Novelty can be exciting. It makes us open our eyes to what is right in front of us (since we don’t always notice). We are re-energized by trying new foods, meeting new people, learning about a new subject, and going new places, yet, novelty can also be stressful. Even positive changes have been shown to be very stressful—especially when it’s a major life transition, i.e. relationship change, relocation, or job change. Once the major stress of the relocation is over and you have a roof over your head, you can start to appreciate the benefits and advantages of being in a new place!
When you take the first bite of something new, you automatically become present to the enjoyment of tasting good food. But when you have the same thing for dinner every night you lose sight of tasting. Despite the stress, as Expats we have a huge advantage. Living in a new country, every time you leave your apartment there is something new to see. After many months of German class, today, I finally understand the word “Speilsalon;” so I discover there is gaming salon right on my street—right next to the Sports Betting salon… I guess I picked the right neighborhood! But in all seriousness, something about this realization was really engaging. I thought quite a bit about the popularity of Sports Betting salons in this town and what that could be about.
Novelties like this can be important for our happiness and keeping up our level of engagement and attention to the world around us. When you’re feeling off, it’s because something is off! So try to figure out what it is that isn’t working for you in that moment. What could you do differently to change that? Why put up something if maybe you don’t need to? Whenever I expect to have a dull day, I give myself a little pick-me-up by adding something new to the day. I make the effort to pick a new neighborhood to bike to for the sake of novelty and intentionally appreciating my relocation. When I find a café to try out, in the end, I am so much in the present moment that I can’t focus on what I’m “supposed” to be doing! It’s so easy to be totally absorbed in a new environment: watching people, listening to the barista, listening to the German language, and eavesdropping whenever I hear English. I could even spend all morning reading the menu and translating it with my dictionary.
As relocated Expats, we have so many opportunities to bring our awareness back to the fortune with have in experiencing a new world. It’s important that we keep up our awareness of these opportunities in order to appreciate them. When we aren’t aware of these things any more, we may fall back into feeling exhausted by all the changes and the misunderstandings. We all need to find what it is that gives us that spark back! What works for you?