Living in a Foreign Country as an Integrative Practice?

Posted: June 8, 2013 in Asking Advice?, IJRS Courses

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As most people already know, I took a very large leap and on January 19th 2013 I moved from my forever-home in Indiana (USA) to be with my partner and loved one who was stationed in Vilseck, Germany.
Granted, because we are a homosexual couple that cannot sponsored even if we DID actually get married, I could not live with her on base in Vilseck and instead, I ended up over 3 hours away in a city called Neusaess. I also transferred from my old job to a different facility, working for the same company, just making a little less money and working under crappier conditions.

But…I am getting off track.

Recently I have been thinking back to IJRS and how the ranks are measured not only in the courses you complete but also by hours accumulated via Integrative Practice. Now, while I have not joined a Dojo or started any classes on Aura or healing (or anything like that), I would think that something like moving to another Country should be considered an Integrative Practice very similar to why Airsoft should be considered the very same.

Here are some reasons:

  1. The area is unfamiliar to you. No amount of online research can ever prepare you for what you are about to experience when you go to another Country. You have to come with a clear mind, otherwise it is very easy to get overwhelmed. Meditation on these facts: what you know of the Country and what you might not know about this place—doing this prior to the trip will be a great help, and calm-mind exercises are essential here as they will be practiced often.
  2. The ability to adapt is key. Same with keeping a calm mind…there are many things when coming to a different Country that can be overwhelming if you are not willing to adapt. The language is different, the food is different, the weather and cultures are different…good luck finding something familiar and homey.
  3. Physical readiness is also a factor. Between the jetlag and other sicknesses that might occur during your flight and shortly after, your physical health is tested just as much as your mental health. I know that the weather got to me bed when I first landed, and between the cold, my stressors over the hardships I faced when arriving in Germany, and the jetlag, I slept for the majority of a week before I could really move around again, and I paid severely for the lack of activity.
  4. Motivation is really tested when moving to another Country as well. One must stay motivated and organized at all times…because there is a lot of paperwork to get signed, a lot of paperwork to get filled out, you have to go register your address at the Rathaus (in Germany’s case at least), wait for your tax papers to come in and then have them signed, also you need health insurance, a bank account, and it’s like you are completely starting over from scratch from when you first moved out on your own.
  5. Other than motivation and organization—PATIENCE is one of the biggest keys when moving to another Country. It’s not like taking a vacation where you can get by without knowing anything about the Country or language. Here you are smack-dab in the middle of their society and they have no obligation to help you in any way, shape or form. It is up to you to be patient not only with those that might try and help you…but also be patient with yourself. Learning languages takes time, and try not to be too hard on yourself as you struggle through it. Again…calm mind, meditation, motivation, organization, and patience will make this trip a lot easier.

Basically…what I am getting at with all of this is that moving to another Country is a bigger culture experience than any week-long or month-long vacation. You are basically living your life, your path, in new lands, and learning so many new things…from different holidays and traditions, to the new culture in general, the language and its different dialects — you are trying new foods, doing new things, seeing things you have never seen before, taking in a whole new set of history lessons, architectural lessons // need I go on?

This is bigger than taking a healing class, this is bigger than joining a Dojo or starting martial arts. This is exploring a whole new world and learning to modify the things you were doing before on your path to better adapt with this new lifestyle that you are living.

When I first showed up in Germany, I was homeless…that’s because the person who was supposed to be renting me an apartment got evicted and refused to tell me until the day that I landed in Munich. Then from there, I spent 3 days in a Hostel until I was rushed off to Ansbach to live outside the Bleidorn Military base with some of my partner’s friends. From there, things were a struggle. I needed to start work, but I was in a bind. I could not register the housing as my address in the Rathaus because it was government property and I did not have permission to do that. Also, I could not get a bank account because I did not have a valid address.

Without these 2 things, I could not even begin to get my tax papers and REALLY could not begin to file for my visa so that I could start my job in Graben. Also, the distance from Graben was a problem because I would have to get a customized schedule for work and would not be making much pay versus how much it would cost me just to get back and forth.

There were other complications as well, but eventually everything got sorted out. I found a flat in Neusaess, moved in there with a German roommate. She barely speaks English and tests my patience often because we are polar opposites when it comes to personality // hobbies // everything. I am still struggling with learning the German language, but I understand a lot more than I can speak. Taking it as a second language in high-school really helped me a lot with this as well.

Plus, as I mentioned before…I now have to do things the German way. Everything is closed on Sunday, every Holiday lets people have the day off from work and it is paid—everything is more expensive here and budgeting money is a little different. I only get paid once a month (again, a budgeting hazard). I have had to learn how to take the trains and memorize the schedules so I can get home every night after work. I have had to deal with temptation because I get un-penalized, unlimited “sick leave” which does not require any medical proof at all. So there are just a billion things I have had to do here.

I also don’t have a dryer here for my clothes, so I had to learn how to use a laundry rack and clothes line. So…for those who know what I’m talking about: Do you think this could be considered a type of Integrative Practice? How would you calculate hours on this one?

Anyways, that’s all for me 🙂


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