In one of my previous posts, “Are expat more resilient ?” , I talk about the process of building physical and mental strengths after being exposed to various stressful events, several culture shocks and overall how being an expat can actually boost your resilience.
Regarding “culture shock” I like the story of Jane a British expat woman who recall her experience of “Culture Shock In America” The type of issues she went through might be seen as futile for non-expats, but this is the kind of frustrations you have to deal as a new comer that is adding to the stress of moving.
I had similar experiences and shared them in my previous post as “ Tips For New Expats Moving To America”
Sunday August 28, I tested once again my resistance to stress during a natural disaster, this time hurricane Irene came to our town.
We moved to our new house in New Jersey in July 2011 in the middle of a heat wave with temperature peaks at about 100 F (38C).
Four weeks later, we had quite busy and stressful days unpacking 650 cartons coming from Belgium our previous location. My husband and I moved 12 times in 20 years back and forth, Europe, Japan, America and it was move #5 for my ten year old son.
I experienced also some kind of culture shock but quite mild and overall I am still in the “honey moon” phase. I love our neighborhood, I met couple of new friends, my son too and we met his teachers who are really nice.
We spent our Saturday talking with an eye watching the weather channel. We live less than 60 Km west from NYC and some parts of Manhattan have been evacuated because of flooding risks.
We were very calm, well prepared in case of power outages with plenty of bottles of water, canned food, flash lights, Cell phone charged and we have our bath tubs full of water.
Our house is unlikely to experience flooding as we are on the top of a small hill, but we didn’t know about the strength of the wind when we went to bed Saturday night.
Hopefully we only have a power outage that started 28 hours ago and that is still not resolved but no damage and everybody I know did not get hurt or had property damage.
I don’ t know if we have bad luck or have more probabilities to encounter dangerous and potentially deadly situations, but I could make a movie about our expat life with the title :
” A Terrorist Attack, a Tsunami and a Hurricane Did Not Kill Us but Made Us Stronger”
From each disaster we always learned something new that we could use later like the 2003 NYC blackout prepared us for Irene and power outage.
Here few events that happened during our 20 years of expat life.
I gave birth to my son in NYC 12 days after 9/11. In Manhattan we had “fun” in August 2003 with a 36 hours blackout with no water and 100 F heat: no AC, no water (in case of power outages the water stops being pumped with electric pumps in buildings), we also had to climb the 8 floors of stairs with a 2 year old!
We were in the middle of the December 2004 Tsunami while on vacation on a small island in the Indian Ocean.
We experienced many earthquakes in Tokyo which was part of our life in Japan but hopefully we were not there for the big one last March 2011 , we worried a lot as many of our friends lives in Japan. We got an earthquake 5.8 from Virginia last week but absolutely not scary for us.
Now the biggest hurricane on the East Coast for 30 years
WHAT DOES NOT KILL YOU MAKES YOU STRONGER
No wonder why I think expats are more resilient !