Sunday, April 25, 2010

Guest Post Series: Lost & Found by Tara Lutman Agacayak

The first time I heard the term "expat" I thought it meant ex-patriot as in, someone who was a former patriot. I could never figure out why someone would deliberately forsake their homeland.

Silly, naive me ... After living in Turkey for eight years, I understand from first hand experience what it means to be an expatriate.

If you had asked me before I met my Turkish husband, I would never have chosen this path; never have chosen to leave my sunny, liberal California upbringing to fly half-way around the world and settle in Turkey.

The first several years of my life in Turkey were the most miserable I'd ever suffered. When I say miserable, I mean unbearable. Adjusting to marriage, learning a new language, developing new relationships in a very foreign culture, missing my family, leaving my career - in short, it was a complete identity crisis.

During such crises, you have two choices, to bury yourself in your misery or to dig yourself out. In a moment of clarity I decided I wanted to live a happy and fulfilling life, regardless of my location and that's when I started digging.

By digging I discovered what I'm really passionate about in life and who I am at my core irrespective of where I live or what my nationality happens to be. And I think this process of self-discovery forced on me by an expat-induced identity crisis has been the greatest gift of my expatriatism.

By nearly losing myself, I ended up finding who I am.

Tara Lutman Agacayak is a micro-business adviser who believes that people can change the world by doing what they love.

Photo by Nak┼čidil by Reyyan Somuncuo─člu

used with permission

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