CHARLOTTE – Are you peaceful or fearful?

Are you peaceful or fearful? Much of the news is negative these days, and many people are terrified of the unknown. I hope you find a word of encouragement in this thought.Most native English speakers, when we hear the words, “Who is afraid of the big bad wolf?” are reminded of the children’s story “The Three Little Pigs.” I just love that story. The story begins with the mother pig sending her three little ones out into the world to make their fortune. The first little pig built himself a house of straw the second little pig built a house of sticks and the third little pig built a house of bricks. Then the frightening big bad wolf comes along, making his threats and intimidating others.Thinking of a peaceful or fearful coexistence … I have three cocker spaniels living in my home as well as an almost 2-year-old cat. We brought her into the fold when she was about 4 months old and wondered how she would be — peaceful or fearful?My dogs love frolicking in the park with me. They are happy by my side wherever I am. When I am at home or in the car, they become my watchdogs. Both of these places are their kingdoms and they think they are in charge. No other animals or strangers are permitted to intrude on their territory. Not that the neighborhood cats don’t try! When I brought my cat Nemo home to stay, the dogs were unsure about this. I’d say they were even a little wary and maybe even afraid. Of course, they would not show it to the cat.Other cats tend to creep around the dogs, but Nemo is different. She was brought into foreign territory and met it head on. She has managed to adjust to dog culture and even picked up a few dog behavioral patterns by mimicking what she sees. Nemo has crept into their lives and has been noticed and accepted.In a way, you could say that is what the majority of expatriates want. Most expats I know want to become a part of the local culture to some degree and fit in so that they can navigate it with ease instead of fear and dread. It is natural to feel unsettled when you do not understand what is going on around you.I don’t mean to imply that my dogs don’t love to give Nemo a chase around the house now and then because she eggs them on and teases them. Nemo actually likes the challenge of a good chase. Most cats are afraid of dogs, but Nemo has not succumbed to this.I have learned from watching my pets to not give up when something may be thought to be impossible. Who would ever have thought that Nemo would not be afraid of the dogs? I was not even sure if it would work in the beginning and acted as referee in the early stages. I find it interesting to observe how Nemo does not think of the dogs as being the big bad enemies. Nemo is definitely the titch of the gang, but she does not seem to be bothered that she is the smallest of the furry ones.When you are an expat, you may be the only foreigner at work or in a crowd. There is no need to be intimidated or made afraid by a situation. My dogs could have badly injured Nemo by now, but they have grown to live together in peace and watch out for each other. Nemo is not terrified of them.Just watching all these furry animal interactions has made me realize how at times, as an expat in the minority, I have felt small, like Nemo, and encountered someone who seemed big, intimidating and imposing, sort of like my three dogs. I had ventured into their kingdom, whatever the cross-cultural situation was. If you have ever felt like this, you too may have even wondered: This is a different world, what am I doing here?When I travel around in the United States and have an opportunity to speak about Turkey, I am often asked if I am ever afraid living in another country. I have found in my years of expat life that facing fear is the best way to fight it. The worse enemy can be fear itself. I just give it my best and whisper a quick prayer for help.There is so much to explore and discover when living abroad. Don’t let fear or lack of self-confidence stop you from having opportunities.

SOURCE: Todays Zaman

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