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Every year the same but completely different

It's coming to that time of year for expat transitions. If you are an expat you might be:

- on the move,

- attending the leaving parties of your friends who are on the move,

- travelling for summer and figuring out how that is going to work,

- or perhaps thinking that in one year it will be time to move again.

For me, as a repatriate, it marks a year since we were living out of suitcases, sleeping on mattresses on the floor and ticking off the massive moving 'to-do' list.

It is also one year on from the epic garage sale / night market. My friend and I spent a day and evening selling our belongings from her garage in 40 degree heat.

It was one of the most memorable and hilarious episodes of our expatriate time together.

I wanted to use this blog as a reminder of the Expat Lifecycle (as shown in the image above). It shows a scale of Wellbeing of Expat / Absence of Stress against Time in Months. It shows the ups and downs of expat life with a guideline of the timescale that you might expect in a typical expatriation including the honeymoon period, culture shock and the period during which life starts to feel more manageable.

It is important to notice is that it is a repeatable cycle. No matter how often you expatriate - though you might learn more about what you personally need to quickly adjust to your new phase - you will still be triggered and you will still go through a period of transition that is likely to follow these ups and downs. Notice how the lifecycle runs from 6 months before you arrive in your new location and begins again with repatriation or preparation for a new assignment. Notice that during the lifecycle there are uncertainties and changes.

Take care of yourself and others during these times. Think about what you need and what those who are with you need. What do you need emotionally? What do you need physically? What do you need mentally? What are your triggers and how do you notice them? What can you do about them when you notice them? What have you learned that you can take with you? What do you want to leave behind? What are the strengths you can rely upon to move you forward? What support do you need? What can you put in place now that will set you up to succeed in your next phase?

This summer, reflect a little amid the 'to-do' lists by considering these questions, take care and enjoy the ride :).

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