RELOCATION: Holidays away from home

After relocation, the first holidays away from home will be the most challenging.  Both awkward and isolating, they are filled with the reminder that, “You are no longer in Kansas, Dorothy.” (Wizard of OZ movie reference)

Our first year in London was all fun and games.  In early summer, we explored and learned all about our new home.  But that first holiday, I wondered, how am I going to do this?

By November, we were pretty well established into routines.  We had daily and weekly activities that kept us full up on groceries and busy.  But what about Thanksgiving???

As an American in London, it was a bit awkward.  Celebrating holiday that was the led us to disconnecting from Britian?  On a non- “Bank Holiday”?  It was a Thursday.

The biggest hurdle though was that the lack of family and dear friends.  We were literally isolated while trying to do something normal.


American Thanksgiving in London

After 36 years of American Thanksgivings though, I couldn’t help myself but to plan yet another one, so I got to it. For non-Americans ~ Thanksgivings is surrounded by harvest foods (pumpkin pies, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turkey and such), watching the Macy’s day parade and football on TV and mostly spending it with friends and family.

Since only one of the three would be available (this was a few year back), I concentrated on the food and adapted it all to my very small refrigerator, stove and oven.

We invited locals and other expats to join us.  It was fun to explain what Thanksgiving was.  We talked about the foods that make up the meal.  We enjoyed a few chickens since turkeys were not available until Christmas, and I think I made a pumpkin pie from scratch, like starting from a pie pumpkin.

Without Thanksgiving football & parades we decided to go for walk in Kensington Park and played table games. It was nice to take advantage of the temperate London weather.  It was 42 degrees and blowing back in Minnesota.

Everything shifted into something a bit new.

Remembering to keep living!

One of the toughest things in Relocation is to keep living.  There is continual change and adapting going on.  The holidays highlight this additional challenge like a blinding spotlight.

Holidays are surprising.  Since the holidays only come once a year and most relocation assignments are less than 3 years, there is no consistency, no daily practice how to do it.

However, like with most topics on ReloMoms, this post is about getting around being Stuck.

Because everything is new the planning starts a few months early.   This allows the event becomes an adventure with participants on both side of the pond and figuring out how to get this done away from normal.

Involve the friends and family back home.  Get recipes and maybe have holiday care packages sent from there to incorporate into your day!  This also alleviates the day of calls from home full of tears, “We miss you so much.  WHEN are you coming back? It’s not right without you.”

These calls do not help. However….

By involving them, they become part of your holiday even from a distance.  The questions become, “How did the sweet potatoes come out?  Did you play the game? How did your new friend like the ______?”

At your new home, involve the new friends you have made.  They also have local holidays, customs and foods.  Perhaps they could bring cornbread dressing to your holiday event.  Great!  Add it in, and experience something new.

Something NEW

Ultimately, holidays will all change.  They always have, even when you were home from year to year.  It’s just not recognizable because it happens to all of you at the same time.

People come and go.  Foods change, and the days morph in to something bigger and more full than they were in the years past.

The most valuable to do is to embrace where you are and the life you get to lead today.  And when you want to change it, you will make new decisions that will lead life in a different direction.

But today, Celebrate and LIVE.

Explore your new town next:  RELOCATION: What the Locals Do

RELOCATION: Discovering who YOU are!


“REALLY?  Who am I?  Seems like a vague question in the face of moving companies, realtors, new schools and house hunts.
I don’t have time for that.
What does “Who am I?“,  have to do with relocation?”

And I agree, it seems like a hippy ,frivolous time waster.  However,  knowing who you are, is essential to both relocation planning and execution.

“Every minute you spend planning,
saves 10 minutes of execution”
~ Brian Tracy ~

Knowing yourself is actually the path to creating and effective plan and efficient relocation.

The main reason you want to know as much as possible about yourself, is that during the first few months, you will answer more relocation generated questions than you have in the last 5 years.  It is exhausting, but defining who you are is like holding all the answers to a test.

WHAT ARE YOUR EMOTIONAL NEEDS?

Typically, pain brings front and center what we need.  I am so hungry I NEED to eat now.  I am so mad at ______, I NEED to tell him what jerk he is.  But what unmet emotional needs drive that pain.

Knowing your emotional needs affect how you make decisions.  By knowing you need to feed, you make decisions that lead to where you want to end up.

Our emotional needs drive every decision we make, good or bad.  The need to feed them leads us to strive for greatness, self-destruct or even become addicted.  Tony Robbins describes this in depth.

The 6 emotional needs” TED Talk by Tony Robbins, with over 20 Million views,  is one of the most insightful and easy to grasp presentations about why we do what we do.

I liked his quote, “We will do anything, positive or negative, to meet that emotional need.”

By listening to this TED Talk,  you will be able to identify your emotional needs,  and as a bonus, be able to identify these needs in others.

This exceptionally important when working with others.  During the relocation, there will be a team of people you are required to work with.  And even though, you are the client, time frames will be so tight that you will have to work with those presented to you.

By having the ability to see the emotional needs of others you will understand what you need to do or say to effectively communicate with those around you and ultimately minimize relocation frustration.

HOW DO YOU WORK WITH OTHERS?

To work with this new team even more effectively, take a moment to learn a little more about how you work with the world at large.

StrengthFinders 2.0 has one of the easiest assessments to take and understand out there.  It is an easy little book with 31 pages of instructions, 143 pages of theme information and a code.  This code gives you access to an only assessment which identifies your 5 core themes.

One of the best things about going through this simple process is that you begin to understand how many different variations there are even in your core family.  With 34 themes there are over 33 million different top 5 combinations possible.

For example, my top 5 themes are:
Strategic, Ideation, Futuristic, Positivity,  and Woo.

Of course my first thought was, “what is Woo?”

“Woo stands for winning over others.  You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you.  Strangers are rarely intimidating to you.  On the contrary, strangers can be energizing….”  StrengthFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath Page 169.

It’s true.  I love to work a room, meet new people and learn more about them and this world.

StregthFinders 2.0 also gives examples of how WOOs work in the world; how WOOs sound in conversation, what makes WOOs stand out, and how WOOs work with others WOOs.

This assessment takes less than 20 minutes.  By taking it, I learned how to  craft messages that my creative son could hear.  I learned how to engage my analytical husbands when I needed something done.  Knowing more about who I am helped dramatically in times of unusual stress and frustration. .

LEARNING ABOUT YOU AND NAVIGATING RELOCATION

Navigating your relocation will require you to ask questions of yourself, finding resources and finding answers.  Look to books, podcasts, TED Talks, sermons, blogs and classes that speak truth.

It is the patience that comes with knowing who you are, that will be the most effective tool as you walk through ALL of the relocation surprises.

Please leave a comment below and add any resources you have found that will help other ReloMoms.

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