Elena is an editor and designer, the mother of Tommaso and Giulia, expat for love. She started writing her WorldWideMom blog to talk about her daily adventures as a new mom in the middle of moving home. At the time – 2008 – her destination was New York, but she didn’t stop there. The pages of her blog were filled with stories about moving to new towns and cities many times, having a baby girl, getting married in Las Vegas.
Now Elena has started another activity, WorldWideParty. She makes themed decorations for birthday parties and special occasions. Learn about her creations and “taste” them in the free download section. I bet you’ll love them!
1. Do not underestimate your abilities, the little girl inside you who really wants to play and, most importantly, your instinct. It is amazing how, in the end, our instinct guides us in the right direction.
As I moved from place to place from one part of the world to another, I discovered that our resources and inner strength are far more than we realize and expect. Fear is often our limit and we think we can’t do it. Then magically we always succeed.
Love for our children and the survival instinct that makes us fight for everybody’s well-being – that, no doubt, is the most precious lesson I have learnt since I moved abroad!
2. Do not overestimate what you hear, read, what other people “advise” you to do and what other people think. With my first child I was always ready to take notes of everything I was told. I took everything at face value. You later learn that not everything people say is always right. Yes, listen to what people say, then use your brain.
Too bad if somebody doesn’t agree (there is always somebody who disagrees). Your life is your own and you must go ahead with courage and perseverance. In this case, too, moving abroad taught me a lot – partly because living in a foreign country, far away from your family, makes you stronger. You find yourself in the middle of a different culture. You can learn a lot but you can also feel very lonely, so you have to pull yourself together and believe in yourself!
3. If you need help… ASK FOR IT!!! It is amazing how much we women struggle to ask for help. Why? I personally had to learn to manage on my own and I am still working a lot on it. I still have problems managing the kids. I have never had a babysitter because I have never trusted anyone. But this year that the children are a little older I have given in and have started enjoying my husband’s company without little ones around. There is nothing bad about asking for help, quite the contrary. It means accepting your limits and helps you improve. Most importantly you don’t end up exhausted.
4. You won’t manage without… Since I started living in the US I have become American, so my answer is that I couldn’t survive without a tumble dryer and a huge refrigerator.
And here is my answer as an expat Italian: in whatever part of the world I live in, I couldn’t manage without my coffee machine, Grana cheese and Skype, which allows me to spend some time with my family and that, if you live abroad with children, is crucial.
5. My motto for when you are desperate: “baby steps” is an American expression to say that you should do one thing at a time. You can manage by taking one small step, then another and so on. Problems and obstacles must be dealt with a little at a time – just as unforgettable moments must be truly enjoyed!