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#34 Expat Hero and Transitions - with Nanna Hauch
Episode 3427th November 2023 • Holding the Fort Abroad • Rhoda Bangerter
00:00:00 00:46:26

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Synopsis:

Nanna Hauch and I talk about transitions and how the Hero’s journey can help geographically split families with multiple changes at the same time. Nanna is a licensed couple and family psychotherapist, now based in Denmark. She's the founder of Expat Hero. 

In This Episode:

  • The Hero’s journey 01:31
  • Staying connected 08:56
  • “Transition Triggers Trauma” and an overwhelmed nervous system 17:01
  •  “Honour that expat life is an adventure” 27:49
  •  Putting your mask on first versus sacrificing yourself in a crisis 35:12
  •  Living your story with courage 42:46

Resources Mentioned in the Episode:

Joseph Campbell Hero’s Journey

Contact Nanna Hauch:

Email

Web

Transcripts

Rhoda Bangerter:

Welcome to Holding the Fort Abroad, the podcast for expats with travelling partners!

My name is Rhoda Bangerter. I'm a certified coach and the author of the book ‘Holding the Fort Abroad’.

In this podcast, I interview men and women who live abroad and have traveling partners so that we can all benefit from their wisdom and experience. I also invite experts to apply their expertise to this topic.

And today, my guest is Nanna Hauch. She's a licensed couple and family psychotherapist, now based in Denmark. She's the founder of Expat Hero. And today I'm going to pick her brains on transitions, expat life, and split locations, what she calls satellite families.

So, Nanna, welcome, and thank you for being here with me today!

Nanna Hauch:

Thank you so much for inviting me. I'm thrilled.

Rhoda Bangerter:

It's great to have you, and I cannot wait to pick your brains and hear what you have to say. What I love about interviewing people is to sort of see their perspective, hear their perspective, hear what they've learned in their experience so I'm really looking forward to hearing what you have to say about transitions and living this life and all of that.

Nanna Hauch:

Thank you so much. And likewise.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Thank you. Let's start with Expat Hero. Why don't we start with that? Where does that come from? And does that feed into your philosophy of how you do your work?

Nanna Hauch:

Yeah, good question. Well, yeah, it does, because we'll probably touch upon my story as an expat also later on in this conversation. But when I embarked on my latest expat experience back in 2009, as a mother of three kids and as an accompanying spouse, I already then began to sort of look into what kind of support there was for expat at that time, I worked actually in research and business development and human behavior. And along the way on my journey, I had some of the classical expat challenges, I think, and then did further studies into psychotherapy and became a licensed family, couples, and family therapist. Right?

Rhoda Bangerter:

Yeah.

Nanna Hauch:

And as part of that development, I stumbled upon an American literature professor, Joseph Campbell, who is the father of a theory about monomyths called Hero's Journey. And to sort of, in short, is this idea that he did this work in the 1930s, 40s, 60s. He's not alive anymore, but his theory is very much alive as a framework of storytelling. And so what he discovered in his research is that across myths, legends, great stories, religions, there is kind of one universal story, one monomyth, which is kind of the mirror of life's journey. And he called that Hero's Journey.

And so when I stumbled upon that there was a lot of things that came, fell into place in my own life story and in that whole journey as an expat and both understanding more of the challenges. And I can come in or we can talk a little bit more about what this framework does, but sort of very, very simply put, it's this idea that the hero is called out on adventure. We think about Star Wars or Alice in Wonderland or Tolkien. Right? It's this idea that the great stories are built upon because this is what life is about, that we are sometimes called to adventure…

Rhoda Bangerter:

And the unknown. Right?

Nanna Hauch:

The unknown, yeah. And what Joseph Campbell also called. Sometimes we're kicked out of normal. Right? Where something happens. And when we talk about split locations expat families, sometimes one partner is relocated to a place where the other partner or the other part of that family will not follow for whatever reason. Or you hold the fort abroad, you're in a situation that you didn't choose. Right?

That's kind of the kicked out of normal, and then that's the beginning of the journey. And what he then describes is that then there is the separation from what you know . You meet all these different obstacles. You also meet helpers, just like in fairy tales, in great stories, and that's also why they talk to us. You meet your inner dragons. You battle your own fears. You have to grow as a person whether you want or not. Right?

So culture shock, for instance, is also something. It's a thing where you feel your identity is being pushed around a little bit or you feel restrained, or maybe you want to assimilate completely, but then you lose yourself and then you realize, oh, maybe it's better to just not totally assimilate, but just kind of integrate, but keep part of my , all that stuff that we all know something about

And I'm sure your listeners know much more about this than me, but I use that framework because then there's also this idea about the hero returning home, he finds the Holy Grail. Right? Indiana Jones. But really the Holy Grail is that inner wisdom that we build when we are faced with new challenges and new cultures and new ways of living and then returning home. Right? There is then the new version of the new normal is what Joseph Campbell calls it.

But really what I like about this, and I kind of use that both personally and professionally when I counsel and help expats, is that there's some kind of – there is both some hope in this, but there's also kind of a normalization of this is life's journey. And this is what Joseph Campbell found so intriguing that Native Americans, Buddhism, Judaism, whatever religion. I mean, across it all, there is like one universal, identifiable story that we can all somehow beyond culture and all that relate to…

Rhoda Bangerter:

That we're on a journey.

Nanna Hauch:

We are on a journey. And that we are heroes. And this is why my company is called Expat Hero because I really want to empower expats that I totally know that this is also tough. I mean, let's face this, it's not always fun. We can feel lonely, we can feel lost, we can feel hopeless, all kinds of stuff. And we're going to talk a little bit, I guess, today probably, right, because I'm a couple's therapist also about relationships. And it's challenging, let's face it.

And there is really, from my perspective, this opportunity, and I'm not saying it's just a walk in the park, but there is really an opportunity to develop and grow as a person. And that when we can learn from conflicts or problems, that's also a gift. And it's sometimes really wrapped shitty. Right? And this is what I help my clients to investigate.

And then with the deepest respect, of course, because I've been there too, right, that I didn't always find this easy and funny at all, but that in a way, the way we are in the world and the way we engage with these changes and these situations that we are put in is of course really sort of psychological and based in who we are as people, our personalities, culture, socialization. And then what's the inherent longing for good connection?

This is our human biology. Right? We want to belong, we want to be part of safe connection in our family, with our spouse, partner, with our surrounding community. And when we as expats move around, that feeling of being safe and belonging and the contact, also that important contact to the people closest to us is under pressure.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Yeah. And if your partner is gone a lot of the time, then even more so, right?

Nanna Hauch:

Exactly. And I think this is where couples, I mean, hats off, right? Because just expat couples in general, expats and people putting themselves in these situations where it does add some complexity to life. And then when you live as a split family and, one of you is holding the fort abroad like your podcast, right? And it's so important to bring this up. It's like that's a really important job and it's also a tough job. And the partner that's out there working far away from the family or has a lot of traveling days also has a lot of responsibility on him or her.

So I think that it's so great that you do this podcast and wrote that book because it's so important to have that conversation and to support relationships so that they stay strong and that people stay connected because we know, and this is, again, this is biology and this is human psychology and backed by lots of, lots of, lots of research that what is the antidote to mental health problems, anxiety, depression, , that is good contact, good relationships, safe relationships.

And that is in a way, what I do. I help people as a process consultant, ensuring that they are can stay connected even though they live maybe far apart from each other or the children have to live in a different location and split families or satellite families, as I call them, right? Are even more challenged and have to be even more conscious about how they are as a family, how they do stay connected, what works and what doesn't work. And where can it become difficult?

Rhoda Bangerter:

Where do you lead these families when I suppose when they come to you? Maybe there's already a disconnect. So, I mean, what would you say to families where there isn't yet a disconnect, but they're like wanting this connection, wanting to maintain it. What would you say to them?

Nanna Hauch:

I would always, I mean, I also do preparation work for expat families –- [Crosstalk]

Rhoda Bangerter:

Super important, right?

Nanna Hauch:

Extremely important.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Yeah.

Nanna Hauch:

And really, I so hope also that maybe this conversation can add to really say, let's do the work earlier in the process, because obviously you're totally right. When people come to me, couples reach out to me. They're often hanging there on the edge of the cliff. And this is a matter of, are we going to divorce or, , what's going to happen?

There's so many great ways to stay connected and to have these difficult conversations. And this is what we do in couples therapy. It's really relationship work, it's relational work. It's about being able to come forward and talk about what you need in a way that doesn't push your partner away. Because I think we all know that we can sometimes, if we are under pressure or agitated or disconnected to ourselves, can end up in situations where we express our needs in a way where we then don't really get what we need.

I think we all know that we can sound a little critical or we point fingers, or we withdraw and get silent. And what's really underneath it is a longing to be seen and heard.

Rhoda Bangerter:

And for more connection.

Nanna Hauch:

Yeah, and for more connection. So in my line of business is like exactly what you say. In my line of business, my main objective is to support, strengthen or reconnect, sort of recreate good connection. That's the key.

Rhoda Bangerter:

It's worth coming alone, right? Even if, for example, your partner doesn't want to do it, it's still worth doing the work alone. I certainly did it alone first.

Nanna Hauch:

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Rhoda Bangerter:

And it transformed so many things without even my husband being involved. So just doing that work on oneself, I think, because you can't force someone else to do the work, right? I mean, he's done his work, I've done mine, but I think there is something to be told there to just do our own work.

Nanna Hauch:

Yeah, absolutely. And of course, I also realize that sometimes it can feel unfair that why do I have to do all this work? But I really support my clients in seeing this as a personal journey and that we can work with ourselves and what we can control is ourselves. Even though it would be wonderful if we could, , just swing that magic wand and make our partner do or say what we long them to, we can't.

And so it starts with you, and if you want to change, I mean, yes, by all means invite your partner also. But maybe, as I recommend, is also start with what's actually going on. And so your question, to answer your question, if I haven't done that already, people who are in a good place and are in these situations and feel that they do have good contact, just really I think, be aware of where do you have good contact? Where did it feel connected?

And then notice that, name it, and then create some awareness around that, because that is the nourishment that the relationship and the family needs in times of difficulties. And so enlarging all that good stuff that's there, enlarging the resources, don't take it for granted.

Rhoda Bangerter:

That's beautiful.

Nanna Hauch:

Yeah.

Rhoda Bangerter:

That's beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. So I love this idea of being on a journey, as in being in a story.

Nanna Hauch:

Yeah.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Being in our own story and having other characters in the story. And then this idea of complex transition, like I don't know if there's a word for it, but when there's lots of different transitions happening at the same time, but I know there's complex PTSD when there's long term trauma that's repeated.

And I feel like with transitions, there's a lot of resources out there for one transition, , you go through one transition, but a lot of expat families, a lot of families in split locations. So if a partner is commuting or even going away for a long time and coming back, there could be complex transition going through. Right? A person could be going through menopause, plus their partners just come back from a year away plus their child is going to college and there could be, like three or four different things going on at the same time.

Nanna Hauch:

Absolutely.

Rhoda Bangerter:

And their identity is changing and lots of different things. So in this idea of story, you could really see, like, you're facing different protagonists, potential enemies, potential roadblocks or avalanches at the same time.

Nanna Hauch:

Absolutely.

Rhoda Bangerter:

And one of the things I really liked, I read a quote from a person who does marathons and she said, learn to differentiate between what stretches you and what injures you.

Nanna Hauch:

Yeah.

Rhoda Bangerter:

What do you say? How do you manage all of those things? Do you have like strategies? Do you have like ideas? What do you normally say to people that are facing a lot of different things at the same time? Because that is such bread and butter for an expat. Right?

Nanna Hauch:

It is. It is. Oh, wow. I mean, I think it's brilliant. Right? But it's what stretches you and what injures you that is so important. And I really think also your question encapsulates how complex this is because there are so many layers, right? And even just in life, which doesn't involve international living and split location and life can sometimes be complex. And then we'll just add all this too. Yeah. Is there some. One thing, I mean, obviously, the way I work, people are very knowledgeable about their own lives and who they are.

And so sometimes from my perspective, what can happen is that there are these roadblocks, like you say, or avalanches, that all kinds of stuff happens that pushes us and we lose sight. It's kind of like being in kind of Joseph Campbell calls it lost in the woods, you kind of everything's foggy. You can't really navigate and it scares you. And when we as human beings get scared, we go back and we pull out our survival strategies. Right? And this is all unconscious work being done here.

So my job is to support people becoming more conscious of what they're doing from a psychological perspective of you might get triggered or you might start having a behavior that triggers your partner. So I'd say with all of that complexity that you've just mentioned that I think a lot of the listeners can probably recognize to totally have the focus on what am I doing here? What is triggering me? Why am I unhappy, if that's the case? Or why am I feeling depressed? Or the complexity, like you say, complex PTSD. If it's a matter of many transitions or lots of different transitions happening in and out and kids moving to college and the partner being away and coming back and all that. Constantly readjusting, really to have a great sense of awareness of how that affects you. And then how your own behavior affects the different relationships.

So that's kind of like a dance. And then I almost felt like, when you just asked the question, my first thought was like, just to say, just get really good at saying no. I mean, get really good practice saying no. And, I mean, I don't know.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Reducing the amount of trying to reduce where you can. Trying to reduce the amount of stress that's coming at you or the amount of changes.

Nanna Hauch:

That's a good question. Because sometimes we don't really have those choices. Do we? I mean.

Rhoda Bangerter:

No. I remember my rheumatologist. He was like, Mrs. Bangerter, you really have to reduce the amount of stress in your life. And I was kind of laughing, going, really? So for me, it's more about learning to manage stress. But I think it goes both ways, probably. It's like, what can I reduce? And then how can I manage what's left? Would you say that when we're stressed, we go to that survival. Right? When we're stressed –- [Crosstalk] -- survival instinct.

Nanna Hauch:

This is why we call it coping strategies. And coping strategies are smart, right? Because they're planted in us or developed in us when we were really small. Right? Sort of the first thousand days. Or again, , the way I work is also based on attachment theory that we are biological beings and we seek for our survival. Connection, any kind of connection. So bad connection is better than no connection. And this is the same that happens in relationships, right? That bad connection and dysfunctional relationship might still feel better than not being there at all. Right?

And then still to support people in learning that it's possible to evolve and grow both as a couple, as a family, as a person, to get that sense of stronger, safer connection with your loved ones. Right? And that, of course, is sometimes difficult. And these coping strategies that come up, they are there for good reasons.

And then at the same time, they might not be so helpful anymore. And I think we can all. I mean, we are speaking now woman to woman. I mean, I know from my perspective that what I could do was be kind of critical, criticizing, why didn't you do this? Why haven't you brushed the kids teeth? Da da da. And when really what I was trying to say is like, whoa, I'm totally overwhelmed by all the stuff going on and all the responsibility. I'm exhausted. I need a hug. Right?

And I think we respond better as humans when we come forward with a little bit of vulnerability, rather, because everyone who's criticized will begin to defend themselves. And then this cycle starts, right? It's so human. It's so human. And I think…

Rhoda Bangerter:

So it's about knowing, okay, what's my behavior? What's triggered it? Or knowing, like, oh, this is period of stress. I might be triggered. Let's keep an eye on my behavior, right?

Nanna Hauch:

Yeah. And like you said sometimes certain circumstances, they are what they are, but we can learn to. There are tools. There are self-compassion. Again, I mean, I'm always careful not to kind of just pour kind of positivism or positive psychology, because sometimes these lives are so diverse and so complex. And I don't want to be an expert on anybody's lives, but I do want to provide tools and support to be able to grow and live happier lives as expats. Right?

So there are ways where we can begin to notice what works for me. Okay. I'm stressed. Okay. So I need to take five minutes where I breathe really deeply or what nourishes me. Do I need my morning coffee? Or is it yoga? Or is it going for a run? Or is it putting on my favorite song on my headphones in the bathroom after my, , where I've got two minutes alone and just dancing it out or whatever works. And this might sound like crazy advice, right, but it's really about staying well connected to yourself. I would say ourselves, because this includes me, right?

I've been through that whole expat journey, and just as a person, I'm a better mom and a better partner when I'm grounded and well connected to myself. And when stress or transition or long periods of being alone, like, , way working or whatever that is, put under pressure. And my ability to express myself in a mature way, right, is pressured.

Like, I think a lot of us know, sometimes we become little kids, right? And little kids, , they need a hand, and sometimes that hand isn't there, or your partner isn't able to give you that hand or doesn't have the time on the call you've planned, or the kids are acting up or whatever it is. And so my perspective is that we have to learn to give ourselves a hand, to just be really compassionate about where we are and what we do to ourselves first, let's like, very, very cliché, right? But it really is this thing about putting on that oxygen mask yourself first before you can help somebody else.

And it's like, oh, God, it's bumper sticker, right? But the fact is that if you keep on giving to your partner, to your kids, to your friends, to your family, whoever, learn to set boundaries, learn to say no to just pouring out your great energy to everyone and then not having anything left for you, because that will drain you. And this is where, from my perspective, this is where the PTSD begins. Obviously, there are people with trauma and all this. There was just a lot of complex area that I work with as well. That transition can sometimes also ignite that. I have this term that I called transition triggers trauma.

If you do have something, so if you have something, we all have something, right? That's a whole another podcast, maybe, but about trauma. But we've all experienced little loss of contact, little incidents, marital problems, whatever it could be, or other more severe things from childhood that when we transition, and I see that quite a lot with my clients, they've been well functioning, everything's been fine, they've been coping, they're living good lives. And then suddenly a transition ignites, an insecurity, the culture shock, the who am I? How to fit in here, how do I create a network? All that work, that all your listeners are exposed to every day, and in every transition.

Rhoda Bangerter:

A different setup. Right? There's a variable that changes, and suddenly we find ourselves in a different position.

Nanna Hauch:

Yeah. And it can be, for some to cope with that emotional turbulence or trauma response that's happening suddenly. And I see that also quite a lot, actually, with third culture kids. I have quite a few clients that are young adults, and they've been well functioning. But then another transition suddenly, or maybe moving away from the family.

Becoming a split family, moving home to study and the family stays abroad, simply sort of ignites or kick starts a process of. It's kind of like a split, scattered identity. Right? And then there's anxiety and depression, and da da da. And from my perspective, there is a really overwhelmed nervous system, and we have to support.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Overwhelmed nervous system.

Nanna Hauch:

Yeah. Support the integration of all these different experiences and really honor also that expat life is an adventure. It's great. It's wonderful. There's so much good to say. I would never not have done my own four international experiences. Right? And I hope to do one more later in life. But right now I'm back in Denmark, where I'm born. But to really respect and honor that, that is big. And that, yes, kids are resilient. But that's also a little bit of a cushion for parents to say, oh, they will learn the language, pass. And they were.

Yes, but kids are just smaller human beings, and they've not been exposed to all these different emotions, everything is for the first time. And so when you maybe leave home as a young adult to live in a different country than the rest of your family because you have to maybe earn credits for your citizenships or whatever, all these different things, that is quite heavy.

And for some, not all, but for some, that can kind of ignite some trauma that happened, bullying at school, feeling totally alone, whatever it is. And that, I really think is -- that is my mission, to really talk about that and support people who experience this and say, this is normal, like we talked about just before the interview, the commonalities of expat life. This is okay. It's okay to be shaken. It's okay to feel that the world is spinning and that you can't find –- [Crosstalk]

Rhoda Bangerter:

Yeah. You're not the weird one for feeling it. That's what you're saying, right? Yeah.

Nanna Hauch:

No, no, no, no not at all. Not at all. And I totally also know that when you're new to some, in a new location, you don't want to bring forward your dark sides and your sadness. You want to be happy and maybe feel superficial, all this stuff. And it's just look around and maybe, , it looks as if everyone else. I think even we as adults, are also a, , little bit victims of social media, right? We think everything is perfect on the other side of the. What's it called?

Rhoda Bangerter:

The grass is greener.

Nanna Hauch:

Grass is greener. Right. But look around and then like, hey, maybe they also feel overwhelmed, or maybe they also miss their partner, or maybe they are also having difficulties getting their kids to thrive in this, , whatever, new location, third transition. And I also do think that that is why I think you probably experience this. You and I connect immediately. Right? We don't know each other that well, but we share expat stories. Right?

And I think when you bring just, like, third culture kids, right? When you bring people together who have these experiences, they feel recognized and acknowledged, and we know – [Crosstalk]

Rhoda Bangerter:

Exactly.

Nanna Hauch:

Right, exactly. And that is so important. And that is our tribe.

Rhoda Bangerter:

And that's why these conversations about, , that's why I do the podcast on being geographically separated with your partner. That's why because there are common challenges. And often when I speak with clients or with people, they're like, oh, other people, this, okay, . And suddenly it feels like a burden that's come off them because suddenly they see that it's like a byproduct of the lifestyle.

And then they see, oh, you can put this in place, on that in place. Or actually, oh, I'm actually doing pretty well that I've managed to put this in place and that in place and that it's not them. So you've been an accompanying spouse with a partner who's traveled a lot. Then you've been dual careers and you've traveled a lot. So like as we wrap up and we come to the end of this conversation, do you want to add anything from your own experience, or have we missed something in the conversation that you wanted to sort of speak about?

Nanna Hauch:

I do think that this last point you make about, , that this is something that we share, and it's okay, it's normal. And that maybe you're doing a lot better than what you perceive is really important because we've talked a little bit about, , human biology and psychology, but the human brain is also biased towards negativity. Right?

And that's pretty smart when, , if you are in situations millions of years ago, right, where you had to watch out for dangers. And so it's smart that the brain is alert and ready to sort of learn from dangerous experiences so that you don't go there again. But the problem is that in modern life, right, if you -- it tends to stick to you like Velcro negative experiences, and you have to work a little harder to sort of absorb the positives and to really be aware that sort of the human brain is a little like Teflon for positivity. Right?

And we can train that. We can look at what is it actually, that I manage. This is pretty awesome. This is actually me doing a great job parenting my kids alone here. Or this is actually not bad. And then really, , again, because we kind of have to nurture the positive things in life a little bit more because, as I said, the brain is simply wired to be alert to danger and to be aware of, , threats.

Rhoda Bangerter:

So saying things like, we love each other, and even though we're not in the same place, we've chosen to live this life. And I don't think it's toxic positivity. Right?

Nanna Hauch:

No. I don’t think so either -– [crosstalk]

Rhoda Bangerter:

It’s acknowledging the challenges but also not forgetting to acknowledge what you're doing. Right? And I think that's a great place.

Nanna Hauch:

Yeah. And it only becomes toxic if it's like you're stopping your partner and you're not listening. You say, oh, no, no, no, listen, it was all great weather yesterday, or imagine you're so lucky you have a driver or whatever it is, but really to acknowledge, but then also say, and, hey, we're actually doing okay. We're managing.

And if you're not managing, and if it is difficult, then again, obviously, I mean, this is my line of business. Get some support, , therapy, couples therapy. Family therapy, it's really not that dangerous, , I often call myself a process consultant. I help facilitate difficult conversations and remove these roadblocks that might have, , grown up between you or between us. Right? To really be able to begin to say what's really on your mind in a nice and gentle way that your partner or partner or child or mother or whatever best friend can hear so that you can get stronger and better connection. I think that's the key message.

Rhoda Bangerter:

And about the mask. Right? Let me give you my interpretation. Well, what I've been thinking about, and then please respond. Let me know what you think. But I used to think that I'm putting my mask on first. That means I'm not choosing other people, I'm not choosing my kids. I'm choosing myself first. I'm putting myself first. Right? Or for example, if it was my husband, he's so good at putting his mask on first. I think, like, he should be sacrificing himself for me, , maybe that's also from something I grew up with. Right?

But what I thought was that actually, when you're putting your mask on first, it's for long term functioning, good functioning. It's not in a situation of crisis where there's a tree falling down, I'm going to throw myself in front of him to save his life, and I'm not going to go, oh, what? I'm going to put my mask on first. I'm going to push myself out of the way. And you can take care of yourself. It's not a critical situation where you're putting your mask on first.

If we were both lacking energy, lacking oxygen, I don't know if I'd say put your own mask on first. I'd say this is a critical situation. And if I choose to sacrifice myself and give you the oxygen mask, that's a critical situation. But I think what we're talking about, about putting the mask on first is like saying, no, it's long term functioning. You don't kind of sacrifice yourself and not function anymore and then, , because -- what do you say? What do you think?

Nanna Hauch:

Yeah, it's interesting. I mean, obviously, if there's a real sort of disaster, right? I think any parent or you do anything you can to save, but that situation is, thank God, quite sort of, not so many of us will be in those situations. But I'm really talking about that, making sure to nurture, , yourself so that you can be something for others. And I do actually think that even in a moment of crisis, I mean, this is where I think a lot of couples get into trouble, is that we push through. We push through and maybe to some extent, women or mothers, , a little bit. I think that might be fair to say, sorry, male listeners, if you're offended, but can really go far and forgetting that taking these moments to recharge.

And I actually do think that it's also in times of crises that you have to be aware of. I need to recharge to be able to continue and functioning in a good way, or it will end up, , where you show or expose your surroundings, your kids, your partner, to, , erratic behavior or anger or frustration or sadness in a way that's uncontrolled. And anger is fine. Anger is a good way of setting boundaries. But uncontrolled anger is harmful. Right?

And so that happens to all of us from time to time. But really, when we are under pressure, I do actually think that it's so important. It's not the same as being selfish and being like, oh, you just take care of you. It's not the same as like, go watch football or go do 3 hours of spa or, , isolate yourself.

It's really being aware of what do I need to be a well-functioning, good version of myself and to prioritize that. Sleep, good food, exercise, fresh air, moments to breathe, journaling, happy songs, and to really, again, this is, again, back to this self-awareness, to be aware that you do not do anyone a favor by pushing through and running yourself down to the, …

Rhoda Bangerter:

Ground.

Nanna Hauch:

Extend to the ground. Because then that's, , and this, again, preparation. The talk about this is happening. This is challenging. How do we manage focusing on what are we actually really good at and then making sure not taking it for granted, making sure that you keep being aware about it. Right?

And I think that is also part of human life that we can all fall off that path. I mean, obviously not sleep enough, eat bad or not, . But I think most people probably can recognize that if we do that for too long, right?

Rhoda Bangerter:

We struggle, for sure.

Nanna Hauch:

We struggle. And so I do, but obviously, as you say, told crises, , there, we also know the stories about how we can lift a car to release the child from underneath and suddenly have superpowers suddenly. Right? And of course, that's part of it. But that is kind of…

Rhoda Bangerter:

A different scenario.

Nanna Hauch:

My perspective.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Yeah, that's…

Nanna Hauch:

A bit of a different scenario where there's acute crises.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Exactly.

Nanna Hauch:

Than navigating and managing expat life. And I love the title of your podcast, right? Holding the Fort Abroad. It’s really, it is kind of a Fort, right? In that metaphor, the hero can't really work without some nourishment and some good health.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Completely. I spoke to very early on. I interviewed a dad who was former military and his wife was away and he was with their girls, and he was like, we would never ask a soldier to go 24/7 without sleep. Never ever.

Nanna Hauch:

Exactly.

Rhoda Bangerter:

He said otherwise that soldier wouldn't be able to function. So it was interesting. It's like we often push ourselves to do things that wouldn't be asked of anyone else. We have covered so much. I am so grateful. Thank you so so much.

Nanna Hauch:

Thank you for inviting me.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Where can you -- are you taking clients right now?

Nanna Hauch:

I am, yeah, I am.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Can people contact you?

Nanna Hauch:

The easiest way is maybe, , just expathero.dk or the email is welcome@expathero.dk. I'm on LinkedIn. I'm on Instagram. Nanna. N-A-N-N-A-H-A-U-C-H. My last name is a bit difficult to pronounce in English. Yeah.

Rhoda Bangerter:

I'll put it in the show notes.

Nanna Hauch:

So it'll be more than welcome to reach out and also just connect and share stories. I really enjoy. Also, it's inspiring. I just spoke yesterday, last night to a group of internationals, repat and internationals here in Copenhagen to an event and to experience that atmosphere and that buzz in that room. Because, like, the two of us talked about, right? The connection.

Rhoda Bangerter:

The connection.

Nanna Hauch:

Really go out there and be courageous. Find your tribe, find people to connect with, even though it might be overwhelming or whatever. Some might not have problems with that. But, I mean, networking can be tiring, right?

Rhoda Bangerter:

But it is an essential part.

Nanna Hauch:

It is. And like I told the people yesterday, speaking to, giving this talk, the word courage, I think, is a good word to put on a lot of expats, right? We show courage. We're bold people. We are brave. And that courage stems from the Latin word cor, c-o-r, which means heart. And it means sort of, to tell one's story from one's heart. And so really, to sort of begin to form your narrative and your story and own it and don't hold back. Share that with the world and go out there and be courageous and network and reach out to people like you and I. Right? Reached out to each other.

And in the framework of what your podcast is about, that that is, of course, even more challenging if you don't have your partner next to you and you're used to that. And then again, face that fear. And again, to quote Joseph Campbell, again, that I love is like, and probably many of the listeners will know this quote is “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek”. So it's kind of like, let's just go there, right? Face that fear. Let's be brave.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Let's be brave.

Nanna Hauch:

Wherever you listening in, it's exhausting sometimes. And then this is why you need good nourishment and self-care and self-compassion. And then go out there and do it anyway.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Beautiful! Thank you so much, Nanna. Thank you!

Nanna Hauch:

You are welcome!

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