Reclaiming Ibasho in a Different Country

Life as an expat can be daunting; one must deal with changes in his/her environment. It is something that Chloe Le Gouche encountered during her move to the US. However, with the help of her friends, she was able to engage in some activities that lead her to rediscover her ibasho.

People can find ibasho by engaging themselves in different activities.

Chloe: I would have loved to have this knowledge of ikigai at that time when I moved to Houston. Yeah, it would have helped me so much because I felt everything that Karly just talked about -- the loss of ibasho and the need of recreating one with people you can share experiences and values with, I can really relate to that. 

I remember the first weeks of my expat here, I really lost a big part of my self confidence and my self esteem. And I think that is really strongly related to ibasho. I was so afraid to go out and do all the new things that I was supposed to do in this new city.

At that time, my English wasn't really good. I didn't know a lot of people. I just knew Karly and her husband, and another couple of friends. Remember, I was even afraid to go get the groceries by myself because it was like, wow, such a huge challenge. 

So this is really when I felt the loss of ibasho the most. And I remember there was one day where I felt so bad, so lonely, I can say, like useless. I told myself like you need to do something, like things need to change.

You need to do something. And at that time, Karly talked to me about the English classes that she knew. And I had another friend talking to me, she was working in a pet shelter, she was like, yeah, you can volunteer there.

Like, okay, let's do this. You're going to register to do English class, and you're going to go and register as a volunteer at the pet shelter. And so this was really the beginning of creating my new ibasho

Thanks to these two things, I started a new routine. I remember just waking up in the morning, getting dressed, putting some makeup on and just going out like, okay, I'm gonna do something today.

This brought me life-satisfaction, which is the first need of ikigai. So at the pet shelter, but mostly at the English class, I met new people that I'm still friends with today. 

And these people, we share the same experiences, expat experiences, the same stories -- we were living abroad, we were all learning a new language.

So we would have really a lot of things in common like values, experiences, something that we could share, and we could understand each other. So there really was this feeling of resonance.

So it really at that time, started to give me the power to be like, okay, I have friends, I can go out, I can do things. And I started to learn English, which gave me confidence to talk to new people and to do new things and new activities.

So it's really like, it just started with these two needs, resonance and life-satisfaction. And then the rest just followed.

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