Mindful Expat Episode 18: Learning from Our Emotions (Part II): Learning to Listen to Yourself

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• A continuation of our last discussion about how our emotions can actually give us useful messages about our needs — if only we can learn how to listen and decode the messages they’re sending us!
• Some of the reasons why many people have learned to distrust their emotional signals — and how we can begin to practice listening to them again.
• An exercise for you to practice listening to your own inner voice and begin to tune in to your own needs more effectively. Read More



Mindful Expat Episode 16: A Taste of Mindfulness: Finding the Present Moment Through Our Five Senses

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• About the importance of practicing mindfulness in everyday situations or through “formal practice” so that we have the skills when we really need them (when we’re stressed out, overwhelmed, or otherwise in distress).
• How to use mindful eating as an everyday mindfulness practice (with a guided exercise to get you started!).  Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 15: A Compassionate, Growth-Oriented Approach to Cultural Adjustment (With Guest: Sundae Schneider-Bean, MA)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Sundae Schneider-Bean!

Sundae is an intercultural strategist and solution-oriented coach, and – as she says – she’s on a mission to help expats make the most of their lives abroad!

Sundae is originally from the United States, from the state of North Dakota. Even before meeting her Swiss husband and launching on a series of international moves with him, Sundae had a thirst for international adventure. In her early 20s, she traveled extensively throughout south-east Asia, where she met her husband in Vietnam – which then led her to move to Switzerland. After a number of years together there, they then moved to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, where they stayed until in 2016 when the political situation and lack of security in the region made it no longer safe to remain – at which point they relocated to South Africa, where they now live with their 2 children.

Sundae has her masters in Intercultural Communications and is a certified coach with the International Coaching Federation. Her experiences of living and working across cultures, being in an intercultural marriage, and raising bicultural TCK children makes her no stranger to the challenges – and opportunities – of expat life. As an intercultural strategies and coach, she works to help other expats navigate these challenges and learn to thrive in their lives abroad and make the most of their experiences.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• Debunking some common myths about the cultural adjustment process and how believing these myths can be detrimental to our wellbeing and adjustment as we adapt to a new culture.
• How there is no one “right” way to move through the process of cultural adjustment and some of the factors (personal and contextual) that can impact what this process looks like.
• How our expectations can shape our experience — for example, by making us either more or less patient with ourselves as we move through the cultural adaptation process.
• How “culture shock” isn’t necessarily a bad thing and how we can use it as an opportunity to increase our own self-awareness.
• The importance of self-acceptance and self-compassion (rather than being harsh and critical toward ourselves) as we adjust to a new culture. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 14: Self-Compassion, the Two Arrows, & Learning to Surf

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• How you can create a pause between your initial experience of an emotion and your reaction to it, and how doing so will allow you to cultivate more self-compassion and feel less out of control in your life.
• About the differences between pain and suffering — and how our responses to our own internal experiences determine the extent to which we suffer.
• The Buddhist metaphor of the two arrows, which illustrates this difference between pain and suffering.
• How all of this might apply to the experience of struggling with adaptation to a new country/culture. Read More


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