My Expat Experience, Five

Posted in SummerMy Expat Experience
My Expat Experience, Five

What I Wore

top BAUKJEN jeans BODEN sandals NEXT basket bag VINTAGE sunnies SIMILAR necklace c/o oNecklace

In the process of writing this post, oNecklace reached out to me to ask if I wanted a gorgeous keepsake to commemorate the time that I officially felt at ease in my new home. To transition, I had to truly enjoy and love with all my heart and that mindset has made me resilient and strong. I got my necklace engraved with ‘meraki’ meaning doing something with soul, creativity, or love — when you put “something of yourself” into what you’re doing. I think this process has really encapsulated the meaning of that.

I know, I know… it has been a long time since I posted the last expat series post. It’s been a very busy summer surprisingly and to be honest, the posts are REALLY draining to write. I usually am sat in my bed either late at night or super early in the morning, really struggling to contain my emotions as I write each post. I enjoyed sharing my expat experience as it seems like people were able to resonate with my experiences on different levels.

The main reason why I took a month break between the last one and this one is that I needed to mentally prepare myself for the new phase of the last few posts in this series. Up until now everything was very emotionally packed and the posts now have me trying to actively find the good in moving here. Confession: I used this series to actively get over sort of hating living in London and mentally prepare myself to call this place home. Don’t get me wrong, there are SO many pros living in London, but I hadn’t made that equation to determine if the cons outweighed the pros or not. Hope that makes sense.

So through the last month, I thought about the pivotal moments that really made me think that it was worth it. As I mentioned in my expat experience post about making friends in London, people make places to me. I had to alter this a bit and really open the doors to allowing other experiences and opportunities help make this place home. So here it goes…

My Expat Experience, Five
My Expat Experience, Five

Experiences

One of the first things I did was take all the negative experiences I’ve talked about in my previous posts (like dealing with a horrible Indian family, working with and understanding British people and figuring out where I stand in the Indian community in the UK) and started looking at them in a different light. What I was doing was looking in the past and sulking/feeling sorry for myself, but decided to see how well I persevered through it all. Once I changed into that mindset, I was feeling a lot more confident about my experience.

Figuring Out My Needs

When I came here, I just used it as a stopping point. I went into work and tried to ‘live’ my life rather than ‘build’ my life. London was at a different energy from the previous places I’ve lived in the world and so I needed to adapt. In the past, I didn’t really see the point of adapting because I didn’t see myself settling just yet, but this was going to be the end of a nomadic lifestyle for a bit. I wanted a place to go back to and this was going to have to be it.

I realized that I needed to figure out what I wanted and needed to enhance my life and live a fulfilled life at that. Some of those things included: love, security, commitment. I wanted to have something that is really nice and completely mine even if it was a bookshelf. I wanted to make friends that would take the place of my family. I wanted to have a home that felt like going back to at the end of the day. Working towards those things and looking back at the progress really helped and ensured that I was on the right path.

My Expat Experience, Five
My Expat Experience, Five

Meeting Kristabel

I’ve mentioned this on the blog before and even on some of my vlogs. I’ve even told her on countless occasions {and will continue to} and she usually looks at my quizzically… Meeting Kristabel has been a very big blessing for me. I was in the point of my life where I was hitting dead-ends meeting people that provided meaning and growth to my life. I wanted to blog, wanted to meet other women like me, wanted to be creative. At the time when I met her, I was feeling really sluggish about a lot of things regarding where I “stood” in daily life. My blog was at a stalemate position and I didn’t see any prospects for growing. I knew my blog was going to lead me to everything I just listed above because it’s an industry (maybe even community) of likeminded people.

Her guidance helped me hone my craft. After every shoot or meet-up, I felt inspired and took away a set of deliverables for myself. She passed on opportunities to me that she thought fit and the list goes on. Most importantly, she took me in like no one else really had. When I met her, I had gone and met way too many people over pints and coffees and making friends was becoming extremely exhausting. She gave me more than I was able to give her. I still use her as a resource and try to give back in every way I can, which seems insurmountable.

{She’s going to read this and tell me I’m crazy and look at me with her burrowed eyebrows and a head tilt whilst saying “whaaat…?” an octave higher than her usual tone}

Be Shameless

I was rather good at this because Americans tend to be chatty and loud. I was walk into a room and my American accent would stick out. I realized that it was probably a good thing as it made me unique in a lot of experiences. Be shameless: I literally, on every occasion, would speak to anyone and everyone. I would work the room and meet people, share a few of the coolest facts about me and hope to then enchant them enough to meet up. I would figure out what type of friend they were and went on from there. Just talk to people. If you’re nice, forthcoming and willing to listen—they’ll give the same back! You can read more about how I met people and made friends in my last expat post. It provides tangible information!

My Expat Experience, Five
My Expat Experience, Five
My Expat Experience, Five

My Grandmother’s Words

When my mom moved to the US after living in Mumbai for a long time, she went straight form a bustling city to a small very American town. I can’t even imagine her hardships. Snow for the first time, darkness, and lots of really big cultural extremes. She also moved to a country far from her parents and it was difficult to communicate with her own family back home for her. I remember even when I was 5 or 6 years old, she would write long letters on legal pads to her parents and family members. I can’t even imagine that life. I stress out when I don’t have wifi and my mom yells at me for not FaceTiming her 6 times a week even if it’s only for 30 seconds.

I asked my mom how she coped when she got to the US and she said that my grandmother (her mother-in-law) gave her the best advice. Not sure if you know, but my paternal grandmother had moved three countries at this point so she was a pro (and clearly international moves is in the family blood). My grandmother told her, “always respect the country that gives you the ability to feed your stomach. Love it like your mother and love it hard.” That resonated with me as I was growing a career in London, opportunities were rising, my company was flourishing—the city and country were giving me the chance to live and live a fulfilled life.

I have been really loving the experiences you all have been sharing when it comes to your moves and various chapters in life. Let’s keep the dialogue going as there is one last post that is a good one in just a few weeks.

My Expat Experience, Five