A home across two countries

Moving to another country can change the perception upon important aspects of life, such as the meaning of home. In time, you understand that one side of you belongs in the country of residence whereas the other side has never left from the country of origins. Reconciling both sides is very important for maintaining your authentic self.   

According to the travel writer Pico Iyer, there are 220,000,000 people around the world who live outside their home countries. I am one of these people. When I moved to Finland, I thought I would experience the Finnish way of living for two years and then I’d return back home.

The working environment based on trust and creative freedom made me stay longer. Twelve years after, my residence is still in Helsinki.

When I travel, people usually ask me, “Where are you from?” I may strike them as a strange person when they see me slightly confused and taking a deep breath before answering.

Sometimes I go ahead with the popular saying, “Home is where I hang my hat.”, so I reply “Finland”. Some other times, I reply “Romania”, because that’s where I find my inner peace and I feel closer to God.

The Finnish language, the emotional distance between people and the architecture of the buildings are a reminder that I am an alien to the city where my life is. Thanks to family and friends, I am an alien who is warmly welcome there.

Yet, now and then, I feel the need to retreat to the place which is my true home. Over here, I feel in alignment with the nature.

I watch the sun hiding slowly behind the horizon and I think, “This was a beautiful day!”

Late at night, I look at the starry sky and my heart beats calmly as if it tunes in with the eternity.

The sounds of birds waking me up in the morning are an inspiration for the day about to start – “There is life out there, wake up to feel it!”.

Over here, I stumble upon some people with an incurable joy of life. Talking with them is the best therapy for the soul.

But after a while, this home of mine feels too small. I feel the need to go back into the big and challenging world and discover uncharted sides of my true self.

Living abroad put into light a new meaning of home – Home is the people and place my soul feels to be around, for a while. My home is my soul.

How about you? What is home for you?


How to stay on the funny side of life

You can choose to live your life as a comedy. Humour can positively change your perception on life experiences. If you think that life is more about serious matters, please reconsider. You can learn to see the funny side of life.    

Humour can bring lots of benefits in your life. It can make you happier and healthier by helping you cope with stress. It can help you heal if you have more serious traumas. It can make you more attractive in the eyes of the opposite sex.

It helps you see more of the beautiful side of life.

First step – appreciate humour

One of my favourite movie characters is Guido, starred by Roberto Benigni in “La vita e bella”, Life is beautiful. Guido’s enthusiasm of life and amazing humour help him protect his son from the Nazi camp.

I wanted to be a little bit like Guido. My uncle was like him – gifted with creative humour in all sorts of life situations. Once we attended a wedding, where the guests were sitting at their tables and eating the festive food, with serious faces. The only place where laughters were soaring in the air was the corner where we were seated. After a few minutes of storytelling, uncle remarked, “We wouldn’t have so much fun if we weren’t ourselves.”

As for myself, well, I was certainly capable to appreciate humour but was I capable to create my own humour? Could just anyone improve their sense of humour?

According to research done by Nevo, Aharonson and Klingman (1998), on a sample of 101 female teachers, humour can be learned. The most efficient way to learn to be more humorous is to identify on your own what type of humour resonates mostly within you.

Second step – Develop your personal humour

There seem to be at least 29 types of written and spoken humour. It’s big enough a portfolio to have something for everyone.

My favourite types of humour are the self-deprecating, blunders, situational humour, and jokes. In my everyday life, situations often reflect these types of humour. How about you, which type of humour do you like?

The self-deprecating humour and the blunders can help changing your perception about the past and slowly let it go. It is human to look back at the past and lament over the painful moments.

You can teach yourself to look at the mistakes of the past and see how foolish they can appear in hindsight.

The situational humour – can help us get over embarrassing or tense moments, i.e. a date which does not go quite as expected. As a parent, I realised that there are moments throughout a day when instead of getting angry with my toddler, I choose to laugh.

For example, you step into your living room with freshly painted walls. You breathe in content the smell of paint when you notice your toddler’s blue paint fingerprints on the wall.

Jokes, especially the inside jokes you have with your partner or close people are a wonderful way of bonding. At the same time, inside jokes can release the tension in moments of conflicts when suddenly you crack a joke which makes the other one burst out laughing.

Why dwelling on problems when you can boost your joy by finding the comic side of life.

A good laughter can save the day!

How about you? What kind of humour would you like to bring more in your every day life?