A showcase of FIGT Members' written work, focusing on the issues we study, the best practices we share and the strategies we provide to support the entire expatriate family. Contributions are welcome from current members, please use our online form below to submit a blog for consideration.

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  • 21 Feb 2019 3:17 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    The yearly “reunion of strangers” we all know and love as the Annual FIGT Conference promises to get even better in April 2019 with our move to Asia helping us connect with many new faces.


    One of our newly minted members is Dr. Sarah Whyte of Sarah Whyte Consulting, and she joins us not only as a member but also as a new Silver Sponsor.

    Sarah first learned about FIGT through the work of our co-founder and champion, Ruth Van Reken, a route many of us have taken to the organization.

    “FIGT sounded like a fantastic organization to join on a personal level—as a British national living in Singapore—and professionally, as my business focused on creating innovative products and services to support emotional wellbeing for relocation,” she said, explaining what drew her to join and contribute.

    When asked about her decision to sponsor, she elaborates:

    “I was keen to sponsor for several reasons. First, sponsorship is a great opportunity to support the work of FIGT. Secondly, sponsorship offers an amazing platform to connect on a wide scale with other conference attendees and the FIGT members who are unable to attend this year’s conference.”

    Sarah is excited at her first chance to meet FIGT members and attendees in person. She looks forward to introducing her innovative hello/goodbye programme to the community, and also to connect with and discover work by other researchers and members.

    We are sure that Sarah’s work will inspire many attendees at FIGT, and she will similarly find many inspiring conversations and like-minded connections in Bangkok. Sarah is also co-presenting at the conference’s Early Bird Forum on Wellbeing.


  • 14 Feb 2019 2:50 PM | Anonymous

    We are very pleased to announce our second keynote speaker for the #FIGT2019 conference – Anita Kapoor. Anita’s keynote will focus on the concept of LEAD.

    TV presenter, writer, travel show host, emcee and international media celebrity, Anita knows what it means to live a global life. Born in India, Anita has spent most of her life in Singapore (the place she calls ‘home’) but both her professional and personal life continue to take her around the world and satiate her appetite for travel.

    Renowned for her ability to seek what lies beyond the obvious and discuss global yet personal issues such as feminism and death, Anita’s reflections are always exciting.

    A fierce advocate of individuality and a spokesperson for equality, Anita has learned to use her Third Culture Kid (TCK) status to her advantage. ‘It’s often when we feel that we’re on the periphery of things, of places, that we are granted a clearer sight in’ she explains.

    With that insight, and with the opportunities that travel and global living can bring, comes a sense of responsibility. ‘Being grateful is so important to me’, she says modestly. ‘Yes, I’ve had a charmed TCK life. I’ve also lived through challenges. But I believe that it’s through being grateful that we gain empathy’. One senses what Anita really means - without empathy, the global life lacks depth and meaning.

    Anita’s keynote will focus on recognising and accepting our individuality, and learning to become ‘enlightened stakeholders’ of wisdom and understanding. ‘I am not interested in applying labels and living in bubbles’ she explains, but instead will focus on the great opportunity that a global life can bring.

    Anita’s work continues to take her around the globe; between mid-February and #FIGT2019 in April, Anita will have spent time in India and Nepal. ‘Who knows how the next two months will change me and what more I will be able to bring to you’ she explains.

    One thing is certain, the keynote will be energising, inspiring and most probably challenging.

    For those who do not know Anita’s work, please see the links below.

    Further links


  • 13 Feb 2019 1:30 PM | Anonymous

    Since launching the new membership strategy at #FIGT18NL we are pleased to share that we have witnessed at 37% increase in our members. Thank YOU to all the #FIGTMembers who continue to support the work we do by investing in us, and benefiting from the privileges we offer.

    As you can see in the chart below, the new level we introduced in March in The Hague, that of ‘small businesses/non-profits’ has proven to be very popular. Welcome to all those who took the step to take advantage of this, and join our Public Directory - thus sharing with the globally mobile community the services, expertise and support you offer! A reminder though, to ensure you are ‘found’ we encourage you to login to your profile, ensure it is complete - social media tags, key words - and of course an image. For the latter, please contact admin@figt.org for support in adding an image.

    Parallel with an increasing number of events being organized by our Affiliates in the last year - FIGT is clearly hitting a mark, and making an impact. Did you know we have 10 across the world, and two thematic/virtual ones? Or, that FIGT membership is NOT required to participate in them? Check them out here. This is just one of the ways you can discover FIGT and the people who, like you, are drawn to it.

    With 261 members and counting, and more Affiliate events being planned, what advice would you give to encouraging more individuals to join FIGT and be a part of our community? Share your thoughts with us by emailing them to membership@figt.org, or bring them to #FIGT2019 where we can discuss them further. Alternatively, share your thoughts within the FIGTMembers Group on Facebook where we can start a conversation among #FIGTMembers.

    Stay tuned for added #FIGTMember privileges leading up to #FIGT2019.

  • 12 Feb 2019 11:47 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    We are always delighted to feature submissions from our Member community, and today we are excited to share one by Carolyn Parse Rizzo, a longtime FIGT supporter, conference attendee and 2018 Conference Presenter.

    Carolyn Parse Rizzo is a Certified Child Life Specialist and life coach for global families facing health challenges and change. She hosts a quarterly Vibrant Women's Circle for expat women in Northern Italy where she lives with her cross-cultural family. https://www.intervallifecoach.com/

    It can be extremely stressful when we or someone we love becomes ill abroad. As well as the (very normal) physical and mental turmoil of illness, we also find ourselves dealing with additional challenges that are unique to international life.

    At the 2018 Families in Global Transition (FIGT) conference in March, psychologist Vivian Chiona (Expat Nest) and I got together for a “Kitchen Table Conversation” (KTC) on exactly this topic.

    Participants included missionaries, financial planners, educators, executives, researchers, writers, coaches, artists, and others within the international community. They were also parents of children with serious medical conditions, spouses to partners with a serious illness, or medical patients themselves. 

    Swiss, Canadian, Italian, Austrian, Australian, English, Israeli, American, African, Belgian, Taiwanese, and Dutch passport holders have all contributed to this ongoing discussion. 

    Below are eight common concerns that emerged from this fascinating discussion with expert expats and expat experts alike! In Part II of this article, we offer four overarching strategies that are packed with opportunities to get you through, or altogether avoid, these potential roadblocks.

    Participant Michael Watkins, an expat who experienced a life-threatening medical crisis while traveling in Switzerland, named the first three major challenges faced by expats and travelers who experience health issues. 

    1. Ignorance
    In the true sense of the word, many expats and travelers, have little, if any, knowledge or information about the local healthcare system until they are faced with a crisis. The process, coverage, and payment protocols differ greatly from country-to-country, but we often make assumptions that our healthcare experiences will be similar to those in our native country (or our last country of residence). Regardless of the outcome, assumption and lack of knowledge add undue stress to an already stressful situation.

    One mother described a scenario where she made daily trips to the ATM machine in the hospital where her preschooler was admitted. Every day, she'd withdraw the maximum, thinking she would have to pay thousands for her child's five day hospital stay. Her husband was out of town. She'd been studying the language, but it wasn't enough to understand the process.

    In the end, she was charged only 60 Euros, the price of her meals while accompanying her child. Though this was a welcome and pleasant surprise, her own assumption and lack of knowledge caused needless anxiety.

    2. Insurance, Financial Burden
    The wrong insurance (or no insurance) can lead to a personal financial crisis. Those who have been through a medical crisis abroad, stress the importance of understanding the host country's local medical coverage and how it interacts with private insurance carriers, including medevac coverage and pre-existing conditions. 

    An American couple traveled all over Europe believing they were covered by Medicare. After one sustained a serious bicycle accident, broken bones, head injury, and week-long hospitalization in Italy, they learned that Medicare did not cover them outside the United States. While they were not denied care, the stress of trying to navigate how they would pay these international bills while also figuring out how to transport her seriously injured husband home for surgery (where it was surely covered) was overwhelmingly stressful.

    Another traveler described the financial barrier he and his wife faced in Spain when "the hospital demanded upfront payment for most of the cost" of a surgery and hospitalization after he sustained a fall. In this case, they were covered by insurance, but were forced to use credit cards at admission and would not be reimbursed for some time, causing a period of financial hardship. Additional room and board costs were not covered.

    Sometimes you get lucky like Watkins who explained how he learned, after the fact, that his private insurance covered not only his private room, but higher quality medical equipment, medicines, and food during his lengthy hospitalization in Switzerland. This detail varies from country-to-country as well.

    3. Isolation
    Almost everyone described the sense of isolation and lack of support they felt being far from a personal and professional support system. Whether alone for weeks in a stark hospital room, recuperating at home as a single, without the support of close friends or family, or posted in a remote area, far from quality facilities, isolation can be a major obstacle to recovery. 

    Lack of emotional and logistical support (e.g. like someone to collect kids from school, run household errands, or cook) contributes to this sense of isolation. Without a close support network, individuals and families dealing with a medical crisis abroad can feel unmanageable stress and fatigue, decreasing their ability to cope, make decisions, or maintain a positive outlook.


    In addition to the challenges born out of Ignorance, Insurance, and Isolation, issues related to Trust, Communication, Overwhelm, Parenting, and Pain also came up in our KTC. While several of these may be true for anyone facing a health crisis, we agree that it is the interplay between them amplifies the overall challenge, creating a unique experience for expats in this arena.

    1. Communication
    Or rather, miscommunication, or misunderstandings with healthcare providers due to a language barrier or cultural differences in communication styles and expectations is a real roadblock. Even routine check-ups and screenings can be put off or missed altogether.

    For some, these misunderstandings lead to a general mistrust of the medical system, itself. Once this has happened, it can be hard to reconcile, to return to the same system when a need arises again.

    2. Mistrust
    Trust can be difficult to cultivate when communication is a struggle, but when a patient's symptoms are not believed or validated, or where a misdiagnosis occurs, a patient is left to suffer both physically and psychologically, as described by more than one participant.

    When a patient is empowered and knows themselves well, not being believed, heard or helped when they are suffering is even more maddening. There could be a cultural or individual bias at play and the solution may be as easy as switching primary care physicians or specialists, but overcoming mistrust of an entire medical culture is a heavy burden for those who must continue to engage with the system.

    3. Overwhelm and Indecision
    Some described a sense of paralyzing overwhelm when they received news of a new diagnosis; a long list of tasks to complete within a limited time-frame, under stress, not knowing how or where to begin. This feeling can lead to indecision or the "Freeze" stress response in which no action is taken whatsoever. 

    Another version of overwhelm is "analysis paralysis" where the person who must make the medical decision becomes overwhelmed by all the information and possible pathways, becoming stuck and unable to move forward.

    4. Complex Parenting 
    There are a myriad of scenarios that make parenting more challenging when there is a health crisis in a family. If one parent must split time between hospital visits and home routines, but they are lacking social-emotional support themselves, stress levels rise even higher. Finding time to recharge seems nearly impossible.

    If it is a parent who is injured or ill, children may also need extra emotional support at a time when the parents’ emotional reserves are low. It may be overwhelming to think about how to talk to the children about what's happening or to know how much to share.

    If the child is the patient, there are often social-emotional and scholastic implications that arise, in addition to the physical issues. Depending upon where the family is based, there may not be access to necessary medical care or support services. A career may be cut short, siblings lives suddenly up-heaved.

    A couple of parents described hasty departures and medevac rides, uprooting in search of a posting that could support their family's well-being.

    5. Pain and Discomfort 
    Anyone who has experienced acute or chronic pain, understands how it can dominate everything else listed here. Aside from learning how to survive and thrive physically, patients and their loved ones reported feelings of guilt, self-blame, doubt, sense of loss, grief, anxiety/depression, hopelessness, helplessness, and fear.

    How human pain (both physical and psychological) is interpreted and treated varies widely between cultures. Some cultures medicate for every ache, while others hold off on pharmaceuticals. Some systems provide substantial patient support services, while others provide only essential medical care. Non-pharmaceutical pain management options may be suggested, but no coaching provided on how to implement them.

    Finally, mental health is not always covered by the local system and if it is, it may be difficult to find a local therapist in one's native language. Culturally, the role of a psychiatrist may be primarily to prescribe medications without therapy and monitoring, so those seeking both may feel like they're falling through the cracks.

    If you are considering seeking professional support, working with a professional coach or psychologist online or via telephone is another option. There are virtual "offices" where you are invited to express and explore your thoughts and feelings about your health journey, develop coping strategies and ultimately experience more satisfaction, peace, joy, and vitality in your life. 

    A Certified Child Life Specialist can support you, your children, and teens through a medical event or illness by helping you design an effective coping plan and providing age-appropriate explanations of diagnoses and medical procedures. 

    What would you add to this list of challenges? What insights do you have for crossing cultures with a medical condition? 

    Stay tuned for Part II where we explore strategies and solutions to some of these challenges, as well as unexpected opportunities.

  • 09 Feb 2019 5:21 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    It’s been a busy time for #FIGTMembers with news hitting various newsfeeds.

    #FIGTScholar, Jessica Sanfilippo-Schulz, featured on the Leeds University news site. The article described the Pollock Scholarship and FIGT and congratulated Jessica on being awarded the Scholarship. We add our congratulations and look forward to meeting you in Bangkok Jessica, and thank you for sharing the FIGT story with Leeds University.

    Congratulations too to #FIGTMember Chris O’Shaughnessy and his bride Joy who were married in January – and invited everyone to join them in a FB Live event. That’s the way TCKs can include all their global friends in such a special event.

    Another heart-warming event that we heard about via FB was from #FIGTMember, and previous Social Media Lead for FIGT, Lillian Small, who had a baby girl. She looks so lovely, Lillian – congratulations.

    Back to romantic relationships, #FIGTMember, Mariam Ottimofiore and her husband Martino, were recently video interviewed by Fuschia Magazine about their 12 year marriage. Titled How A German Fell For A Pakistani Girl... they discuss cross cultural relationships.

    There was much interest on FB as #FIGTMember Vivian Chiona announced the launch of the Greek website of Expat Nest. It’s great to see such valuable resources available in another language.

    Jo Parfitt, #FIGTMember and recently announced Keynote Speaker for #FIGT2019, announced the publication of the 2018 FIGT Conference book. Many #FIGTMembers contributed to this book and news of its publication was welcomed by many as a permanent record of the presentations from the conference in The Hague.

    If you are an #FIGTMember and have news you’d like to share with us please let us know.


  • 08 Feb 2019 11:28 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    Families in Global Transitions is pleased to announce that our longtime senior-level supporter, the International Family Law Group, is once again returning this year as a Gold Sponsor.


    For the past several years, IFLG Partners David Hodson and Lucy Greenwood have been active members and participants in FIGT: sponsoring our annual conferences where they stay abreast of the topics, trends, and research affecting people living across cultures; getting to know fellow attendees and what is happening in their expatriate/cross-cultural communities; presenting on international family legal issues; and, when travel opportunities allow, speaking at FIGT Affiliate events.

    IFLG’s mission is to inform, educate and advise families about complex international family law matters so that they can be aware of and better prepare for the potential legal implications of international moves should relationships run into difficulties. Their work covers all legal aspects of complicated personal relationships and family breakdown from marital agreements, including jurisdiction, divorce, finances and post-divorce financial claims, recognition of marriages and divorces granted in different countries, enforcement of orders abroad, child arrangements, court orders for moving abroad when one parent does not provide consent, paternity declarations, child abduction, adoption, surrogacy, and more.

    With their stature in the international family law arena, IFLG can build tailored packages of professional advice for their clients wherever and whenever needed. “We have a considerable international contact base in this regard,” David explains. “We travel to conferences abroad and are frequently invited to lecture on international family law topics. This also enables us to keep abreast of family law developments and trends around the world.”

    So why does IFLG continue to sponsor the FIGT organization? David and Lucy offer three compelling reasons, the first of which is that FIGT’s families and those whom they know in the international community are their target audience and primary clients.

    Secondly, Lucy believes sponsoring “shows our client base and beyond that we are mindful of tailoring our work to international families' needs. The number of clients and other professionals with international lifestyles, whom I mention FIGT to, is growing and they are all receptive and thankful to hearing about the organisation and to know that there is a resource where they can learn about the experiences of others who have lived through similar scenarios.”

    Finally, for IFLG it comes back to the vision and belief which caused them to set up their practice. As David notes, “We are a major player in the international family community, and being such a major player carries responsibilities, which means encouraging those working and supporting that community.”

    Welcome back David, Lucy and the entire team at IFLG!



  • 27 Jan 2019 4:19 PM | Anonymous

    We’re excited to announce our first keynote speaker for the #FIGT2019 conference – Jo Parfitt. 

    Jo has been a friend and stalwart supporter of FIGT for many years. She is the operational half of the Parfitt Pascoe Writing Residency Program, which has nurtured writers at Families in Global Transition Conferences from 2014 to 2018.

    Jo knows and understands global transitions from many years of personal experience.  Over 31 years she has lived in seven different countries. She has spent much of that time writing and helping others to write their global stories. Personally, Jo has written 32 books and as a mentor and publisher she has worked with over 200 authors to help them write and publish their own stories.

    We asked Jo about her upcoming keynote in Bangkok and she shared that it was the theme this year that spoke to her. “"The moment I learned of the conference theme – Connect. Lead. Change. - I just knew I had to attend. My three decades abroad in seven countries, during which I have been determined to create, maintain and grow my portable career as a writer, publisher and author's mentor, have been characterized by all elements of Connect, Lead, Change.” 

    Jo told us she was delighted to be offered the chance to present a keynote focusing on Connect. 

    “Connecting is about so much more than the obvious – networking; building a tribe. To me it is about 'joining the dots', finding links between the disparate parts of our lives, personalities and stories and not only making sense of who we were, are and will become but how best to communicate that. As a writer, of course my chosen medium for expression is the written word and I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to share my thoughts and ideas with the FIGT community in a plenary session."

    We are thrilled that Jo will be presenting and are very much looking forward to this keynote.

    For those who may not be familiar with Jo’s work here are some of her books and websites you might like to explore further.

    https://joparfitt.com/

    https://mondaymorningemails.com/

    https://www.summertimepublishing.com/

    https://careerinyoursuitcase.com/about/

  • 17 Jan 2019 10:07 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    The Expatriate Archive Centre (EAC) has collaborated with Families in Global Transition over the last few years in various ways, and this year we are delighted to introduce them as a new Silver Sponsor for the FIGT2019 annual conference in Bangkok.




    The EAC appeared first in the form of Shell’s Outpost Family Archive in 2003 to continue the work started by the Shell Ladies Project in the 1990s. The Archive became independent in 2008, and was renamed as the Expatriate Archive Centre, with the mission to capture, chronicle and protect the life stories of expats and their families from all backgrounds and from anywhere in the world.

    We spoke to Kristine Racina, EAC Director - and immediate past president of FIGT - to learn more about the Centre’s journey with FIGT. The Centre was introduced to FIGT by Jo Parfitt, formerly a co-Director of the EAC and a longtime champion of FIGT. Members of the Centre’s staff have attended FIGT conferences in 2014, and 2016-2018.

    Kristine experienced her first FIGT conference in 2014, presenting a lightning session about the EAC. The connections made at that conference led to Kristine collaborating with Vivian Chiona and Kate Berger - both currently serving on the FIGT Board of Directors - to form the the FIGT Netherlands Affiliate. All three were instrumental in supporting the FIGT conference moving to The Netherlands in 2016, and also being held there the next two years.

    “There is a natural connection between the EAC and FIGT,” Kristine said, explaining the synergy between the two organizations. “We both believe in a need to provide better understanding of challenges faced by global families.”

    When asked how FIGT conference attendees and members can contribute to the EAC’s valuable work, Kristine offered a few ideas.

    “We would love to see more researchers using our archives. We are also looking for ways to expand our collection, and are eager to get in touch with people who have documented their expatriate experiences and are willing to share them with us.”

    Just as FIGT warmly welcomes the Expatriate Archive Centre as a Silver Sponsor, we invite readers to share their stories with both the EAC and FIGT, because all our stories are important.

  • 11 Jan 2019 4:59 AM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    FIGT is very pleased to be holding the #FIGT2019 Conference at NIST International School in Bangkok. NIST is a leading International Baccalaureate (IB) school with many previous and existing members of its community brought up within Third Culture Kid (TCK) situations.

    Keen to improve awareness around the opportunities and challenges faced by the globally mobile community,  NIST promotes diverse knowledge-sharing and partnerships. The school is no stranger to hosting big events, such as the imminent Global Goals World Cup – a football festival for the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

    The FIGT Board is very grateful to NIST for their ongoing assistance ahead of the Conference.


  • 05 Jan 2019 10:54 PM | FIGT Blog Editor (Administrator)

    In the first post of 2019, we're delighted to welcome one of our Members to the blog, sharing her experience and tips for navigating repatriation successfully. We're also excited because Lindy will be one of the speakers at FIGT's 2019 Conference in Bangkok, so if you haven't already checked out the brilliant lineup of speakers and registered to join us, you can find out more here

    Unless you've moved abroad and experienced the return "home," it's impossible to understand the challenges of repatriation. Yet, re-entry is actually not that unlike moving to a foreign country. But why is going home often so hard?!

    Much of this is due to expectations. When moving to another country, you expect to feel foreign, therefore are somewhat mentally prepared for the inevitable culture shock. It makes sense that leaving friends, family and all things familiar will be challenging. And others tend to be sympathetic, giving you time to adjust. In addition, HR and relocation providers are well trained to recognize the challenges, and provide concierge services to facilitate the move long before you arrive as well as throughout the duration of the assignment--anything needed to help a family, especially the relocation spouse, transition successfully.

    Yet when returning home, the (former) expat is often surprised to find themselves a stranger in their own country.

    The expatriate finds the once familiar, unfamiliar. Things missed while living overseas are now overwhelming (like a visit to Costco after the limited choices offered at a local European market). Situations previously handled with ease are now a challenge to navigate (or impossible, such as getting a driver's permit for an 18-year old college student in order to teach them to drive before getting a driver's license--true story:). Or the expat may simply miss the daily challenges of life in a foreign country (communicating in a foreign language, driving on the opposite side of the road, stores closed on Sundays, etc).

    But often unlike the concierge service received upon arrival in a foreign land, the expatriate must find their own way with little 'hand-holding' as they choose new schools, navigate the DMV, connect utilities, purchase vehicles, identify service providers, find new friends, and discover the familiar is no longer the 'comfort zone' they remember.

    In addition, there are often numerous extenuating circumstances that contributed to the move back such as the arrival of a new baby, kids leaving for college, health issues, divorce, aging parents or other major life events that create stress under normal circumstances. The initial excitement turns to a surprising mix of sadness, alienation, disorientation...and a much slower than ever imagined readjustment to life back home. (And to make it worse, friends and co-workers who watched via social media the expats 'fabulous' international life experiencing the world will offer little sympathy!).

    Finally, unlike the grace period often allowed to adjust to life and work in a new land, the employee and relocation spouse typically feel pressure (real or perceived) to immediately perform at full capacity.

    So it's important to be prepared (knowledge is power!) and understand that repatriation typically ignites a rollercoaster of emotions. From the excitement to return home to family and friends--to a surprising mix of sadness, alienation, disorientation...and a much slower than ever imagined readjustment to life back home that can lead to loneliness, fear, depression, and anxiety if not anticipated.

    8 Tips to Successfully Anticipate and Navigate the Return "Home"

    1. Give yourself permission to adjust--and grieve--it’s part of the process.

    Don't try to instantly re-create and continue the life you left. You are no longer that same person! Give yourself permission to say 'no' to job or volunteer opportunities until fully ready. If you were the PTA president at your child's school when you left, wait at least a year before stepping back into a leadership role. You may even discover you no longer have the same passion for things you once enjoyed or felt like were your responsibility. Give yourself time to rediscover who you want to be in this next phase of life!


    2. Find others who understand and give you grace. 

    After arriving in Texas, I 'looked' like I belonged so most didn't realize how foreign I felt. Seek out people who have also lived somewhere else, even if simply another state. This is especially true when it comes to your real estate agent. You need someone who takes the time to get to know who you are and can help guide your search for neighborhoods, homes, schools, service providers and finding a place to 'belong.' 


    3. Stay in touch with friends made while abroad. 

    Create a group text. Write letters (yes, with envelopes and stamps). Plan a reunion. Keeping in touch can serve as a reminder you are not alone!


    4. Join an International Club or InterNations.

    If not one, find other expats and start one yourself. It was of the first and best things I did upon arriving in Southlake, TX--a seemingly homogeneous city until you look a little deeper! 


    5. Continue learning 

    One of the great things about moving is the opportunity to learn new skills. Find a cooking, photography, art or language class. Or create a class to teach others skills or passions developed while living abroad.


    6. Don't fall back into old routines. 

    What did you appreciate about where you lived? Seek to recreate it. I loved hiking in the forests, so was thrilled to find a beautiful wooded path near our Texas home that I walk regularly, especially on days when missing Germany. Also, you are not the same person--or family--you were when you left. So take this into consideration before moving into your old neighborhood or buying your next home. (We left for Germany a family of 6, returned a family of 3--fortunately, we took this into consideration and downsized knowing we would rather spend money and time traveling especially as Texas is not 'home' to our kids!).


    7. Find Your Purpose. 

    Whether it's pursuing a job or volunteer opportunities, nothing creates gratitude more than service or work that utilizes your strengths and passions.

    8. Protect Your Marriage / Significant Relationships.

    Recognize you are not the only person struggling with the return home. But unfortunately, divorce is not uncommon after the return home. So it is essential to be proactive and protect your relationship. (If you need a great international resource, check out www.thesignificantmarriage.com--it is faith-based but open for anyone to attend. The weekend provides a 'business plan' for marriage and helps couples find purpose in their stories in order to encourage and serve others).

    If you've returned home, we'd love to hear about your experiences. What were the challenges? What made the return easier? 


    Lindy Chapman became a Realtor in Dallas, TX, after numerous moves around the US and internationally. She is passionate about teaching consumers how to successfully navigate the disruption in the real estate industry, educating Realtors on the unique needs of the relocation client, providing career resources and connections for the trailing spouse, and is currently creating a relocation certification for Realtors. Find her at www.lindychapman.com

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