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Six important life lessons you learn from living abroad

I came first to Canada back in 2011, an angry young teenager with a full set of hair and brimming withanmélangeof hormones. It was my very first time across the Atlantic and I recall how long and arduous the 14-hour flight from Pakistan was. Trust me, sitting with your legs bundled and being served cafeteria food in an economy class is no fun. I was travelling though PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) so you have to give me due credit for being a daredevil. You can never be too sure when the rotary engine might stop working. But fortunately everything worked out well and PIA lived to see another day. Anyways I was greeted at the airport by my distant uncle who I got fond of later on; a rather sturdy man, in his mid 40s, humbly dressed with a docile smile across his face. He was kind enough to accompany me to Peterborough; a city, which I never thought, would become a second home to me. I’m inherently prone to avoiding details so Ill get straight to what I learnt from my time abroad, living independently. I’m sure most of you who’ll tread upon this would be able to relate with some of my experiences.

1)     You learn to survive. Survival does not imply being part of the “Hunger games”. It has a rather deeply etched meaning to it. You learn to look out for yourself, your interests and what you think is best for you.

2)     Have low expectations and forgive. Human beings have an innate trait to expect from people and become emotionally dependent on certain people in times of melancholic solitude.  I have noticed that you have a relatively higher tendency of getting hurt emotionally in aforeign country rather than in your native land. Convalescing from an emotional setback is much harder living independently than back home. But to achieve ultimate peace you need to continue forgiving.

3)     Learn to be thankful. Appreciate the people in your life and the blessings that surround you. I can blatantly say that over the passage of time in Canada, I came across some wonderful people, some stayed and while some left. Everyone deserves to be recognized regardless of how long they stay. This is one thing living abroad made me realize.

4)     Life goes on back home. You learn that it is psychologically and emotionally impossible to be living two parallel lives in two parallel worlds with alternating time zones. You have to make a choice to abandon one of them and it’s usually the life you had back home that you decide to leave. You are bereft of the life that formed a major portion of your subconscious. You learn that life really does go on back home.

5)     Everyday is not a bad day. You learn that just because you failed to catch the bus or missed an evening lecture or tripped on your way to class on Tuesday; the same cycle of events will happen on Wednesday. NO. Just because you had a bad day doesn’t mean the rest of the days are going to be catastrophically similar.

6)     Life is unpredictable and everything will not go according to us. 90% of the situations that we experience in our life are out of our control, only 10% of them are and we decide the outcome of that 10%. As philosophically paternal this advice may sound but everything happens for a reason and you get to live another day.

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