Confessions and Cashmere

cashmere, wine and pathfinding

Posts Tagged ‘culture

How I burnt out…

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Some of this blog is me climbing/tearing/breaking out of my 8 months of recovering haze, taking stock of where I am and moving forward to a better me and more positive future. Part of that process is working out where I went wrong. And part of that wrongness was my burn out.
I don’t think I couldn’t of not burnt out, because I wouldn’t listen to anyone at the time. I worked myself to the ground and I paid the consequences. As my family and friends said I was a car accident waiting to happen. It was just when and where. Here are the bigger elements of it.

The year before moving had been a big one. In that time,August 2010 to August2011, I had:

  1. Travelled to 4 different countries for work or to see my husband 7 times.
  2. Negotiated with my boss to work while away (usually I did this on my boyfriends bedroom floor), and then take the shitty shifts when I got home to make up for my physical absence.
  3. Spent the first 2 months of the 2011 having my first white christmas with my boyfriend turned fiance.
  4. To delay my return flights home to Australia because of the floods and then clean up my house as it was a flooded snake infested mess after the huge floods. (waterlogged insurance policies anyone?)
  5.  Gotten married and planned the wedding in 6 weeks, I allowed my husband to pressure me to do this (NEVER RECOMMENDED)
  6. Attended and completed full-time university study on campus
  7. Applied to the Embassy to marry in Australia and then applied for the living visa in the European country. (Paper work, tears and more paper work)
  8. Moved house by myself once in Australia and another time to France
  9. Worked full time the entire time I was in Australia

I know I had no kids, no pets, and my husband was in another country. BUT I kept on taking on extra normal life stuff, while dealing with everything that was bizarre. Here is a few small examples of voluntarily overloading myself when
I could have easily said no:

  • Sure Aunty H I’ll bake 2kgs of my famous cookies for your granddaughters school fete.
  • Yea Alana I’ll work that extra shift on top of my normal shift that day… Do you mind if I study when it gets quiet?
  • Mr C, do you need that power presentation on international business due Monday? Oh and will I get extra marks for this subject?
  • There is a birthday Ritz? Ok let me organise the restaurant, you organise the rest!
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I knew something wasn’t right, but I didn’t realise how wrong I’d let my life become. How empty and meaningless my actions had become. I was doing stuff but only in reaction. I had stopped being proactive and controlling how, who and what I spent my time and energy on.

I got in over my head. I’m talking about when I still couldn’t sleep cos my body was still holding left over stress. I yelled at my best-friends, and then would burst into tears on the phone to my mother for no reason. And then the Grand Final: Me the total foodaholic, had forgotten to eat properly for 4 days so I dropped a kilo or two, and I didn’t even get excited about it? HELLO??  I spent the last 4 months running on empty. 

By the time I arrived as an immigrant in France, my husbands mother-land, I was numb…I had spent the last 4 months running on empty. And here I was in totally new waters. I had no job, no university study (I had to wait for the new year intake for correspondence), I had no idea how to speak the language, heaps of time and no friends.. 90% of my husbands family can’t even understand English. Our house, which my husband had lived in for 6 months had transformed into a bachelors haven, it was empty, with a shitty couch and his idea of cleanliness. His prized possession was and still is, the huge over-sized flat screen TV.

When everything stops, sometimes you need to too.

Me? After not stopping for over a year? I was numb, isolated and exhausted.

I went from doing too much to having too much time.

I crashed. Hard.

Chelsea B
Have you ever burnt out? How? When? Do you think you could have ever stopped it?

Written by confessionsandcashmere

June 26, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Lessons Part 1

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I am an expatriate nearing my first year abroad. Here are a few small lessons on moving from Australia to France:

  1. Yes you have time differences between here https://i2.wp.com/i.chzbgr.com/completestore/2009/10/3/128990486648291259.jpgand home, 8 hours in fact. Don’t forget that when you call your mother to just have a chat. A missed 2am phone call her time sends her into a panic.
  2. Your Australian friends will call you for drunken conversations because they know you are awake. Hang up on them. If you don’t they’ll hate you at the end of the month when the phone bill arrives.
  3. Politics are worth fighting for here. Saying “you don’t care” is an offence. But the catch is when you pick a side. Right or Left side you always loose.
  4. Bread (pain) is a serious topic for conversation. Don’t say its boring or that generally you don’t eat bread.
  5. Potato is a vegetable, not a carbohydrate. They will eat potato with bread too.
  6. Talking about a hot day at 18 degrees Celsius will happen. This is not something laughable. You will dream of the past when a hot day was 32.  In winter it will also snow. So don’t pretend it’ll heat up during lunch time. Wear super thick socks and pants, not shorts, not a skirt but PANTS.
  7. Just because you moved to a European country with amazing food doesn’t mean that your husband won’t be addicted to McDonalds. In fact expect them to sneak it at least twice a week.
  8. They don’t understand Hawaiian pizza, in fact using pineapple in savoury food is nearly illegal. Asking for it in a restaurant will make you the joke of the night. (I’m even talking about sweet and sour pork!) Actually anything salty sweet is an alien concept. If you cook Apricot Chicken as a main dinner party dish. Expect weird faces and forks pushing the food all around the plate.
  9. You can make your dog only respond to your home language. In fact I recommend this; mine only listens to English commands which is great when you are in crowds, or around ass holes.
  10. People everywhere say no differently. Here be direct and expect direct. Maybe later means maybe later, not pretending to forget about you and never calling.
  11. Drinks before dinner is compulsory. If everyone is having a good time sometimes dinner is even forgotten. You will probably end up eating every piece of munchy food on that table. When I have times like these I thank myself for packing extra munchies that I can secretly go and chomp away at.  That way I look like less of a pig scavenging for every last potato chip.
  12. Learn every bad word in that second language. Doing so means that you know when someone is rude to your face. It also means that you can sing drunkenly and sub in rude words when you forget them. This is a great way to take off the heat if you don’t understand the song.
  13. People don’t understand distance here. They will tell you they are spending a week in Australia and yes they do really plan to drive from Brisbane to Cairns for a weekend. Then they’ll get down to Melbourne maybe the day after. Learn not to snort or laugh. They can’t help that their country is smaller.

There is so many more that I can think of but I’ll leave it to that for now.
Chelsea B xx
What are your lessons learnt from relocating? How do you manage these changes?

Written by confessionsandcashmere

June 24, 2012 at 6:39 pm