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What is it like to move to another country?

by CallieDawn on October 6, 2010

Well to be totally honest, for me, it’s HARD!

Simple things are challenging, like getting groceries, taking a bus down the street and eating lunch out.  Even buying baking soda has been a month long event for Jason and me… and it’s still happening!  But these challenges are more on the surface level. There’s frustration over not locating my favorite foods, or not being able to read food package labels which I always do, until recently anyway.  Or anticipation about getting on the wrong bus and then following along the bus driver’s route with my own map just to make sure I’m on course, since I can’t just ask the driver where he is headed.  Or ordering food that I have no clue what it is only to find out that whatever it is I don’t really like it and really don’t want to finish it even though I ordered it.  Sorry Mom.  Small things, but very annoying when they happen daily!  On a good day these things make me laugh.  On a bad day they can make me cry.  But the “HARD” that I’m really talking about is totally different then any of this.

The “HARD” I’m talking about is the “What am I doing with my life?”  The “All my friends are working their way up in amazing, high paying careers.”  The “I’m 30 years old this year and my biological clock doesn’t seem to be slowing down.”  Or the decision I made shortly after I arrived in Taiwan, not to teach English at a job with guaranteed hours and pay.  This is the “HARD” that I often feel, the intense self-doubt that creeps in from God only knows where, into my daily thoughts and routine.  At times it’s relentless, showing up as envy or feelings of smallness.  This doubt has been there through most of my life. The pattern that I have noticed is that it always arises when I choose to follow my heart and not my mind.  When I choose to do something that doesn’t align with the suggestions of my upbringing and the typical pictures of a successful person.

Since moving to Taiwan many people have given Jason and me lots of kudos.  “Great work!”  “You guys did it!”  “Way to go for what you want!”  And yes, I feel that way too!  We did it, we took the plunge and moved to China, but at what cost?  Well, my sanity seems like a fair price ;-).  Of course, there is the upside to our choice too.  I haven’t felt this much aliveness and vitality in almost a decade…right around the time I joined the corporate world.  I feel more productive then I have in years, even though I’m without a full time job.  I’m learning Chinese, which has been on my list to do for years.  And my overall sense of satisfaction with life is at an all time high.

In summary, I’m clear that I’m exactly where I need to be right now.  I love every minute of my experience…yes, even when I’m crying.  But I offer a word of caution to anyone considering moving abroad, or doing something else that goes against many years of conditioning.  Going against the grain is not necessarily easy.  In the process of choosing to follow your heart YOU may have to come face to face with what you think YOU should do.  Sometimes this can be a long tunnel and you may not see the light for a while.  But I guarantee you this.  If you keep checking in with your deep and wise infinite self, and pay attention to the indicators along your road, there is no chance that you will be left unfulfilled at the end of your journey!  Happy travels!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

winnielee chuus October 10, 2010 at 10:28 am

Great article Callie! I felt the same thing as we never were able to connect when we were particularly living in the same city and that you guys are 1/2 way around the world we’re actually lot more. It’s so cool and of course thanks to the internet and following our dreams! 🙂

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