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The incredible power of moving abroad

Less than two weeks ago I moved to Geneva. I am going through the honeymoon phase typical of moving to a new country.

I practice Linguistic Empathy and I expect you to do the same. Please bear with me if my English is not perfect.

This is certainly not my first time moving abroad: it’s the tenth. And of course, each move, each country had their own particularity. I have been an expat on my own, with my partner, with the children, and then empty nested. I have really gone through a myriad of feelings and situations.

One thing, however, never changed every time I was moving abroad: the adrenaline that marks the first period in a new country, the immense happiness of realizing that I had once more the chance to build a period of life weaving it with an unknown culture.

trasferimento all'estero
Leaving with my cat Grigiotta

A couple of weeks ago I moved to Geneva to stay, after months of coming and going and of uncertainty about the future (even though we expats always look at the future on a short-term basis).

These days I am happily getting settled: me and my husband are organizing our home, I take contact with my friends here, I explore new possibilities and get informed about how things work.

This process, as it always happened whenever I was moving abroad, fills me with an incredibly powerful energy, a cheerfulness and enthusiasm that increase my self-esteem and my trust in life.

And it’s not only because when moving to a new country days magically fill up with new discoveries, and this is wonderful. It is also, and maybe foremost, because every move abroad means to reinvent yourself a bit. It is the chance to introduce new things and habits in your routine. Your whole life must adapt to a different environment: new home, new neighbourhood, people, food…it’s a new YOU which is born, while integrating all of your past and the pieces of cultures that have inhabited your heart.

Moving abroad also means to awaken latent skills, always. And these include promptness, intuition, creativity, analytical skills, concentration, just to name a few. It is a way to realize how much you have learned on the way, and how beautiful and fulfilling it is to create new scenarios where you can express yourself at your best.

For me, this is a different expatriation. I have always lived in countries whose culture is very far from mine, and often shaken by huge social, political and climatic challenges. Rich Switzerland is a totally foreign context for me. In the past, when there had been occasions to postulate for a position here, I used to tell my husband I would only go and live in Geneva when I was dead. I really meant it. For me, moving abroad meant to get close to the most vulnerable portion of the planet, to situations that shook me deeply and really taught me something new and important.

I will certainly come back to this point. In the meantime I am positively surprised by the fact that I still go through the same feelings that always accompanied me when moving abroad. And even though this is a Western culture, and in many ways closed to the one that shaped me, there are tons of things to discover, some of them really surreal 🙂 It will be my privilege to share them with you.

Claudia Landini
January 2020
Photos ©ClaudiaLandini

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