Adapt and smile! Sounds easy, but it is not…

Here I am again..after long time!

I had so many changes in life from my last post… such as a new job, new  current town, end of a relationship and MORE and more friends, true ones… as always! =)

Let’s get back from where it started… Media Plus Company (Belgium) & the Project I have been working on up to now.

I joined Media Plus several months ago. It all started with the great practical training held in Belgium, where we actually learned how to introduce ourselves and the company we’re representing, how to pitch, how to take control in a meeting, how to build relationships and communicate with potential partners and clients, creating an environment that is comfortable both for us and our interlocutors… and ultimately how to have fun in the process! By this I mean to take things seriously, but also enjoy all that you learn and all the wonders that come your way.

My first project after the training was “Sri Lanka: The Next Asian Miracle”. And what happened next looked like a miracle indeed.

Federica-SarahUtterly excited to go, my colleague Sarah Kirschner and I took that flight on August 23rd, having no expectations of the country, the food, the lifestyle, the people and the work. Heading straight to the unknown, we both felt a bit worried, but fear is a natural part of the change and challenges that this wonderful life can offer.

To be perfectly honest, at the beginning we faced lots of difficulties – the food that made us sick for the first 2 weeks, the pollution and the traffic we were not used to, the people’s mentality to always ‘take it easy’ and do everything very slow – it was all very different from what my western mind could ever be prepared for. But now that I’ve been here for nearly 4 months, I look behind and I laugh at those little “issues”. Everything changes, you just need to adapt yourself and problems soon start to fade away.

Adapt – that’s the keyword when you’re taking on a new professional assignment, while at the same time you’re out there exploring an entirely new world. You know you’re about to move and stay in a foreign country for several months, and the only way to do your job well, keep up with the pressure and stay happy is if you smile. Give yourself a smile, give others a smile and try to change your pattern of thinking. That would make it far easier to understand the new culture, integrate in it and really start to enjoy it.

Moving to Sri Lanka also meant changing the lifestyle. Once I got here, Sarah Kirschner, whom I barely knew from the training group, and I, moved in together. From that moment on we were sharing not only the apartment, but the meals, the workload and our time off. We were spending so much time together, that at times we felt even tired of each other, sometimes getting upset for little things (especially me). That didn’t affect the quality of our work whatsoever, but we had to find ways to cope with the stress jumping on us unexpectedly. As things change, a week ago we moved to different apartments and are no longer roommates. From this perspective I realize how much I miss having her around, and that bumps on the road are always there, but it’s so much better when you have someone to jump over with.

The project here in Sri Lanka is now close to its end. We’ve worked hard to produce a highly representative investment report and I can’t wait to see it in its final edited form. After all, I can say that I really love this country and I love this job. I feel how my mindset has changed. I also learnt a lot – from Finance to Agriculture, from Construction to Energy and Trade. There’s still so much to learn and I’m eager to see where the next project will take me.

I know now that this whole experience living and working abroad has given me not only a chance to test my strength, to develop as a person and professionally, but has also given me a friend for life. The truth is we never stop learning from each other and that’s how we get to know ourselves better. After all I can say that the best thing that happened to me in Sri Lanka was getting to know Sarah and the opportunity to grow together.

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