What happens when you visit your home country? Do you have an amazing time? Do you really enjoy it or are you feeling this underlying anxiety because you know you are gonna have to leave? Is your heart breaking ahead of time? Do you question yourself? Is America my home or should I stay here? No matter what the feeling is, these visits to us immigrants are super precious. If you’d like to enjoy your time there even more, listen to this episode.
Hi friends, this is Ewelina, Life Coach for Immigrants, I am back in the US. I was in Poland for the last month and listen… I had the best time ever. It was such an amazing, amazing time. It was my first visit since my divorce so my soul really needed reconnecting with my roots. It felt like I went back to my nest, to heal and charge my batteries up. If you are an immigrant you might know what I am talking about. There are these things that happen, that shake us, and reconnecting with the deepest roots help us feel that inner strength again. When I was there I didn’t only got to charge up my batteries, I got to do so many awesome things. First of all I got to visit Toruń, my most favorite Polish city. Then I went back to my parents home and I spent the rest of the visit there. We went mushroom hunting, which is my most favorite thing to do in Poland in the fall time. We have beautiful forests in the part of Poland where I am from and ever since I was a little child I was taught by my parents and my grandparents to love nature. So one of things I really miss when I am in the States is being in the Polish forests, especially that I live in Florida now, so the nature here is quite different.
So today I am going to talk to you about what is the best thing to do when you get back from visiting your home country.
I think you all will agree with me that these visits are super important. For some of you go once or twice a year or even more often. Others of you have not been to your home country in years. And either way, these visits mean a lot to us all. So I want to help you make most of your visit. You can plan it really well, and we will make a separate episode on planning your trip but this episode is for when you leave your home country. Leaving your home country is a really great time to make sure that your next visit is even better. How do we improve the quality of our time there? We examine. So today I am gonna share with you some of the really great questions to ask yourself after you go home. Before we get there I want to talk to you about some of the things that I talk to my clients with. Because obviously I coach immigrants. I am a life coach for immigrant women that come from the similar part of the world that I do, from Europe and that live in the US. And what happens is that in our sessions we talk about that journey. The journey of being an immigrant, and we talk about some of the struggles that come along with it. Obviously we talk about other things too but this is a very important piece of our identity, being an immigrant, missing your home, missing your roots, feeling torn apart, feeling like you don’t belong. I talk to my clients about this often, because it’s an ongoing thing. So we miss our home, we miss the places, the people, the food, the whole experience of being Polish or German, or Latvian, Lithuanian, Czech, Russian. Whatever is your home of origin you miss the experience of being merged in that culture, in that place. Like the whole experience of being there. That’s what we miss. And then we go and there is a lot of things that happen when we go. So let’s talk about what happens before we leave.
First of all there is this feeling like we are being torn apart. On one hand you are excited because you are going back to normality. Maybe you’ve missed your American husband and your kids and there is a part of you that is really, really looking forward to seeing your loved ones in America. Maybe seeing your friends, going back to your job, your daily life, on the other hand you question: Is America really my home? Is it my home? Why is it that there is a huge part of me that just wants to stay here? Yes, I miss my American husband. I miss my children, but there is a part of me that really wants to stay. WHy is it that way? Maybe I made a wrong decision. Maybe America is not my home? Maybe I should be living in my home country? So when we have these kinds of questions in our minds we feel torn apart between two countries. When you are in the States you miss your home country, when you are in your home country you miss your husband and children in the US. It’s a hard place to be but that is the price that we pay for being immigrants. For many, many of my clients going back home will bring these questions up. That’s why I am mentioning it to you, because almost every single client I talk to has this experience. When they go back they start questioning, especially before they leave.
So this is a big deal and I will make sure to record a podcast episode, where we talk specifically about belonging. It’s a big deal. But now let’s go back to what else happens when we are there.
Some of us go back and feel really disappointed – the places have changed, people we loved are gone. Things are different. We are different. Now, this will happen oftentime after someone has had a longer break. So let’s say that you have been living in the US for 30 years and for the last 10 years you have stayed in the US, in America, and now you go back to your home country. Things will be different after 10 years. You will be different person. Now for many of my clients in this sort of situation what happens is that deep inside they want to feel these l feelings that they have experienced when we were younger. They want to feel that connection, the happiness, joy, the belonging. Right? And they think that we will experience these feelings automatically because we will be there, in those places with those people. And when it doesn’t happen they feel disappointed. But do you know why it doesn’t happen? Because these feelings, this joy, connection, belonging, these positive feelings are created by our minds, not by people or places. Now, being in certain places or with certain people might stimulate these positive feelings. But at the end of the day, your thoughts create your feelings.
I remember being in Toruń and feeling so happy, elevated. I don’t feel happy and elevated all the time in my days. It’s not that I feel that sense of joy and happiness and elevation inside of me so I really noticed that I am feeling this way. This like happiness, yeah? And so I asked myself: Why am I feeling this way? You know why I felt it? Because as I was walking down Old Market Square I was thinking to myself: I can’t believe I am here. This is so wonderful! I love it here. Oh my God, I can’t believe I am here. Those were the thoughts that were happening in my mind over and over and over. That’s exactly what was elevating my spirit. These thoughts were creating that feeling of awe, joy, happiness.
Someone else who was walking on the same street at the same time, might have thought: Gosh so many people here, I hate it. That person would have felt angry, annoyed. Think about this… same place, same time, different thought and completely different experience.
Why am I telling you this? Because I want to remind you that you have this power. You can decide how you want to feel, and you can create these positive feelings on purpose.
Even when far away from your home country you can feel happy, and at peace… These feelings are created by your mind. And when you are there you can feel any way you want to, all of that is up to you, my love. All of it is up to you.
So let’s go through some other things that might be happening when you go back home. Many of my clients have this thing where they are on one hand super happy to go back, like crying at the airport after you land happy, crying when you see your parents and the rest of the family happy, but then there is this part of them that knows that the visit will come to an end and they will have to leave and that makes them feel sad, there is this lurking sadness during the visit, at all times. Like: “This will end, I can’t stay here, I am gonna have to leave.”
So knowing that they will be leaving helps them appreciate things more, helps them want to connect to family members more because they know they won’t be able to see them.
So it can be a positive thing like when you remember that something is gonna end you appreciate the chance to be in the experience more. You are paying more attention and you are talking to people more intentionally.
But what often also happens is this underlying pressure. This thought: “I should be doing more.” and anxiety that does not go away. Because we feel that since we will have to leave and the time goes by super fast, we must enjoy it and we must appreciate it as much as possible.
And that inner anxiety is created by this thought. “I should be doing more.”
And so without really thinking things through we often feel obligated to see all the loved ones, all the aunties and uncles and cousins because they could be dead the next time you go back. This could be your last time seeing them, because you or them could die. This is especially intense if you have an older grandma or grandpa or a relative that is sick.
This “ I should be doing more comes with another thought, I must enjoy it and appreciate it as much as possible.” And this is another thought that will create a similar sort of feeling, similar pressure.
I think we all can agree that these visits to our home of origin are important. That if you don’t go for a while you can really, really feel it. Many of my clients feel like they live in 2 worlds, and when they go back they go to their old world, and then they come back and they are in their new world. I believe that this is so because often we are shifting between counties and cultures and continents sometimes, we are shifting between languages. There are solid differences not only in how people talk but in how people think, how they react to different situations. People in your culture might get super charged over something that an American would totally ignore, and vice versa. You might also feel that you become different when you go back there, right? Well first of all you speak your own language. I remember reading somewhere that this is a common phenomenon, that when you speak a different language your personality shifts slightly. You might be like me visiting your parents. When I am there I interact with my parents that I am a child too, so I am with them in my child archetype. Meaning I will always be their daughter. I might be a 43 years old woman but to my mom and to my dad I will always be their Ewelinka I will always be their daughter. So they interact with me in a specific way and I interact with them in a very specific way as well. I am not a business woman when I am talking to my dad. Hehe Trust me, that’s not what’s happening. I want for you to stop a second here and think: Does this happen to you? That your personality shift slightly when you go back home? Maybe you like me, go visit your parents and so you are also reconnecting to that “child” part of you? Maybe your grandparents are still alive, so when you are interacting with them from that “grandchild“ part of your personality is activated. These are important things because they will influence how you show up when you are there. Why do you feel a certain way when you are there? Why are there certain people that you love connecting with and others that you don’t really care for?
These visits are so precious, right? Especially when they are rare in your experience and so I wanna help you an incredible, incredible visit for yourself. And one of the best times to prepare for your next visit is to think about the recent one. What is the best time to think about your recent visit? Right after you visited because the memories are still fresh in your mind, the experiences are still alive within you it’s easy for you to connect with them, so let’s talk about what is the best thing to do when you get back. You want to think about what went well, what didn’t go well and what you want to change. I’ve already told you that examining your experience is gonna allow you to improve it. So that this precious time you have is spent in the best possible ways. Now I have a bunch of questions you could ask yourself. So first of all let’s think about your relationships. It’s really about the family for a lot of us and so let’s start there. Who are the most important people in your life that live in your home country? List them all. Did you visit them? Have you seen everyone you wanted to? Is there anyone on that list that you didn’t get to see for a specific reason? Maybe there wasn’t enough time? Maybe you just didn’t make an effort, who knows? It’s good to ask that question especially if that person is important to you. Now, the next step to take if you want to explore it a little bit deeper is, you could choose the ones that are the most important to you, right? So you look at your list. These are the people I’ve visited, and then you chose the ones that are the most important to you.
What do you appreciate about this person? Look at each one of them and write down their qualities. What do you appreciate about them? Now thinking about this recent visit, what have you learned about this person during this trip? Has there been anything different? Have they changed? You know, cause it’s like… obviously time passes and we change because we get older right? But maybe there is something else? Maybe one of your friends has lost 30 lbs and has proven to herself and to you as well that she can be disciplined and that she can take a great care of herself and you have not seen that about her before and so, that’s something that could maybe inspire you to do something for yourself, right? That’s just an example.
Now, the next thing you could ask yourself is this: How could you be a better person in this relationship? Right? So depending on a relationship you are examining it could be: How could you be a better daughter? A better son? A better sister, brother, friend?
The next part you could examine, could be places. Cause there are some places that are more special than others, right? So ask this question: Where have I been? And then list all the places. Now evaluate the experiences there. From 1 to 10. With 1 being: “I don’t want to go back.” and 10 being: “I must go back.”
For each one of these, you could write in why you feel that way. So for example I would rate my experience in Toruń at 10. And if I was to explain why? I would say that because that town makes me feel magical. There are so many places that remind me of some of the best years of my life. I studied in Toruń, okay? I was in my 20’s when I lived there. I remember walking down these streets with my friends, laughing, crying because I laughed so hard, and going on dates with some really special guys in my life too. So there were a lot of very positive emotions that I’ve experienced in that city so that’s why I feel like I have this sentiment. Obviously it’s a beautiful, beautiful city as well. And the vibe of this city is something I absolutely love. I love the old market, and sitting at one of the restaurants and just people watching. It’s so much fun.
So the next thing that you could also think about is, you could list the top 3 moments from this trip? What were the best moments that will stay with you forever? What is it that you would want to remember forever? Why were these moments special? Did you share them with someone special? Who was it?
The next thing that you could think about is the negative side of it, because in your home country it’s still a 50/50 life experience. Half of it is gonna be great, half of it is not gonna be. So I am sure, you also, like me, experience some struggles. So let’s think about the struggles: What were the 3 biggest struggles during that trip?
What did you do well when dealing with each one of them and what could you have done better?What have you learned about myself?
Now the next part that you could do is you could finish these 2 sentences:
This trip could have been better if I… For example: If I spent more time with this and that person. If I worried less about… If I spent my money on this and that… If I paid more attention to this and this and that, right? You see where that goes. So that’s the first sentence to finish: “This trip could have been better if I…” The next sentence to finish is: “The next time I go I want to experience…” and then you just list what it is that you want to experience again make that very, very clear.
So these are the questions I have for you. Obviously the best thing to do is to answer them, and then before you go back when you are planning your trip review your answers, review it so that your next trip will be that much better. Answering these questions will help you clarify for yourself who is the most important to you, who is the most important to you, why is it? And then also what do you want more of in your life? Why? So that the next time you go your trip will be even more amazing.
When we do this kind of work, when we answer these questions we are taking care of the future you who will be living that reality of the next trip. So for me, going back to Toruń is a must. I must go back there. I love it so much I want to spend more time there.
It makes my heart grow. But I must go back to the Polish forest again. And not once but many times because I love it that much. So there is me in the future who will be living that experience. She will be walking there inhaling that pure cold air, she will be touching the bark of the trees, feeling gratitude for being there. I want to give myself that experience. Now, remember my friendskis I have been to Poland many times. I’ve been in the States almost 20 years, right? So I have gone many, many times. But it was not always as obvious to me that I must go back to the Polish forest or that I must visit Toruń. It was the process of evaluation that helped me gain that clarity. This is why I talk to you about this and why I recommend it, because I know what a difference that it has made in my life. Each one of my trips going back is super special because I keep on evaluating and making that experience better for myself and you can do that too. And also remember that you change, your relationships change, your priorities change, your values in your life change, your needs change. So when you are paying attention to yourself, when you are actually answering some of these questions I have given you, when you give yourself a chance to get to know yourself better, you can give yourself a better life and at the end of the day, you deserve it. You deserve it. Alright my friends, this is it for today. I highly recommend that you do this evaluation, that you ask yourself these questions. They are deep, they are good, but once you give yourself a chance to really get to know yourself, once you give yourself a chance to really examine your experience of your last trip you are taking care of the future you who will be living the experience of that trip and that’s such a beautiful gift to the future you. Okay my friends this is it for today, I will talk to you in the next episode.
Before we end today, I want to remind you about a few things. If you are new to this podcast, please make sure to follow this show so you get notified about all the new episodes coming out. If you enjoyed it, please leave me a review. It will help me reach more of us immigrants that need mental and emotional support on this often difficult journey. I also want to make sure that you know about the free course I made for you. It’s about how to feel good hanging out with Americans when you’re the only immigrant in the group. So this course is for those of you who live in the US but you feel really stressed when you go to any type of gathering where Americans are present. And you have to talk to them, right? On one hand, you want to start building connections and start feeling like you belong. You want to just be yourself like you were able to be yourself with your friends in your home country but it’s hard to feel at ease because you worry about saying something wrong. You are worried that you will be judged for your accent and that you will feel less than everybody else. And unfortunately you remember all the awkward moments that have already happened in the past when you were in a social situation, when you said something wrong, or you didn’t know what to say and the silence was so awkward. So you feel really stressed before you even go, and then you get there and it’s just not good. You are not enjoying yourself at all. Friends, I know this! I know it so well what that’s like because it was me, for a very long time and in this course I share with you my secret sauce because today I feel very comfortable hanging out with Americans and with others. So this course will help take of yourself when you are in a social situations so that you don’t judge yourself harshly, you plan and you take care of yourself ahead of time, so that when you go even if you do feel stressed, ( although a lot of the work I do will help you not to) even if you mess up and say something wrong you don’t make it worse by ignoring yourself and being harsh to yourself. So if you feel stressed in social situations, if you tend to get really quiet, and withdrawn and then you come back home and you are disappointed because you wanted to make new friends but it didn’t even feel close to what it was like with the friends from your home country, look in the description of this show. That’s where you will find a link where you can sign up for this course and this course is free. It’s my gift to you. Because I know what it’s like to feel anxious, and stressed, and insecure in those kinds of situations. I remember how that influenced my life overall. How I played small. How I didn’t see my strength, I didn’t believe in myself. I wasn’t taking risks, because I was afraid of freely being me. I didn’t feel safe to connect, because I didn’t have a relationship with myself where I would allow myself that freedom of expression, because of the judgment. I was judging myself very very harshly and I was limiting myself, because I didn’t feel safe within myself. So I help you create a very different environment and very different relationship with yourself as a result of that course, that;’s what will happen. You will be a different person to yoursel and that is, that’s the base of my work, that’s where it all starts, really… So this course is a good introduction to what it’s like to be working with a coach, although obviously you wouldn’t be working with me 1 on 1 when you are taking a course that is pre-recorded but it will give you a little bit of this glimpse into coaching overall. In that course, I also tell you my immigrant story, I tell you what it’s been like, so you get a chance to get to know me a little bit better, so look for that link in the description of the show.
And if you don’t have that issue, if that’s totally not for you… you feel very comfortable Americans, you feel comfortable around all different kinds of people, that’s wonderful because that is a very good space to be but if you found this episode helpful and this podcast helpful I want to invite you to follow me on social media. I am on Instagram and on Facebook. You can just look me up. Look up Life Coach for Immigrants and you’ll find me. Alright, my friends. That’s it for today, have an amazing, amazing day. I hope you appreciate your strength. I hope you appreciate how far you have come. I will talk to you next time. Bye.