Learning to go with the flow

I’ve always been a stickler for the rules, someone who lives by a schedule, and someone who likes everything to go according to plan. Okay… that makes me seem a bit lame and scary, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that I like organization and precision.

I’ve never been one of those last minute people who are able to just go with the flow. I always feel as though there’s always something I should be doing or something I could be doing, that if I just stopped and didn’t work according to a plan, I would be missing out on something else. This is often annoying as it is frankly impossible to do EVERYTHING in life and to do it all to a high quality. While you’re too busy trying to be perfect you miss out on the small things in life that are quite special.

This is something that I vowed to change about myself last year. After finishing the last school year, I was sick and tired of always feeling like I had to stick to a schedule in order to get everything done. I wanted to take some time off, do whatever I felt like, while still being productive. I wanted to re-program my work-style into a more sustainable one – a schedule that didn’t stress me out as much, and one that was flexible based upon how I was feeling or if I wanted to do something special that day.

You see, with sticking to a schedule, I always felt like I was missing out on something. Maybe it was time I wanted to spend with my family or time I wanted to spend face timing a friend abroad, I always felt as though if I strayed from my planned out schedule I would not get everything done. Living like this was exhausting, not to mention draining. This is why I wanted to change it this year, and I have to say I am happy with the progress I’ve made.

I may not be in a perfect place yet, but I am still proud of how far I’ve come. I have more work than ever before to do this year, but strangely I don’t stick to a schedule as tightly as before. I realized that you’re never going to have everything finished, so you might as well integrate your work with something fun, and take yourself less seriously, otherwise, you’re never going to be able to let go.

Now, I can only speak from my own experience, and perhaps, this only applies to teenagers like myself, I’m not sure. But I know that constant worrying and stressing does nothing. It gets you nowhere, and you always feel like there is more to be done. Recently I’ve been trying to be more flexible with my work and take it wherever I need to go. Sometimes if I know I’ll be spending a lot of time in the car, I won’t let that stress me out, I’ll just make sure I have some work to do while I’m there. Or if my family decides that they want to go to the beach in an hour, I won’t say no just because I haven’t got it scheduled in my diary. I’ll assess my situation and take the time off and enjoy myself for a bit. Of course, this isn’t a rationale for slacking, but it’s a reminder that you need to take a breather once in a while and just go with the flow. Do something based upon how you’re feeling because after all a bit of spontaneity is good for us.

Next time you let your stress get the better of you, just remember that nothing will ever be 100% perfect, just put all of your efforts into it, and also take some time for yourself to do something you enjoy. What do you think about this? I would love to know, share your ideas in the comment section.

See you next week!

Little Miss Expat

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It’s that time of the year again… ‘Moving Season’

Hi guys,

As the school year draws to a close, and the summer holidays are getting nearer, I for one am super excited! But for any expatriates, it ushers in this dreaded time of year, the moving season. For anyone who lives abroad, or goes to an international school, the end of the school year means saying goodbye to some people but also meeting a lot of new people in September.

I for one really dislike this ‘season’, it will always be really hard to see friends leave, and any expatriate will know the struggle. Especially in a place like Dubai where a lot of people only stay for around 2 years before they move onto their next home. And for someone who’s used to being the one leaving, it’s hard to be the one staying behind and saying goodbye.

Last year one of my really good friends moved to Paris, I still miss seeing her every day, but I’ve been lucky enough to visit her. I thought it might be interesting to get her input on this topic and ask her a few questions about what it felt like when she moved. Here they are!

What did you find the hardest thing about moving?

Honestly, the hardest thing about moving was adapting to a new city. Since I moved to Paris, at first, it was really difficult for me to speak French when ordering coffee, or shopping around. My mom or friends would have to order food for me! Eventually, I had to start speaking French and doing things myself. I just needed the confidence! Another thing was socializing with new people. I found it really awkward to start conversations with new people (despite being very talkative) because I was scared that they would judge me. But don’t hesitate to start a conversation with someone! They might end up being one of your really close friends.

How did you feel in your first few days in your new home?

I don’t think I’ve ever been more stressed actually! When our boxes arrived, we had 168 of them! Everything was all over the place! I felt the most stressed with my own stuff because I had to find my school supplies, arrange my room (which was a complete disaster), and figure out where to place everything. A few days later, all the boxes were gone and we could finally enjoy our new home! I really love our apartment now and feel completely relaxed when I come into my room.

Looking back now, are you happy where you are now and that you moved?

I am really happy that I moved. However, it did take me a few months to actually realize that I wasn’t going to move back to Dubai. I was really sad and down at the beginning of our move (despite being in Paris!), but I knew that I was going to visit Dubai and keep in touch with my friends 24/7. I’ve learned so many things about this city, and have had so many new and fun experiences! Paris is a really amazing place to live in, and I am beyond lucky to call it my home.

What’s one thing you will always miss about Dubai?

This sounds super cheesy but my friends! I’ve known some of my friends there since I was in 4th grade, so it was really hard to leave them. I had the best memories ever there and I am so so lucky and grateful that I get to keep all of those souvenirs with them.

Is there one piece of advice you would give to someone moving?

Get out and about! When I first moved, everyone kept inviting me to go places with them, but I was so nervous because I didn’t know the city. Looking back, now I regret not going out with those friends because I’m sure we would have been much closer now. Some tips: download some apps for your city! Apps such as CityMapper: tells you when the next train, bus, or metro arrives. Dojo: a great app to show you all the new restaurants, and activities to go to in multiple cities! Bandsintown: tells you all the artists playing in your choice of city! These apps are essential especially when you don’t know what to do or where to go!

A huge thank you to my friend for answering all of these questions! And I hope her advice is useful to anyone moving abroad this summer! As the friend who was not the one moving, I also wanted to give you guys a bit of advice, as I know it can be really hard.

One thing that’s really important to remember is that you’re not just going to completely fall out of touch with your friend. Sure, you won’t see them in person as much as you used to, but that doesn’t mean you can’t talk with them any less. You can still call, facetime, message, snapchat each other weird photos, or send each other funny memes on Instagram. Just because a friend is moving away it doesn’t mean the friendship is over. It just means the friendship will take a new form. I still talk to my friend all the time, and we were even lucky enough to visit each other. (some of you might remember my Paris blog post, that’s when I visited her)

Overall, I think it’s just super important to remember that life is what you make of it, you can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control the way that you deal with it and what you make of the situation. People moving away is one of those situations which is sad, but also exciting as it’s the start of a new adventure for the person moving. And as the friend staying behind, you also have to support your friend with this new chapter in their life. Don’t view moving as something bad, shift your focus, and see it as the start of something exciting and different.

I hope this advice helped some of you! And let me know if you liked this format of this post with the interview. Another massive thank you to my friend and all her advice in this post, I really hope you guys enjoyed it!

Little Miss Expat

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What are we doing to the Earth? – Earth Day 2018

Hi Guys,

With it being Earth Week, I wanted to share some of my thoughts and explain a bit about why I’m certain we all need to make changes in our lives, to save the earth from what we’re continuing to do to it.

No matter where you come from, your race, your religion, your background, we all live on this Earth. We all eat, sleep, and breath, in the same place that our ancestors have, and I would say will continue to (but you never know with science…) If the struggle of what we’re doing to the planet can’t bring us all together, then I don’t know what will.

I’m currently taking a World History class, and one of the things I find interesting is that looking back at history, the things people struggled with seem crazy when we look at them from this far away. We find it unimaginable to believe that just centuries ago people struggled with things such as communicating with each other, when we can just whip out our phones today and send a text. And who knows, maybe 100 years from now the next generation will look back to this time, and be thinking, ‘how did they even struggle with the environment?’ or they could be thinking ‘what did they do to this earth?’ It’s up to us to make the changes so that hopefully they don’t think the latter.

This earth, the beautiful earth. That gives us food, water, places to live, resources we need, and holds ourselves and our families. What do we give it back? Nothing. Instead, we slowly break it down, stripping it of its natural resources, watching animals become extinct, and see natural wonders being broken down or destroyed. And we STILL can’t do anything? We make such an effort to speak up about indifferences around the world, in school we were all taught to speak up against a bully, and that ‘being a spectator is just as bad as being the executor’ yet we’re all doing exactly doing. We’re all watching each other destroy this planet without speaking up or taking action.

I’m not here telling you to all go vegan or to completely stop using paper, but it’s really the small changes that add up. With the UK planning to all ban plastic straws, and Q tips they’re using so much less plastic, and it’s just a small change in peoples lives. Or by stopping the sale of disposable plastic water bottles at your workplace or school, you’re cutting down on so much plastic usage. It’s the small changes that you make in your life, that wouldn’t seem like a lot, that really start paving the way for a difference.

Think about waking up in a world where the skies are grey every day with pollution, where rivers are brown and filled with garbage, where no fish or marine life swim, and where the last ice cap has melted. What could we do? There’s no getting the environment back. What’s done is done.

In light of Earth Day 2018, I’m also looking at changes I can make in my life that support the environment. Such as trying to eat vegetarian one day a week at first, looking at more sustainable ways to buy water (as you can’t drink tap water in Dubai) and buying containers takes a lot of plastic, strictly limiting the amount of disposable plastic I use (shopping bags, plastic cutlery etc…), and also trying to find reusable sandwich bags that  I can take my lunch in to school, instead of using plastic every day. What are you going to do to make a change?

There are so many resources available online that give you ways to support the environment, or statistics showing what will happen if we don’t do anything. I hope you all take a look at some of these, and make some small changes to help save the Earth. I would love to hear of anything you’ve done for Earth Week, so please leave a comment!

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See you next week!

Little Miss Expat 

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