Birthday Message: Big Heart. Sharp Mind. Less Drama - Expat Nest e-counselling

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Birthday Message: Big Heart. Sharp Mind. Less Drama

A few months ago, I thought I’d be throwing a HUGE party to celebrate my birthday and the award I won earlier this year (I’ll tell you more another time). Plus I love to celebrate with the people I love!

I can’t wait to have that big birthday party (one day). But I accept that life doesn’t always go as planned; that things don’t always happen exactly when we want them to. We can still keep aiming at our goals, though, and approach them with a balance of focus and flow, enjoying what we do have and can do right now.

All this has led me to reflect on a few things…


1. I don’t know who thought of the term “social distancing”, but sorry, I disagree. ?

What we really need is “physical distancing”: safe physical boundaries for our health and the health of others. This doesn’t mean cutting ourselves off socially.

Now especially, we need each other… 

Now more than ever is the time to connect… to talk freely, honestly, openly with each other. 

Connection is the support we need as we navigate the insecurity of this pandemic, including worries about our health, about the people we love, about our livelihoods.

I see how this affects expats in particular. I see the struggles of the expat community and am committed to doing all I can to support you.


2. When we chose the expat life (and yes, it is a choice), we always had the idea in the back of our minds that we could, if things got really tough, catch a flight back home (or somewhere else) to reconnect and replenish.

For most of us, this option has been taken away, for now. Many expats are struggling – feeling permanently in limbo or trapped (or both). Many are wondering when they’ll have their freedom and mobility back.


3. Here’s my conclusion (and nugget of wisdom now that I am a year older ?)…

Big heart. Sharp mind. Less drama

Less drama (or none at all, if possible!), because how we respond to the current situation – which is already affecting us in quite dramatic ways – is important. It’s essential that we choose to respond in a way that doesn’t add to the drama and that we all activate our resilience and know that we are stronger than we think. It’s essential that we focus our time wisely, on living our lives according to our standards and values.

Sharp mind, to dissociate fact from emotion, to see what is right (or wrong) for us, to be able to clearly see others’ intentions, to make decisions with clarity, and to strengthen our cognitive skills to cope with insecurity. 

Big heart is the most important to me. This means a heart that expands, that is able to love, to forgive, to show empathy and compassion. But at the same time, a heart that has boundaries. A heart that opens fully with right intentions but knows that it deserves to be treated well (see sharp mind!).


On this note, I’d like to thank you – with a big heart – for all you bring to the Expat Nest community. I am so grateful to have you in my life and for the courage and motivation you give me to keep going. I am always amazed by your eyes sparkling with tears of joy when our services resonate with you. And when I receive your messages that our articles are a breath of fresh air and give strength and hope, I know my mission is being accomplished.


A birthday toast! Let’s stay connected! Let’s savour those moments of joy and let the good times roll!

Cheers, to another year!



Photo: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels



  1. Carol El Hawary says:

    I agree with everything you say Vivian, these are the times we need to stay most connected, however that’s possible.

    1. Vivian Chiona says:

      So true, Carol! Thank you for taking the time to remind us again.


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