Focus on the 1% That Makes 99% Difference

By Florence Reisch-Gentinetta

Two of the qualities most expatriates demonstrate are courage and curiosity. I think it takes a certain amount of courage to decide to move abroad and leave your friends, family, lifestyle and often your career behind to go and live on the other side of the world.

My experience has taught me that to live happily in a foreign country, you have to be open-minded, proactive and eager to discover your new environment while accepting, adapting to differences and to refrain from comparing. We must always remember that we are guests in our host country. Having a positive attitude also enriches and enables us to develop as individuals. Personally, the process of meeting myself and seeing myself grow is also one of the greatest gifts that expatriate life has given me.

One of the first emotions that expatriates experience when they arrive in a foreign country is often loneliness. Due to our cultural, religious and simply personal differences, leaving one’s comfort zone and reaching out to others is an action that requires a different effort from each of us. And yet, no matter how long you stay in the country, getting involved is the key to integrating, to belonging to your new community, to experiencing the country. Creating this new bond will enable us and our family to develop the connections and friendships that are essential to our emotional balance.

I remember that when I arrived in Jakarta I didn’t speak Bahasa Indonesia. It was a real barrier to communicating with locals who didn’t speak English. So I started taking lessons. I had all my vocabulary words on little white cards and during every car journey, and you know how much time you spend in a car in Jakarta, I was learning my new words. That’s how I was able to build up a real relationship with the Indonesians around me, whether at home, in the little local shops or during our discovery trips around this beautiful country.

Learning the language also means getting closer to the culture, understanding and respecting it. It’s also about avoiding missteps and gaining access to the opportunities offered by our host countries. This commitment on our part demonstrates a positive and respectful attitude towards the locals, who will naturally want to share their customs with us. Even today, 19 years later, I’m still very much in touch with my local friends in Jakarta, who at the time gave me unique experiences that I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t met them.

I also remember how Jakarta is a melting pot of many nationalities, each of which is also very active socially. Whether it was volunteering for social causes, organizing expat events or sports meetings, each of us could give of our time, discover a new passion or simply join a group of like-minded women so as not to be alone and to have access to a support network that would help us in many aspects of our daily lives.

Living a successful expatriate life is a real journey that I personally loved and that I enjoyed sharing in my book: “Expat Wife Happy Life! The Journey of a serial Expat”. I relate 25 years of expatriate life on 5 different continents. I talk about all the themes that affect expatriation and illustrate them with real personal and family life experiences, anecdotes, my challenges, my successes, the journey of TCK children, how I transformed opportunities into activities that helped me build the life I wanted for myself and my family.
As an expat coach by profession, I also invite my readers at the end of each chapter to reflect on powerful coaching questions, as I believe that going on expatriation is a real choice that requires personal reflection beforehand.

I hope you all enjoy reading “Expat Wife, Happy Life!, and that you have a wonderful time immersing yourself in your new country.

Don’t hesitate to connect with me on my website
“Expat wife, happy life” is now available in 6 languages on Amazon and many other online sites.

Florence Reisch – Founder of Coaching With The Flo
Expat coach & Author
Mother of 2 TCK

Florence is a serial expat who lived her last 25 years around the world and loves to connect with people and support expat women to live a happy life!

Based on her life experiences she graduated as an expat coach and wrote her first book: “Expat Wife, Happy Life! The Journey of a Serial Expat” Now available in 6 languages.

Flo’s book is an energy booster for futur and actual expat partner. Only based on real life experiences, she covers most aeras expats are facing while reassuring, inspiring, informing and engaging her readers. Her positiv mindset helped conqueered already many readers.

Flo enjoys volunteering in a global expat community, and led a business and development group for 2 years.

She likes to participate to podcasts and sharing her story about being an author and an expat with the press.

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