Mindful Expat Episode 13: Nurturing Love on the Move (With Guest: Oxana Holtmann)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Oxana Holtmann!

Oxana was born and grew up in the Siberian part of Russia. She has lived in Moscow, Germany, and now the United States, in Washington, DC. Oxana works as a Conscious Leadership and Relationship Coach, helping her clients nurture and strengthen their relationships, discover their creativity, and develop a sense of personal empowerment in their lives. She specializes in working with international or transnational people – people who may consider themselves “citizens of the world,” and who may call more than one place home. She is a Certified Professional Career Coach and she also has several other coaching certifications, including in relationship and leadership coaching. Oxana is also the founder of the Conscious Global Living Project, where she works to help people living global lives find a sense of “home” within themselves and nurture close, satisfying relationships even as they may be making frequent moves.

What you’ll learn in this episode:

• Some of the common challenges that expat partners face when they relocate together.
• How expat partners can avoid some common pitfalls and work to maintain a strong, loving connection in their relationship, even when they may be going through multiple moves on a regular basis.
• About some exciting research in the world of relationships — and what helps partners stay strong and connected even through challenging times.
• Some practical tips and strategies for nurturing our relationships on the move.  Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 12: Expat & Intercultural Relationships: Growing Together Through the Challenges

What you’ll learn in this episode:

• Some different contexts that expat or intercultural couples find themselves in and how these contexts can present unique challenges for relationships.
• Some of the most common challenges I see in expat and intercultural relationships (including some of my own experiences!).
• How open, non-defensive communication can help couples learn and grow together through the challenges rather than let them damage their relationships. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 11: Embracing Change & Going With the Flow

What you’ll learn in this episode:

• How change is an inevitable part of our lives — especially when we’re living abroad — and how accepting and even embracing change (rather than resisting it) can allow us to be happier.
• Some tips for learning how to accept and embrace change in your life — including practicing being fully present, recognizing that this too shall pass, welcoming change (or relaxing into it), practicing gratitude, and practicing self-compassion. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 10: Finding Community & Building Authentic Connections on the Move (with Guest: Naomi Hattaway)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Naomi Hattaway!

Naomi is from the United States (originally from Nebraska). She and her husband have 3 children, and together they have lived in New Delhi, India, and Singapore. They’ve now repatriated back to the US — first to Florida, then to Northern Virginia, and now to Columbus, Ohio.

Naomi is the founder of 8th & Home, a real estate and relocation company, where she specializes not only in helping families with the practical details of relocating, but also helps them find and build a true sense of community – where they can really thrive – in their new homes.

Naomi is also the founder of an amazing movement called, “I am a Triangle” (which was the helpful resource that Amel Derragui shared with us back in episode 6!). In 2013, Naomi wrote a blog post, entitled, “I am a Triangle and Other Tips for Repatriation,” where she wrote about her experience of living abroad and repatriating, using the shape of a triangle as a metaphor for her experience – saying that when we come from a country of squares and then we move to a country of circles, each of these experiences and cultures impacts us so that we eventually become a triangle – someone who may not completely fit in in either country. This article quickly went viral because it resonated with so many people, and Naomi has since built a community of fellow Triangles – people who may not feel as if they truly fit in either their passport countries or their host countries, but who find their sense of community and belonging with fellow Triangles.

What you’ll learn in this episode:

• About Naomi’s journey of living abroad and repatriating back to the US — and about some of the unique challenges of repatriation.
• How the “I am a Triangle” movement came to be and the wonderful benefits of connecting with fellow Triangles.
• How focusing on how we can be of service to a new community (rather than focusing on what the community can offer us) can offer a path to belonging in our new homes.
• The importance of vulnerability in allowing us to make authentic, meaningful connections.
• The importance of finding the right balance of in-person vs. online connections (which may be different for each person!). Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 9: The Wolf You Feed (aka Building Mental Habits)

What you’ll learn in this episode:

• About my experience at the Families in Global Transitions (FIGT) Conference last week.
• About the link between our thoughts and our feelings and some strategies for becoming more aware of automatic thoughts.
• The parable of the two wolves and how it can be a useful metaphor for thinking about the types of thoughts we’re cultivating in our lives.
• The importance of mental habits and cultivating habits that lead to the experiences we want to have (rather than those that make us feel distress). Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 8: Raising Resilient Third Culture Kids (TCKs) (with Guest: Josh Sandoz, MA, LMHC)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Josh Sandoz!

Josh is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) currently living and working in Seattle Washington (in the US), where he specializes in working with expats, repatriated expats, and Third Culture Kids (TCKs). Josh not only works with TCKs, but he actually is an adult TCK himself! Born in South Korea to foreign missionary parents, he grew up as part of a highly international community. He has worked for Interaction International – an organization geared toward TCKs and internationally mobile families – where he provided transition seminars for adolescent TCKs before becoming a therapist. Josh is also the person behind the International Therapist Directory, a wonderful website that he created as a way to help people around the world locate therapists who speak their own language and who are sensitive to some of the unique needs of people living abroad.

What you’ll learn in this episode:

• About Josh’s story of growing up in a highly international community and his continued involvement in working with globally mobile individuals and families as a therapist.
• What is a “Third Culture Kid” (TCK) and what are some of the characteristics of the TCK experience?
• Some of the common struggles — as well as gifts — of TCKs (and why it’s sometimes hard to think of these in a binary way).
• How parents raising children abroad can support their TCKs and help them develop emotional resilience as they grow up in and between cultures. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 7: Diving Deeper into Mindfulness & Balancing Acceptance with Change

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• A discussion of the different attitudes of mindfulness — beginner’s mind, non-judgment, acknowledgment, non-striving, letting be, self-reliance, and self-compassion.
• That acceptance and commitment to change and growth are not in opposition to one another and can, in fact, coexist.
• About my plans to attend the FIGT conference next week!
• A sneak peek at what’s coming up in next week’s episode.
Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 6: Reframing Our Challenges as Great Opportunities! (with Guest: Amel Derragui)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Amel Derragui!

Amel is the host of the amazing Tandem Nomads podcast, which is a wonderful resource for expat partners. An adult third culture kid (TCK) and expat partner herself, she has a wonderful, inspiring perspective on the unique challenges and opportunities faced by global nomads. Amel has built a portable career for herself as a freelance marketing and communications consultant, and she now helps other global nomad entrepreneurs develop businesses that feels satisfying and meaningful to them and that work for them in their lives abroad.

What you’ll hear in today’s episode:

• About Amel’s own journey as a third culture kid (TCK), expat partner, and global nomad entrepreneur.
• Some of the common challenges faced by expat partners — especially around issues of personal and professional identity.
• Amel’s philosophy of turning the challenges into great opportunities! (And some tips for how to make this mental shift.)
• The importance of routines and building structure into our lives abroad.
• The importance cultivating gratitude in our lives.
• The importance of expressing our appreciation for our partners (even about the small things). Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 5: Introduction to Culture Shock & the Expat (Emotional) Rollercoaster

What you’ll hear in this episode:
• A definition of “culture shock” and some of the ways it can manifest differently for different people.
• Some theoretical models of cultural adjustment, including various phases of adjustment that people may experience as they adapt to a new culture (and some of the limitations of these models).
• Some of the challenges (and opportunities) for couples and families as they move through various phases of the cultural adjustment process together.
• The importance of being patient with yourself as you adapt to a new culture and recognize that it’s a work in progress and whatever you’re feeling in one phase is temporary.
• Some of the particular challenges for couples and families as they’re adjusting to a new culture. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 4: Everyday Mindfulness in the Expat Life (with Guest Jodi Harris)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Jodi Harris!

Jodi is a life coach who specializes in working with expats and others living abroad, helping them work through life changes, define their priorities and goals, and build a satisfying and meaningful life for themselves! Originally from the United States, Jodi has lived in Northern Ireland, Spain, the Dominican Republic, Madagascar, and she now lives in Tokyo, Japan (for the 2nd time), with her husband and 3 children. (See below for more information about Jodi’s work and how to follow up with her.)

What you’ll hear in today’s episode:

• Jodi’s approach to helping her expat clients begin to integrate “everyday mindfulness” into their lives.
• The importance of making room for all emotions (not labeling emotions as “bad” or “good”).
• Jodi’s approach to helping expat parents integrate mindfulness into their own lives and model mindful awareness — and acceptance — of their emotions to their children.
• Jodi’s approach to helping expats develop a sense of “home” within themselves wherever they go.

Read More