My Plans for this Blog + An Open Letter to Future Expats from a Current Expat
The Future of laurenpexa.com
Today marks the last time I will post from this blog in Ireland. Hard to believe. We leave Ireland in less than a week, will be spending some time in the sunny Mediterranean, then back to Minnesota in time for Memorial Day!
Recently, my mom shared with me that my blog helped her feel connected to me and my European experiences. That was the goal! And the same feeling is true from my perspective. This blog created an opportunity for me to explore areas of interest from recipe development, travel, photography, to writing. But above all else it created a way for me to feel closer to home.
So thank you for following along on our Irish adventure! Your engagement with laurenpexa.com has meant more to me than I can properly express.
This is not goodbye; the blog is not shutting down. But obviously as I move home from Ireland the content will transition. As I have shared, in July I will graduate from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and officially will be a certified Holistic Health Coach!
I’m excited to share my take on holistic health with you. And I can promise that my Irish lifestyle adjustments will be the undertone in many of my future posts. Think my ‘Healthy New Year’ series or Ireland Changed My Diet type posts. I want to transition this healthier lifestyle to Minnesota. I can’t wait to begin. Stay tuned!
My Open Letter to Future Expats
But for today, I have some thoughts to share with future expats. When I decided to gather my thoughts, or advice, and write a post for future expats this was literally just a letter to any expats out there.
But since that initial thought, my brother has accepted a career opportunity in Osaka, Japan! I am so happy for him and very proud. I can’t wait to visit. Now, I have disclosed my mindset, so while I am sharing this list with everyone, if it reads like an older sister speaking to her little brother you know why.
1. Document Your Experience
Scrolling back through this blog is a gift within itself. As I mentioned above, the blog allowed me to stay connected with home and explore new interests. But it also allows me to step back into moments of my life here in Ireland. When reading an old post, I get to remember exactly how I felt in that moment. Whether the emotion was sadness or happiness I am happy to have it documented.
I know blogging is not for everyone. So, while blogging worked well for me, find some way that works well for you to document your time abroad. Sharing photos on Instagram or Facebook or even simply compiling an old-school photo album, jotting your thoughts on the back of images so you can remember. Do it, you won’t regret having the memento to look back on!
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Additional note, recently I have been scrolling back through past posts. I thought it would be fun to share the post I am the proudest of: Life Update: Dublin Marathon, Parents Visit Ireland, Grandma's Funeral. I feel it accurately depicts who I am and I read it as a reminder when life veers off course a little.
2. Say “Yes” to Everything
Change is hard and scary. And I would rank an international move pretty high on the change-spectrum. You will be lonely and you will miss the comforts of your previous routine. The number one way I combatted the discomfort of change was by saying "yes" to everything.
Did I have a reason to be at a sewing club meeting or toddler playdate? No, but I fought the urge of sitting at home. I said yes, and that yes led to more.
At the sewing club meeting and toddler playdate I started friendships with three amazing women. Women I have spent a lot of time with over the last two years. Many coffee dates, lunches, a baby shower, and trips around Ireland plus Amsterdam! These friendships helped shaped my time in Ireland – I’ll forever be grateful for their friendship.
3. Listen More, Talk Less
Do it. Show up to events, a coffee date, anything, and intentionally say to yourself, today I am going to listen. I will only give advice or share my opinion if I am specifically asked.
Americans stereotypically (there is some truth to a stereotype, right?) are loud and opinionated, and feel their way is the only correct way, and they want to tell you about it. But I have found in shifting my conversational flow from talk-talk-talk to slow-down and listen people open up and share more.
They begin by sharing more about who they are, but then something special happens. They begin to share their culture with you. You learn how to make a family brown bread recipe and become the first person to write that recipe down. You participate in local holiday traditions like the St. Stephen’s Day Hunt. Having the discipline to listen will enrich your time abroad and open you to a set of new experiences.
4. Travel & Explore
Life at home and life abroad can be identical if you chose. Because at the end of the day people all over the world have the same routine: wake up, go to work, repeat. But did you really move abroad to do the same routine elsewhere? I am guessing not, so, don’t do the same thing! Get out there, explore your new home. Learn through travel, then document your learnings so you can teach and share with others.
Thank you again for your interest in my blog. I will be blogging once while on vacation, and then back with more in June!