Birthdays: A Time to Reflect - Expat Nest e-counselling

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Birthdays: A Time to Reflect

A birthday is a milestone… an anniversary date with yourself! I celebrated mine recently and so today I’m looking back on the year and sharing 10 things I’ve learned or reflected on:


  1. The pandemic has been a unique challenge in that I was affected both as a therapist and an individual. It made me realize once again what’s most important to me, and that health is wealth.
  2. COVID hit my family hard. I almost lost my dad to the virus and it was one of the scariest periods of my life. During times of uncertainty – whether in a pandemic or not – fear often takes the front seat. I couldn’t function normally for several weeks. I couldn’t accept that we might lose him, dying at the hand of the virus, and all so suddenly. I thank God that my dad is still with us. Please be safe and take all necessary precautions: the pandemic is not a joke and it can have huge implications for a person’s life (plus the lives of those around them).
  3. We’ve had to let go of our addiction to predictions and learn to cope with the insecurity of our times.
  4. This year, in which expats couldn’t travel as much as we usually do, I have been fascinated to discover that “destination” is not always a place; it can be a new way of thinking.
  5. I am now more ready to experience deep love and connection! In times of deep reflection (and especially during a lockdown), you realize how ready you are or can be!
  6. I’ve seen how important our work is at Expat Nest. I’m so grateful for the privilege to offer online services that help expats around the globe, particularly in these tough times.
  7. Small joys make such a difference and it’s important to have them in our lives daily. Yes, that’s a choice!
  8. Self-care is a top priority and it’s always part of the answer we are looking for. I’ve always been a self-care advocate, but this year I had to remind myself regularly to prioritise my needs, as I was working a lot to help the many people who needed counselling. I still remind myself every single day. 🙂
  9. Love and friendship are never gone and they continue to exist beyond borders and lockdowns
  10. “Faith it till you make it!” – I read this motto recently and it resonates strongly with me as faith is core to my being.


I’d like to thank you for all you bring to the Expat Nest community. I am so grateful to have you in my life and for the motivation you give me to keep going. When I see your strength and growth, I know my mission is being accomplished.

A birthday toast! Hold on, because this too shall pass. In the meantime, let’s keep celebrating the gift of life!



  1. Abby Ho says:

    I cannot agree with you more. When you realize how fragile life can be, everything you thought was important to you becomes less important, while things you may have taken it as granted become something you want to hold on to. Family, love, health are things that you cannot buy! Putting things in perspective is something I have kept reminding myself.

    1. Vivian Chiona says:

      Dear Abby
      Thank you for your beautiful message, and the reminder of what’s important in life. A crisis often puts things in perspective, though we can also take stock regularly, as you are doing, and make it a habit in our lives to really see what matters.
      With love

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