It’s a common experience. You arrived in your new country full of enthusiasm, or at least good intentions. But six months in, you’ve found that it’s harder than you thought to get past the initial stages of language learning. You’ve found, too, that English is perfectly sufficient to get by, both with the locals who all seem to speak it fine (or at least passably), and within the expat community: you have Anglophone removal men, doctors, cleaners. Your children go to international schools. Your friends are also strangers in this foreign land, and English is the common language between you.
Everyone wants to keep a tidy home. Having your living spaces clean and organized is about more than presenting a good looking home to visitors and family. It's also about living your best life. When your spaces are cluttered with junk, stress accumulates in your mind to match it. If you find yourself feeling anxious, it might be because your home is a mess.
Once a foreigner, always a foreigner. I learned that the hard way. Traveling is transformative, in the sense that it puts you squarely in the fire of transformation. That fire burns away everything that you are not, and within the ash remains only what and who you truly are. I’ve had the incredible experience of getting to travel the seven seas, seeking all manner of things-temples, languages, food and much more, but the only thing I ended up truly finding was myself. For me, deciding to leave home and move to the People’s Republic of China was me a no brainer, however returning home a six years later was not just a difficult decision to make but it was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life.
In 2017, our lives changed forever. We both signed up for something that we really weren't sure of; a student exchange. We were still young, 13 years old for that matter, when we signed up to go and live with another family in another country in another continent for 2 months. It's crazy because at that age, nobody is thinking about that kind of stuff. Leaving your parents for that long of a time, travelling alone on a plane, going to school in a country where a completely different language is spoken and living with practical strangers for a month.... sounds like the ultimate recipe for disaster! It's something so many people have the opportunity to do but one that only a few actually take. The experience itself is intimidating, amazing, scary, fulfilling, frustrating, satisfying all at the same time. There are no words to describe it but there's also no guarantee that the whole experience will be a good one. That slim possibility is what scares everyone off.