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  • Writer's pictureHenriette Johnsen

Falling in love

We all know the exciting sensation of butterflies in our stomach when we have met someone who may be the one; the special one we could fall in love with forever and ever; the one whose quirks and potentially annoying habits do not bother us the slightest, but are put down as charming. The immediate weeks upon arrival in one's new country are remarkably similar to the first stage of getting to know a new partner. Welcome to the honeymoon phase!

Never mind that one needs to unpack a whole household of boxes, find a GP, that setting up in rented accommodation comes with a host of issues on its own as does opening up a bank account for that matter; and that these matters are interlinked (!), that one's children seem confused or that ahead lies a list as long as one's arm of things to do before everyday life fully kicks in.

In this phase, everything is looked at through rose-tinted glasses and life feels like a long, never ending holiday. For some, the move abroad means a higher standard of living, some even have servants in their household - for others, this is a time of exploration and for most, this is a time where one's trivial troubles do not exist, but have been replaced by hope and excitement.

For many, this is an opportunity to start all over; to leave behind what did not seem to be working in one's life, to wipe the slate clean and move forward to a richer and more fulfilling life. Regardless of wanting to exercise more, eat cleaner, learn a new language, focus on your career or reinvent yourself, improve the relationship with your spouse or take a pottery course, it is a time of hope. The bliss of a new beginnings comes with the risk of forgetting that one's internal struggles have made it across the pond too and have not necessarily been resolved because one wakes up in a different time zone. Right now, they just haven't been unpacked and are still lying dormant in a suitcase somewhere.

Enjoy the honeymoon phase, make friends and start exploring your new surroundings, allow yourself to enjoy the positive spin you will experience on most challenges, and be willing to learn and adjust. This is a temporary state of exotic excitement and many first timers are completely oblivious of the rude awakening that lies ahead.

If you are interested in having these tips elaborated alongside receiving many, many more tips on the different phases of expat life and how to support with your mental health during these, you may be interested in purchasing my comprehensive guide on taking care of your mental health as an expat. You can find the guide here

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