3 Weeks On & Life in Bahrain is Not Dull…
Day 2 & my husband has a head on car accident, Phoebe (our lovely lab) is not eating, our containers are still not with us, my teenage children are not happy to be here, & are bored & acting out, every trip I make takes double the time from getting lost, three times to the bank before I can open an account, 5 hours at the car service centre… Yep, there have been challenges!
I’ve cried, I’ve meditated, I’ve soaked in the bath, I’ve shouted, I’ve taken my Bach Flower Remedies, I’ve done qigong, I’ve used essential oils, I’ve phoned a friend, I’ve snapped, I’ve slept, I’ve journaled, I’ve used my reiki & Jin Shin Jyutsu… Whatever I have done, it has been what I needed to do at that time – in the present, the here & now. Not always easy, not always the best choice but trying to keep my thoughts positive & get through each day.
So whilst I sit in a camp chair, listening to the birds chirping, I thought I would reflect & share some valuable insights into moving to a new country.
Out of Control
Being a bit of a Control Freak, I sometimes have difficulty seeing that other people have their own way of doing things, that might not be the way I would do it! The mantra “you can’t control anything or anyone” runs through my head, as well as my children love to regurgitate my ‘words of wisdom’ to me at the most inopportune times!
Moving to a new country always entails an openness of accepting new cultures, & new ways of seeing & doing things. Now my fourth major move, I know that the first few months can be difficult as you do all the necessary paperwork, orientate yourself, learn the currency & start putting yourself out there to meet new people. And so many opportunities come up, where you just have to “go with the flow”. This can feel tiring, frustrating, disheartening, down right exasperating, & sometimes it can feel daunting & frightening. However there is also the excitement & newness of it all. Through all the uncomfortableness, don’t look back, move forward – your world has expanded & is much richer for it.
This virtue is something I’ve told my family we will definitely learn, especially whilst over here, where traffic is bumper to bumper & everyone is cutting in & out of lanes, where there is a process to get visas, ID cards, bank accounts opened. And yet I also see how it is easy to slow down here, particularly as it gets hotter – physically, you have to go at a slower pace. Finding certain groceries may mean shopping at 2-3 different supermarkets or getting on the wrong highway may mean another 20 minutes added to your journey.
I actually think that our fast paced lifestyles where it is all about what we have, what we’re doing, what we’ve achieved have made us impatient & wanting instant gratification. We have access to information & shopping sites almost instantly. We are driven by speed & action. However there are still things we have to wait for – in my case waiting for my furniture to arrive or for Phoebe to get used to the food here. For others, maybe setting up a business, a reply to a text or an email, even just waiting for friends to turn up for dinner!
More & more I see that practicing patience leads to a happier, less stressful life. Being patient is the difference between annoyance & calm, between anger & peace. It is a connection to our mental & physical well being – blood pressure & heart rate go up which can then lead to heart disease. Someone who is patient tends to be more hopeful & satisfied with their lives, being positive & feeling less depressed.
It is not just with life but with people. When we are impatient, we do not give time to others. In relationships, showing patience demonstrates a generous, forgiving, warm character trait. Think of a long supermarket line of annoyed people where it is also the cashier who has to get through the queue & receives a sympathetic smile from a shopper, or it has been a long day & your kids are refusing to go to bed & your husband takes over.
Since I broke my leg – I have had to slow down. My family get frustrated with me when I want to take a break or I’m not walking fast enough but I kind of like it. It’s a reminder to stop, look around, & take things in.
Everyday there is an opportunity to practice patience – at home with family, at work with colleagues, at the supermarket check out, in the car… Take time to be still, connect, appreciate, you will still get everything done & you might even enjoy yourself along the way!
Kindness is defined as “the quality of being friendly, generous & considerate”. From people who haven’t even met us lending their chairs, mattresses, bedding & crockery, & even opening up their house when my husband had his accident, to the security guard & the utilities personnel staying past closing time to help us turn our electricity on, to the simplest act of ensuring we had toilet paper in the villa when we arrived. All acts of kindness that have made our crazy start to Bahrain an easier transition.
Kindness is also healthy for us! Being kind makes us feel good by increasing dopamine – which is the happiness chemical produced by our brain. It also creates feelings of connectedness, life purpose & reduces anxiety.
In a society that has largely been perceived as competitive & self-interested, It doesn’t take much to show a bit of kindness & there have been many studies that show it has a knock on effect. Take time out today to smile at a stranger, let another driver come into your lane, bring treats into the office, offer someone your seat on the bus – something small but it goes a long way to making someone’s day – I promise!