I haven’t been here for a long time.
I have been planning this post for too long; the plan was to write something on the lessons learned from the first year I live alone in a foreign country. At some point I got tired of planning and here’s the result..
This year was one of the best and I’m sure everything that happened will be vivid in my memory forever..
I experienced myself, my limits, my capabilities and most of all my weaknesses. Being Egyptian in the land of the Vikings was interesting but there are some ..uhmm Cultural habits or ways of thinking that need change.
1- Learn to say NO: Egyptians can’t say “No” when someone asks to borrow something or asks for a favor we just can’t turn him down. We end up doing something we didn’t want to do or settling for something we didn’t want just to please others, and the funny part is that we expect others to do the same for us.. WRONG!! Just say that you don’t feel like going out, or you don’t want to share your sandwich, a Moroccan girl taught me that being super honest is much better than being miserable. Kind of a YOLO thing.
2- Don’t be TOO nice: so I’ve been told (repeatedly) that I was too nice to the point that people misunderstand me. Being nice isn’t a bad thing but it got me into a lot of trouble so it’s not always good either. Think very carefully about the people around you, maybe you even want to categorize them in circles and be very decisive about it. Remember, only special people deserve special treatment.
3- Be Flexible: don’t hold on to ideas or thoughts rigidly. Be prepared to change your opinion or experience something new or look at something from a new angle. Don’t be confined to the limits of what you know because believe me what you know is never enough.
4- Just ASK: as I said in a previous post, asking can solve lots of problems. Whether it is asking for directions, favors or just random questions, you will end up learning something new. Being shy isn’t really sexy.
5- Ask yourself “am I trying to impress someone?”: This lesson is the most efficient, this question has really been a blessing for me. Every time I worry too much about how I look or the way I eat or a stupid thing I said, I ask myself this question; the answer is usually no and that gives me the confidence to do what I want and really be myself and you have no idea how liberating that feels.
6- Look for the silver linings: As humans we have a natural tendency to amplify anything bad that happens to us and use it to erase anything good. How many times did you pick a fight with a friend and started pouring everything bad he did for the past 10 years and forgot all about the nice things??? This is just sad, be fair and objective to yourself, others and other things, or prepare yourself for a shitty moment when you will say “I wish I appreciated … more”.
7- There’s more to you than you think: When I went back to Cairo, I was telling my mum about random things that happened during my stay in Denmark. The woman was shocked, she said “I can’t believe you have been through all this”. Don’t define your limits, test them and trust me you will be amazed.
Those are the seven lessons I learned this year and plan on working on for the next one. As for Denmark, it will always and forever have a special place in my heart, it’s the place where I got to know my real self, met amazing people and created memories that will last forever. I’m sure it won’t be the last time we meet Denmark..
Vi Ses snart 😉