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e-mergence - Moving abroad: between surviving and living.

Sira Inchusta Carrillo

Sira Inchusta Carrillo

Psychologue,
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e-mergence

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Moving abroad is always a challenge. Changes overlapping and bringing up difficulties in everyday life. We change our home, our environment, our language. A beautiful experience that makes you start questioning about your identity: who am I?

Moving abroad: between surviving and living.

Let’s breathe. Let’s take a deep breath. The suitcases are closed, the permits are requested, and the “goodbye” is done. We open the door. We close the door. We go out, almost running towards a new life, a new adventure.

Stress, uncertainty, fear. Joy, nostalgia, excitement. Let’s go. We have dreamed so much of this moment that we don’t longer dare to live it. The expectations that fluctuate, the nerves that dance, the questions that “rise up”.

Let’s go ahead. This is the right opportunity, the right action, the right decision.

And then we get there. We arrive in a life that opens the door to our fears and joys, that moves us away and brings us closer. We haven’t written that much to our family since the last holidays. We learn to cook an egg, do the laundry, ask for a “baguette” at the bakery. We grow up.

Maybe it was not the first time abroad. Maybe it wasn’t the first time as an independent adult. Maybe we’re already used to it. Or not.

In both cases, the fears and uncertainties are there to tell us something. But, why? Why do they arrive in their horse, called Anxiety, to annoy us during our crusade at the other end of the "world"? Why are the questions we were asking ourselves when we were teenagers back, knocking on the door?

There you go! That’s the meaning of change. Our emotions are there with a great task: to show us that we are living. They mean that we are living, feeling, experimenting. We need them. And emotions play chess with our more internal, identity questions. Before, we never cried, today we don’t stop crying. Before, our smile came at a great event, today it comes with a ray of sunshine. Our emotions change us. Our emotions make us live. They make us adapt - and as we adapt, our identity changes.

We go home for the holidays. But where is our “home” today? Always hard to define. Let’s go home to “our parents’ home”. “You’ve changed!”, “You weren’t like that before.” And it makes an impact. As a “quarterback” who throws himself against us in every question: to remind us that no matter how many we run, he will be there to mark his point, to tell us the changes we are putting under the carpet every day.

Going home after the holidays is hard. We confront our reality with the speeches we received in a few days or weeks with the people who “know” us the most. Our identity questions are even stronger. They want to show us that they exist, that we have evolved, that the changes are real. But also, that these changes can be positive. And with the help of emotions, always faithful, changes annoy us. We cry. We laugh. We are afraid again. O this fear of the unknown that always comes home! O this rage against the other and this nostalgia for the house (of the parents)! One day we love Belgium as if it were our lover. The day after we see only the defects of the country and its inhabitants.

Still the Anxiety is coming back. But why, if we have been living here for six years? Why always the same story? Why always the same questions? Who are we? Where are we from? Where is our home? That’s the life of the Expat. That’s the life of the immigrant. That’s the life of the foreign. Regardless of the name we “wear”, feelings end in the same way.

What if we take the time to experience these changes? What if we listened to these difficulties that we had and tried to find in grief and fear of resources? What if, like the Spanish do, we turn the omelette on the other side?

Change is an inherent part of our lives. We “are” changes. We “are” the emotions that show us these changes. And we “are” the challenges and the solutions. We are the source of resources. Whether in a group, in a community or in a psychologist consultation, we find our resources and learn to live there. After a while, it’s tiring to survive there all the time.

We can find our own leads for our own happiness, our own satisfaction. Here or elsewhere. Here and elsewhere. It is not (only) our entourage, but also our identities. We won’t be the same- and so much the better! We are the result and the future of all the changes in our lives.

CentrEmergences allows patients to come and consult on the themes of change, arriving and leaving. From here and elsewhere, we are listening to these anxieties and we are working with you to find the resources. They are there. Let’s take the road together.

Cet article est aussi disponible en Français.

This article is also available in French.

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