“Where are you from?” – blog about identity in another country

“So where are you from?” “And why did you come here?” – you keep on hearing when the only thing you wish is to be unnoticed as a foreigner. You have got so much to tell except that one story, the story that lately seems to define your identity. “You are the person that left her mother country and seeks her luck in this new country. You are so lucky to be ended up here, but hey what is that that they can win on you? What is your contribution? Why should this great country be happy to
have you? As short as you probably stay?

Being my expat story?

I take a deep breath and start again the story of me growing up and having a dream, and going on the adventure and …and I notice that they are not listening anymore. “Just another one of those expats with a funny story, but not worth to invest, she may be gone and all the efforts of building the friendship were useless.“ So I feel isolated again, me being an outsider is every time confirmed and emphasized again. While the only thing I longed for is just be one of them and have a conversation. A conversation in which I can be curious, can share and feel alive. I can contribute, by being me. Not by being my expat story.

Who am I?

One of the most common psychological issues of expats is the isolation and the identification with your being a foreigner. As we definitely not want to be seen as an outsider or be rejected because of we are just a temporary acquaintance, we tend to adapt. Do you also recognise that at a certain point you try to please your environment just to gain some attachment? That you will hide your real nature and will search for the possible best reaction to the locals? Try to be one of them, read all books written about the culture, watch their jokes, how they eat, what they wear, and mostly not show what you think of all that. Slowly supress your opinion and own habits to not hurt anyone or to not attract attention to you being different. Not tell your needs anymore, and become more insecure with the day. “Who am I? What do I stand for? Where do I belong? “

Open up to differences

Our own pain of isolation, and hurt identity makes it impossible for us to open to the locals.
Maybe they are just as insecure how to reach us? How to avoid those questions? They are
afraid to get to like us and never see again? That they never judge us for not talking their
language? Maybe we do that to ourselves, expecting perfection? Maybe they would really
appreciate to hear our real opinions, instead of trying to match theirs? They might love
unique opinions! Because we foreigners make them think about their lives, we show them a
mirror. We open their eyes and make them flexible. We make them laugh about differences
that are otherwise avoided. As long we both keep our own values and respect each other.

What can we do?
In my practice I will accommodate you when you feel alone, and we practice talking about
your feelings together. We build on your self awareness and self appreciation, your
confidence so that you can stand up for who you really are. We look at your internal
conflicts with yourself, and especially we comfort your hurt ego and diminish your fear of
being rejected.

Enikö Hajas

Born into a diplomat family in Hungary, I lived in Vietnam, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal. My lengthy experience of understanding different cultures makes it natural for me to work with any nationalities.

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