parents with their children play together on the beach. Friends hang out together in cafés, and neighbors sit together in front of their door talking, laughing, and sipping mint tea.

I sit alone.

My family lives on the other side of the world. I have some expat friends who work with me, but they are busy with their own families and their own lives. I keep trying to build relationships with my national friends, but it’s so hard to build trust and deep connection in a foreign language.

I feel alone.

For those of us who feel isolated and alone, how can we find friends to connect with—especially when living in a foreign land with multiple layers of language and cultural barriers?

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Lonely? What to Do to Combat the Emptiness

I have just recently started to feel like I’m catching a glimpse of the “other side” of my loneliness . . . after six long months here in my native-born country. My heart has been aching with loneliness . . .

These are the same feelings I experience every time I land overseas. These feelings seem to follow me wherever I go.

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