Family, Judgement, Heartbreak and an Acknowledged Self Inflicted Internal Optimism July 4, 2012 Europe 7 Comments Having just spent the last two weeks with my family literally by my side with every move that I made, I can see the clear growth and differences that are evident in my personality compared to six months ago when I left Australia. Travelling Dietitian preparing for a cooking demonstration at the market in Melbourne prior to leaving Australia Having gone through an enduring process of splitting with a long-term partner in which I had lived with when I left the country and coming to America; I have definitely been true to myself in always throwing myself in the deep end and pushing myself to swim, rather than sink! Travelling around Europe, living in the USA, and having the Aussie girl deeply engrained within my personality, I really can see the cultural differences that are evident in the different parts of the world more clearly than ever before. I had been warned of all the cultural differences between Australians and Americans, with none repeated more so than: People are more direct- they say what they are thinking to your face. It is a world of plenty- you have everything right at your disposal, both the good and the bad. I have found both these analyses of Americans (at least in NYC) to have been proven correct. I think it is amazing that your personality can remain exactly the same, yet in a different environment it is perceived so differently. My family whilst studying were a very multicultural bunch (German, Finnish, Australian and an American) all with very different norms and ways of going about their business! I can see friends who have moved overseas to a variety of countries, and how genuinely happy they are within themselves, having been able to find a different culture that they obviously are more attuned with and where they are surrounded by more like-minded people. My friend Michael who moved to NYC from Melbourne to start up his company a year ago For someone who has never found myself fitting in with one particular group of people to an exact T, and so too have I not found that I can not connect with a variety of people due to the different layers of my personality, I am a true believer that you should simply be yourself, and do your very best not to upset people in the process. Being adaptable is important, and not judging others for having different viewpoints or ways of going about their business sits very highly in the attributes that I respect in others and hope are reflected back at myself from those in my life. Me just being myself- up at some ridiculously early hour even when travelling with no set wake up time or alarm, and off to get my buffet breakfast. It is amusing to me that the two men that have had an opportunity to be welcomed into my family over my adult life as long-term partners have both drawn conclusions about my family, one of whom referred to us as the Brady bunch, and the other as living in happy land. I can’t say that either of these analyses are correct, with my family just as any other, going through their own set of hurdles and challenges that need to be overcome. Although, what I do know is that everything is relative, and people judge situations and draw conclusions based on their own experiences. I guess if we live in happy land, there must be some pretty tough family dynamics for people to manage out there! My awesome family! I do come from a very loving and supportive family, albeit all very different individuals, which is why I found it very interesting that I felt more judged over the past couple of weeks with them than I had in the last six months. The people who speak highest of you are often the ones that can be most critical, more often then not, without even noticing they are doing it (this was certainly the case in my situation). Travelling dietitians family out for dinner in Milan I guess family is family and I hope as we continue to grow we can all appreciate each other for what makes us uniquely ourselves. I can see that through proper communication I am lucky to be surrounded by people who can clarify misunderstandings, and move forward at all times. The most exciting part for me is to think that there is still one more person who from a mutual desire to be classified as family will become my partner for life. One could think that six months post a break up, knowing your ex moved on quickly after splitting, could leave a bitter taste in your mouth, but for some reason, I am still the one that smiles when I see a cute guy helping his girlfriend with her suitcase up a steep flight of stairs in Italy or leaning in to kiss his wife before heading off from the pool area. I get excited thinking, I wonder who my match will end up being, how exciting that all that (and more) is ahead of me and someone else. Travelling dietitians parents- still happily in love, and approaching 40 years together. My mother and I had a bit of a running joke throughout our trip to Italy, as I seemed to have worn out my clothes from Australia (having lived out of the one suitcase for 5 months), and I wasn’t quite ready to let go of some of my tops and dresses that I had had with me literally for the past 7 years. She made the comment: “Sometimes you need to let go of something old so that something new that fits even better now can enter your life”. I know she was talking about men, even though the analogy was linked to my clothes. Not subtle mum…not subtle at all! The best part of the analogy was that I totally agree with her, and had been thinking the same thing for months. Me wearing a top back in 2006 with one of my best friends in Thailand after being drenched hiking through a rainforest! (I finally let go of this singlet in Rome yesterday, leaving it in my hotel room)! So in true form of putting my thoughts into an actionable form, I left behind at least one different old item of clothing in each hotel we stayed at (thinking, the hotel staff are going to have a field day here when they see all the goodies being left behind!), and slowly began making new purchases, growing my new, better fitting, more suitable to the Kara I am today, wardrobe of attire to wear in the next chapter of my life (and Italy isn’t exactly the worst place in the world to start this new wardrobe if we are totally honest!). Travelling dietitian out for dinner in Rome- wearing one of the new items of clothing from Italy which appears to be a much better fit for the young woman I am today. The main taking I have had thus far from this trip, that was engrained by my meeting with my family, is that being true to yourself in the face of judgment is a challenge that is faced by many (I am definitely not alone in this); However, having the strength to stay true to yourself, and the diplomatic skills of knowing when to speak up or when to stay quiet, are all important in every aspect of your professional and personal lives. I was told by a wise Canadian woman early in the year who seemed to understand me within minutes, you need to be around people with the same ‘energy’ as you, she was referring to romantic partners, however I think this holds true for people you want to partner with for work, those that you travel with, and your friendships too. Two of my closest friends from Sydney, Australia who both seem to have a similar energy level and move at a similar pace to myself. We met when we were 15 years old, and even living in different cities, we have easily been able to maintain friendships more than a decade on! It was amazing the other day that my mother used an exact word describing what she thinks I need in those around me, as I had been thinking the same thing in my head over and over again. She said “you need to surround yourself with someone, or people, that move at a similar pace to you”. I can’t say pace is ever a word that people have used when discussing what they look for in partners, friendships, or team mates to work with, but I truly agree with her, and think that surrounding yourself with people of a similar pace will certainly get you to where you want to be as quickly, or as slowly, as sits comfortably with you. Travelling dietitian happily moving at her own pace for the moment So there you have it, a little more of the Travelling Dietitians personality coming out. The self growth, cultural discoveries, and analyses of nutritional situations in different countries is far from over (I think this journey could go for the rest of ones life if you wanted it to!) I have just arrived in Finland (couldn’t be more excited to be here if I tried!), About to land in beautiful Finland What will we discover this week up in one of the northern most parts of this amazing world we live in? I’ll be sure to post again soon, For now, The Travelling Dietitian x Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window) Related 7 Responses ashj88 July 5, 2012 I loved this post, Kara. 🙂 Wish I could have gone globetrotting after my big breakup – seems like a pretty fabulous way to move on to bigger and better things! I am loving all the posts and photos of your travels, especially the most recent batch, as one of my best friends is from Finland and I’m now totally getting why he’s so in love with his home country. Please keep sharing! Log in to Reply Travelling Dietitian July 5, 2012 Thanks Ash! Much appreciate the kind words, your comments are always welcomed 🙂 Yes it certainly has been a whirl wind of a year for me, but all in an extremely positive way! Very exciting to see what unravels as the years progresses. Hope everything is going well for you too. Love your blog posts too! Log in to Reply micktii July 5, 2012 Not only are you a travelling dietitian but a budding novelist, poet and philosopher. Love reading your blogs, keep it up 🙂 Anna Landau July 5, 2012 I loved this post – for all the layers and honestly it presented. Keep having a ball, will be sure to speak with you soon xxx Log in to Reply Travelling Dietitian July 5, 2012 Thanks missy! Hope you are having a ball too x Log in to Reply micktii July 5, 2012 Not only are you a travelling dietician but a budding novelist, poet and philosopher. Love reading your blogs, keep it up 🙂 Log in to Reply Travelling Dietitian July 5, 2012 Thanks Mike, appreciate your support wholeheartedly! Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.