Hi, I’m Sara Moreno. I came to Montreal from Miami, though originally from Columbia, in May 2007 with my husband, a nine month old baby and a pink umbrella stroller. This is my story and the story of the International Partner Project.
The ‘messy middle’
Having established two business’ in 15 years, and supported a number of other women entrepreneurs to get off the starting blocks, I’m all too familiar with the feeling of overwhelm that hits when we reach the ‘messy middle’ – the time when you’ve invested so much time and energy in to that new business idea that you can’t quit, but you’re not yet quite reaping the rewards of your efforts to feel that it’s ‘working’.
You have a few choices. You could quit or you could try these tips. They might just help you to get through to the other side, and to establish yourself as that global entrepreneur you’ve always dreamed of.
6 tips to limit overwhelm
Will we stay, or will we go? My mind is on overdrive trying to think through all the eventualities.
Is it worth the trip to the wholesalers to stock up on a 60 pack of toilet rolls (bathroom tissue if you’re North American reading this), or should i just pick up a 12 pack from the supermarket?
Should I enrol my son on to the hockey team, or is it unfair if I have to pull him from the team halfway through?
Should my daughter be sitting the high school exams so that she has a school place next year just in case we do stay on?
And so it goes on…..
These are the questions that run through my head when I can’t sleep at night (READ: every night)
Sounds silly maybe, but this the reality of not knowing where you are going to be living in 3 months time. A reality that faces many expats. In times of such uncertainty it can be hard to stay sane!
At this time of year there’s a lot of focus on setting your goals for the year ahead. Me included!
I agree wholeheartedly if we put a small amount of time in to thinking ahead and put some effort in now to plan for next year, it really can make a huge difference. Not just in how likely you are to put those plans in to action, but also as a way of minimising the feelings that come with the post holiday slump.
But what if you didn’t just set goals this year, but invested the time in defining your vision instead?
Many women don’t relocate for their own career, but follow a husband/partner abroad for his career development, whilst putting their own career on the back burner.
As the accompanying partner we invest all our energies in to recreating a home, settling our children and managing the expectations of the family and friends we leave behind. In fact, we do everything we can to ensure the transition is as smooth for everyone else as possible. We are the ultimate shock absorber!
What we often don’t do is take the time to think about our own transition. We underestimate the impact that the move to a different geographical location can have on us, and on our identity.
Do you take time to make resolutions every year? Are you convinced at the beginning of every year that this time you will definitely stick to them? You start off brilliantly, but by mid January your enthusiasm begins to wane, and by February you’ve realised it’s never going to happen! You link back in to your old habits, safe within your comfort zone, maybe a little frustrated?
Why don’t we keep resolutions?
There are many valid reasons why we don’t stick to our resolutions: a failure to prioritise, procrastination, burnout, lack of resources, time, consistency, confidence, motivation discipline. You name it.
Do you want it to be different for 2018? What if 2018 was the year that you not only created resolutions, but stuck to them and achieved your goals? What would that mean to you? How would that make you feel?
Without being a magical formula, 5 small changes can make a difference in 2018!
8 tips to help you navigate through the holidays with less drama!
Christmas is one of those occasions that weaves into our family stories. Where we recount to each other, “remember the year when … (insert antidote/drama)”
At this time of year you may be starting to feel stressed with the mere thought of travelling home for Christmas, anticipating the dramas! We may have lived away from home for years, have successful careers and our own kids, but somehow as soon as family gets together we regress to our past behaviours before we left ‘home’!
From your brother wondering why on earth you would risk starting your own business, or your mother criticising your outfit, or your father-in-law telling you you’ve put on weight, or the cousin who is always cooler than you, Christmas can sometimes feel like something to be endured rather than enjoyed.
If you’re anticipating your Christmas won’t not look quite like one in the movies, here are some tips to help you survive with your sanity intact!
Recently relocated? Feeling homesick? Want to know how to overcome it and quickly?
Last month, I ran a series of discussion workshops with a group of expat women, all of whom were accompanying partners. I started off the session by asking them to share their ‘relocating musts’.
Each of these women had struggled with homesickness, and yet all of them had found their own way to cope with this challenge of relocating and make the most of their expat experience.
From listening to these women, and others I have supported, I’ve compiled what I think are the very best ways to combat homesickness and start feeling at home in your new environment, quickly.
If you’re struggling with homesickness, take a look at these ideas. I hope there’s at least one strategy here that talks to you, and you can put it in to action today. Let me know how you get on….
Making friends is one of the challenges of relocating and is a common cause of stress among expats. Some expats are reluctant to make the effort to make friends because of the emotional upheaval of having to say goodbye. Others find it intimidating to meet new people.
Maybe you’re considering relocating, but uncertain if the benefits will outweigh the hassle? Perhaps your partner has been offered their dream job, but you’re not sure what’s in it for you?
Learning the language may not be a top priority for you when you relocate. There is so much else to do particularly in those early weeks and months.
However, as expats Dawn and Kate discovered, not knowing the language can be a huge barrier to integration and leave us feeling isolated in our new communities.
“The language barrier here [in Montreal] makes everyday tasks more challenging. It can lead to you feeling frustrated and like you’re failing to integrate in to your local neighbourhood” Dawn, UK Expat in Montreal *
“I found it difficult not to know how things worked when we first arrived. It seemed to take such a long time to organise activities for my children, like swimming lessons and skating lessons. The information on the internet was limited, and I was too scared to use the phone in case people expected me to speak French.” Kate, UK Expat in Montreal *
It’s that time of year again when many Expat families are moving on, and alot of those will be returning home. Tied in largely to the school year which ends in many places in the world in June/July and starts again in September. A time when my inbox fills with with requests from people wanting to know how they can avoid the pitfalls of returning home, and return not only happy but well.