6 Dec 2015

11+ ways to improve the grandparent grandchild relationship Part 2

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Continuing on. Part 1 covered items 1-5. This blog will cover the remainder. I'd love to hear your comments and experiences 

What are some of the challenges? 

1.Keeping in contact enough.
2.Remembering that communication is a two-way act.
3.Language.
4.Virtual grandparents.
5.Accents can hinder the ease of communication. 
6.New cultural and behavioural norms.
7.Reluctance.
8.Environmental differences.
9.Visits there or here.
10.Quantity v quality.
11.Talking it up

How can the challenges be overcome?

16 Nov 2015

11+ ways to improve the grandparent grandchild relationship part 1



“I must have been crazy. I’ve taken my parents away from my children!” Jessica
“I was really close to my grandparents when I was growing up, it is such a different sort of relationship to [the one you have with] your parents. I am sad my children aren’t going to have that.” Rebecca
 Quotes from my book, The Emotional Challenges of Immigration, Strategies and stories of those who stayed.

Grandparents and grandchildren have a unique relationship, however when you are a migrant, this unique relationship is challenged by distance.


What are some of the challenges? 

1.Keeping in contact enough.

16 Oct 2015

Why Immigrants Need Empathy not Sympathy.

I had just returned from a homeland visit. An acquaintance approached me and I readied myself for the, “I bet you are glad to be back.” Instead the person said,
“It must have been so hard leaving.” I took a step back and fumbled for the handkerchief I knew I would be needing. Amongst my muddle of thoughts there was a cry of 'Eureka someone understands!' I hugged my acquaintance-now-more-of-a-friend. She welcomed the hug because we both knew she had touched me emotionally, and the hug would hide my tears.


Empathy. The understanding of emotions. Sympathy. Feeling sorry for the person. I would rather have empathy any day.
The empathy I was shown:

  • Acknowledged my sadness and made the sadness feel reasonable
  • Didn’t make me feel weak or pathetic
  • Gave me a sense of relief at someone understanding what I was going through.


There is a fine line between empathy and sympathy, and sometimes the terms are misused.
Sympathy makes me feel weak. I don’t want people feeling sorry for me, because:

It makes me feel like I have made a wrong decision to be an immigrant
  • I have burdened them with my sadness.
  • They may be thinking, if it is bad enough to make me sad, I should return to my homeland.
  • I would rather that people understand I am glad about my choices, but there are times when it is difficult or sad. 

25 Sep 2015

Do you have cultural intelligence?

How well do you communicate with other cultures? Do you make blunders? Have a look at the Newsletter 13 to find out more and see great examples of some of the mistakes you might be making.

Season confusion? Why? Suggestions in the Newsletter 13

16 Aug 2015

Getting through unsettling times

Are you feeling unsettled? It may be that you are unsettled as an immigrant or are going through an unsettled stage of life. This blog will look at ways to help with those feelings of being unsettled, whether they are because you are a migrant or because you are unsettled in life.

As a migrant feeling unsettled, you could consider:
  1. What motivated you to emigrate in the first place? Are those reasons still valid? If they are, then by reminding yourself you are in the right place, you can allow yourself to feel more settled.
  2. Perhaps your reason for migrating has been fulfilled, for example, you wanted better opportunities for your children and it is the next challenge you are facing that is making you feel unsettled as an immigrant. This could be that as you see your children pick up the host countries’ mannerisms, language, accents, and attitudes, you wonder how you can introduce some of your culture to them. Perhaps through your homeland’s food, festivals, and visits to your homeland.
  3. Try to identify, what it is exactly that is unsettling you?

19 Jul 2015

Ten tips for making a great impression.

First impressions of people and places are given and received. What was your first impression of the place you have chosen to live? Learn of others' frist impressions and how you can increase your chances as an immigrant of having the best first impressions.
Read more in the Newsletter 12.
Let us know your experiences by commenting below.

17 Jun 2015

Ten solutions for repatriate blues

  Are you returning to your homeland, thinking of returning or have returned? This will help you. There are many reasons for returning to your homeland. An immigrant may have been disappointed in their life in their adopted country. They or their partner may be so unhappy, homesick or isolated that they feel they need to return. An expat or spouse may feel the need to return or have to return. Whichever the reasons for returning to your homeland, the return is not always the way you think it will be.

Experiences

  In Debra Bruno's  Wall Street Journal article, Repatriation Blues: Expats Struggle With the Dark Side of Coming Home, she delightfully summarises experiences of people and children coming home. My favourite is the following: "Expats need to know that the toughest assignment of all might be coming home. “Send me home?” asks Ms. Pascoe. “It’s easier to go to Bangkok than to repatriate in Vancouver.” You can also listen to Debra's podcast interview with The Bittersweet Life. 

  The Repatriation Process blog from Internations explains more on the danger over-telling your anecdotes from your time overseas.

22 May 2015

Immigrants are like trees, and this is not a knicker fetish!


How are immigrants like trees? What do you need to prune when you migrate? What is our underwear drawer telling us? How to get help and increase your support networks, and more on goodbyes. All this and more in the Newsletter 11.


14 May 2015

Ten ways to make goodbyes easier

I have written three blogs on saying goodbye. In these blogs I divided up the ten tips with more information, (links below) but here they are in pure point form for those of you who enjoy summaries.

  1. Decide on what is best for you and the people you are leaving. Long goodbyes aren't necessarily
    easier. Overseas Emigration blog says,
    "A friend gave me great advice about leaving and going to the airport. They suggested I say goodbye to my family at home and then ask a best friend to take me to the airport; to say your goodbyes to close family members at the security gate is just too emotionally charged."  
  2. Having been through many airport goodbyes, I now tend to limit the time at the airport to a cup of coffee, I have not been in the frame of mind to shop or browse with the people I am about to leave. 
  3. If the goodbye has felt rushed and chaotic, if you are the one leaving, you have the privacy of a long plane journey to feel sad.
  4. Be honest with your goodbyes. Say what you feel and when it comes to the final parting, don't draw it out. You have to part sometime. In Wikihow method two, long term goodbyes suggest being brief and sincere. 
  5. Offer a memento, a photo, a card, a souvenir of your time together. It may be worth giving the gift before the airport. A metre tall cuddly toy may not be welcome at the last moment. Great for cuddling but it may not fit in the baggage plans of the person leaving. Smaller items need thought through too. I once had to turn down a goodbye gift because it didn't meet airline safety specifications.
  6. If you are visiting your homeland or your loved ones are visiting you, toast the goodbye in a place that you enjoy being in, one that you can have good memories of. A last meal, a pleasant walk. Talk over some of the good times you have had.
  7. Realise that in the build up to saying goodbye, there maybe anxieties or unusual behaviour. Either party is upset at the prospect of loss and this may be shown in being easily irritated or angry. Be aware that the anger is not directed at you but at the situation. Perhaps suggest that it is a tense time for you both. Be gentle with each other. Read more from Swedish Psychologist Dr Julie S. Lungdren and the first half of the  article "How to keep the 'good' in goodbye in the Wall Street Journal
  8. Make a tentative arrangement for when you will see each other or contact each other again, even if it is not certain, it gives you a connection to hold onto.
  9. Be aware of PLT - Pre leaving tension. Not just the behaviour as in tip 7 but the tensions and tears beforehand. Read more here, part of Chapter 7 of The Emotional Challenges of Immigration
  10. Goodbyes are part of life's progression. You have to say goodbye to stages of your life to make space for new experiences, new people. Embrace the change.


More information in these blogs Goodbyes, Part 1Part 2Part 3

15 Apr 2015

Ten tips for easier goodbyes part 3

This post has the last of the tips on making goodbyes easier. Tips 1-3 are here and 4-7 are here. These previous posts include links, quotes and anecdotes about goodbyes.

I would love to read your experiences of goodbyes. All comments are welcome at the bottom of this or the previous posts.

Ten tips for easier goodbyes continued..

8.     Make a tentative arrangement for when you will see each other or contact each other again, even if it is not certain, it gives you a connection to hold onto.
9.     Be aware of PLT - Pre leaving tension. Not just the behaviour as in tip 7 but the tensions and tears beforehand. Read more here, part of Chapter 7 of The Emotional Challenges of Immigration
10.   Goodbyes are part of life's progression. You have to say goodbye to stages of your life to make space for new experiences, new people. Embrace the change.






Goodbyes have to be part of our life to move to a new stage. A toddler has to say goodbye to being carried everywhere. Having emigrated, we have to embrace change and say goodbye to some of the familiar. We have to accept there are parts of life that we have to say goodbye to; easy access to our loved ones, cultural celebrations the way we remember them, we may even have to say goodbye to some of our plans or expectations when we discover the plans and expectations don't fit into our new environment.

For those who have been through emigration, the people you love in your homeland will have found the prospect of you leaving difficult. Parents and friends have to let you go. Those you love have to let go of access to you too. As an immigrant of nearly thirty years, I am now having to say goodbye to my children as they have leave home.
My son went overseas last year, and two daughters have gone to university. Each occasion has been sad, but also exciting as I anticipate their adventures ahead. I am fortunate that they are leaving for such positive reasons.

I handed  over my first adult-child to life’s rich pageant a few years ago. As the time to say goodbye approached, we embraced eagerly and I

19 Mar 2015

Warning: Emotions overpower economics for return migrants

 As a migrant you may have a better lifestyle, a satisfying job and prospects of a great education for your children, as well as a continual sense of discovery in your adopted country, but is this enough? For some migrants an underlying 'missing' can become overwhelming. Read more in the
newsletter. Sign up for free newsletters here.

What would make you return? Please comment below.

19 Feb 2015

Ten tips for easier goodbyes part 2

Making goodbyes easier:



Ten tips on saying goodbye cont. Tips 1-3 in the previous blog on goodbyes.

4.   Be honest with your goodbyes. Say what you feel and when it comes to the final parting, don't draw it out. You have to part some time. In Wikihow method two, long term goodbyes suggest being brief and sincere. 

5.   Offer a memento, a photo, a card, a souvenir of your time together. It may be worth giving the gift before the airport. A metre tall cuddly toy may not be welcome at the last moment. Great for cuddling but it may not fit in the baggage plans of the person leaving. Smaller items need thought through too. I once had to turn down a goodbye gift because it didn't meet airline safety specifications.

6.   If you are visiting your homeland or your loved ones are visiting you, toast the goodbye in a place that you enjoy being in, one that you can have good memories of. A last meal, a pleasant walk. Talk over some of the good times you have had.

7.   Realise that in the build up to saying goodbye, there maybe anxieties or unusual behaviour. Either party is upset at the prospect of loss and this may be shown in being easily irritated or angry.

16 Feb 2015

Congratulations to the winners

Congratulations Anja and Su, your free book will be on its way soon.
To everyone else, there will be another chance to win a free book later. Watch this space.

29 Jan 2015

Marriage communication and picking plums


How can picking plums help your marriage as a migrant or someone in a transnational relationship? Find out by reading the latest newsletter. The tip given here will help any form of communication. Read this and more in Newsletter 9.
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