Discovering Three Types of Connection

Ariadne Ferro’s experience of living away from her homeland has led her to discover three distinct types of connections: oneself, family, and community. In the video, she provides an in-depth explanation of the three types of connections..

Three levels of connection

Nick: During that time of living away — away from your family and your native culture, you discovered the importance of connection. So would you like to touch on that, and the types of connection you identified?

Ariadne: Absolutely. Again, a lot of this happened once I formed my own family here. So my partner is not from Spain, either, he's from a different country. So we're here alone, we're here without any kind of family support.

And one thing that you notice, and I imagined, Nick, that you must have gone through something similar, that when you try to make friends, like good friends, in a new place, you realize it's not as easy as it was maybe when you were younger, because these are folks who probably already have their own long standing friendships, and they really don't need to form any new ones.

So if you're fortunate enough to have them say, ‘You know what, I'm going to invest in creating a new relationship with you’, then that's great, but it's not a given. So you're the one who's really trying to make that work. And that became increasingly more relevant for me when I had my son and he started going through issues at school, and we were starting to suspect the diagnosis.

And we weren't sure what was going on at the time. Like I mentioned, I started exploring my own diagnosis. And I thought, wow, there's a lot going on here. You're away from people that were with you growing up. So even though, in my case, I never really felt fully confident in those relationships because I was really self conscious, my own insecurities, because of the ADHD that I wasn't aware of where I felt very different.

And I felt very lacking in a lot of ways. But still, these were folks that despite what I perceived to be my faults and weaknesses, accepted me and loved me, and were part of my tribe, right? So these are folks that I grew up with. And these are folks that love me and understand me.

And I didn't realize how important that was until I was away from them. And then I was here, suffering from just life, right? Just things that were, you know, just things that were happening: who do I rely on? Who do I turn to? What am I doing? What's happening? I feel alone, I feel inadequate, how do I help my kid? How do I help my partner? How do we help each other and then stay strong as a family unit?

So we were talking about the different ways of connection, I realized, number one, the importance of, there's this connection with your larger community, right? There's this connection with, I'm somewhere new, where am I? How do I fit in here? What can I give to this community? So what can be like that synergy?

So what can I offer to them? I'm aware of what they can offer me because that's why I'm here. But what can I give in return, so I feel like there's this even equal relationship. So I feel like there's a synergy going on.

Then there's also the your smaller community, right? The people that you're interacting with the most, in this interpersonal level. This connection with others, especially in my case with my family. So not only the family that I've created here, but my family back at home, because like you said, once you go abroad, nothing is ever the same.

You're not the same person you were when you first got on that plane, or that ship or wherever — you're not that same person anymore. So what kind of relationship? Because now the relationship you have with your family of origin, it's totally voluntary, totally voluntary on both sides.

Because they're so far away, if you want to cut ties, you can because there's no dependents, really, unless you choose there to be a relationship, there's no need for that. So how am I creating that relationship. And in my case, I found that I really needed that emotional support, I really needed that acceptance, that support, that I'm just here to listen, come and cry to me or bounce ideas off me.

So that became especially important. And in that connection with myself, that self acceptance, that reconnecting, in my case, with my diagnosis, reconnecting with what that means for me. And then, you know, just with everything that had happened to me, just since moving here, and even just from the most dramatic and unexpected to just like the most day-to-day things.

All of those played a role in shaping the person that I am; in shaping how I see things, how I perceive things. And how do I make peace with that person? How do I reconcile with that person? And how do I enjoy that person? So it's those three levels of connection with myself, with my family, and with my greater community.