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 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 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


Self-Care 101: Setting Healthy Boundaries

I’ve been thinking a lot about boundaries lately: why they’re important — and yet why so many of us struggle with setting them.

I was talking to a friend in the US a few weeks ago. She was telling me how overworked she is and how she doesn’t have time for some of the things that are really important to her — spending time with her family, traveling, working on some creative projects, taking time to just relax and enjoy life. Even some parts of her work — the parts she finds most meaningful and satisfying.

The problem? Emails. Requests. Invitations to give workshops and presentations, to sit on committees, to write book chapters. Read More


Cultural Adjustment, Part 2: The Expat Rollercoaster

roller-coasterIn the previous article in this Cultural Adjustment Series, we discussed the concept of culture shock and how it can manifest differently for different people.

Today, we’ll cover some of the basic theories or models of cultural adjustment that have been developed over time to explain the experience of expats and international students when they move abroad.

(This is a longer-than-usual post, but it’s full of information that I hope you’ll find useful!) Read More


Cultural Adjustment, Part 1: Say Hello to Culture Shock

photo-1437623889155-075d40e2e59fMoving to a new country and adapting to a new culture is both incredibly rewarding and unbelievably challenging — sometimes at the same time.

Researchers have developed a number of different theories to try to better understand the process of adjusting to a new cultural environment. In this article, we’ll discuss the concept of ‘culture shock’ and how it can manifest differently for different people.

Then, in the next few articles in this Cultural Adjustment Series, we’ll discuss some of the theories of cultural adjustment, as well as some of their limitations — and how all of this might help you make sense of your own experience of life abroad. Read More


Befriending Our Emotions

white-envelop-on-a-fence-1216383Emotions can seem very inconvenient sometimes. They can be distressing and overwhelming, and they often appear to get in our way.

Of course, it feels wonderful to experience happiness or excitement or love – so called, ‘positive’ emotions – but other emotions like sadness, anger, or fear are quite unpleasant. We often think of them as bad or frightening. They seem to cloud our judgment or just make us feel bad. No wonder we often want to run away from them or find ways to make them go away as quickly as possible!

However, what many people don’t realize is that the meaning we assign to our emotions (that they are bad or scary) and the reactions we have to them (trying to resist or escape from them) are actually responsible for much of our distress. We tell ourselves that we can’t handle these feelings or that they will never go away – or that they mean something terrible about us or about other people.

On the other hand, if we try to approach our emotions as helpful, (albeit sometimes unpleasant) messengers giving us important information about our own needs, we can begin to have a different relationship with our own internal experience. Read More