Archive for the ‘JAFA Blog’ Category

Words to Know on the Go – Word #1

| Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | No Comments »

APOSTILLE – french term meaning certification

Aaaghhh the dreaded apostille.   All Love Immigrants (LI’s) need to learn, grasp and be on top of this word! I can not emphasis this enough. Many a love immigrant has ignored my plea only to be told at a crucial time (applying for marriage license, citizenship, residency) that their birth certificate or other required legal document was not acceptable because it did not have an “apostille”.

I know first hand how rude and shocking it is to have someone hold up your birth certificate and say, “this is not legal”. “Yes it is I demand”, no no it is not, you have no apostille. What the (&(*&)#$& is an Apostille???!!? And I thought I had asked all the appropriate questions BEFORE I arrived in the Netherlands. Don’t assume, ask more than one person in a position of power your question, (It’s amazing how the answers change from person to person) and always get any legal document with an officials signature on it apostilled!

Some LI’s have tried to argue with me that they know best or what is legal and what isn’t. Some have tried to tell me that having a document notarized is enough. Well great, its your time, money, patience, stress level, health and well being. You can either wing it or accept that there are laws that everyone must comply with, you included.

Follow the information below and you will at least be prepared! Please note this is US specific. However you can check to see if your country was one of the signatory countries that participated in the 1981 Convention. If so, simply contact the legal department responsible for official documents and they will be able to provide you with the information you need to set you in the right direction.
THE APOSTILLE:

AUTHENTICATION OF OFFICIAL U.S. DOCUMENT FOR USE IN FOREIGN JURISDICTIONS:

Foreign countries often require “official” documents to be “authenticated”
before such documents will be accepted in the foreign jurisdiction. An
“authentication” is a governmental act by which a designated public official
certifies to the genuineness of the signature and seal and the position of the
official who has executed, issued, or certified a copy of a document.

In 1981, the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents entered into force in the United States. Under the
Convention, signatory countries (including the United States) agreed to
mutually recognize each other’s “public documents” so long as such documents
are authenticated by an apostille, a form of internationally recognized
notarization. The apostille ensures that public documents issued in one
signatory country will be recognized as valid in another signatory country.

The apostille, which is a French term for “certification”, is issued by a
designated government official of the country (or sub-national government
unit) that issued the document to be authenticated. The sole function of the
apostille is to certify the authenticity of the signature on the document in
question; the capacity in which the person signing the document acted; and the
identity of any stamp or seal affixed to the document. The apostille either
must be attached as an annex to the official document or placed on the
document itself by means of a stamp. The form of the apostille is prescribed
in the Convention and is mandatory. (A copy of the form is reproduced on the
reverse.)

For the purposes of the Convention, “public documents” that may be
authenticated by an apostille include documents issued by judicial
authorities, including those emanating from public prosecutors, court clerks,
and process servers; administrative documents; and official certificates
affixed to documents signed by persons in their private capacity, such as
official certificates recording the registration of a document, notarial
authentications of signatures, etc. Documents executed by diplomatic or
consular agents, or administrative documents relating to commercial or customs
operations, may not be authenticated by an apostille.

Authorities in the United States that are competent to issue apostilles
include the Authentication Office of the U.S. Department of State; clerks of
U.S. federal courts; and secretaries of state for most U.S. states (for
Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah, the office of the Lieutenant Governor). Diplomatic
and consular officials at U.S. embassies, consulates, or missions may issue
apostilles in certain circumstances when requested by a foreign governmental
authority.

MODEL APOSTILLE

APOSTILLE

(Convention de La Haye du 5 octobre 1961)

1. Country : _____________________________________________
This public document
2. has been signed by _____________________________________
3. acting in the capacity of _________________________________
4. bears the seal/stamp of __________________________________
Certified
5. at ___________________________
6. the __________________
7. by ____________________________________________________
8. No. ___________________________________________________
9. Seal/Stamp:
10.Signature:_____________________________________________________________

For additional information, contact the Authentication Office of the U.S. Department of State (202/647-5002), the clerk of the nearest U.S. federal court, or the office of the secretary of state in your state capital.

Summer Blues

| Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | No Comments »

Are you one of the few expats who didn’t take an extended summer holiday or return to the “homeland” for the summer with the kids in tow??

The summer months can be brutal for expats that choose to stay abroad or only take a short holiday/vacation.

Loneliness, envy, depression, guilt or feeling suddenly homesick are common complaints during the dog days of summer.

What can you do differently to turn your situation around? What adventures can your create for yourself or your family locally?

When I lived in Holland I was amazed at how few of the Dutch I knew (and I knew a lot since I married into a huge Catholic family!) visited places that were considered touristy. Yet whenever I dragged them along with me to these places they were always amazed at how fun or unique they were.

So perhaps its time for you to explore the local countryside, the off the beaten track national museums. A long weekend away at a bed and breakfast in the country you are residing and see it again through the eyes of a vacationer vs. the struggles of an expat!

Maybe now is a good time to get started on those photo albums whether scrapbooking or online. This can be a fun way to relive happy memories of past trips and get the family working on contributing to life long memories for the future.

Seek out a few expats that are around for the summer months and plan some activities together. Sharing costs with others can increase your outings and get you out of the house and doing things.

Remember, expand your contacts. We often make friends or meet individuals we wouldn’t seek out in our native land. However, using this time to make friends with new people can open doors to friendships and interests that you would have never allowed yourself to explore before.

Summer will be what you make it! Get creative, stop using the word “but” and just get out there and enjoy your summer!

Summer coaching is a great way to set goals and get active on lifestyle changes. If you want to meet the challenge of working with a coach and reinvigorating your life, contact me and we will get started asap to setting your dreams in motion!

Stereotypes? I’d never do that!

| Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | No Comments »

Amazing how when you move abroad suddenly all these people have opinions about what defines you, your traits and characteristics.

In fact it can be down right insulting, hurtful and damaging.

The key here is not to fall into the trap.

Do you find yourself saying “oh well back home we do it like this….”
“we don’t do it that way”, ” that’s not the right way”, “Only people from …. do that”

Maybe you don’t say it aloud, you just think it quietly….

Perhaps you find yourself cussing, saying lots of nasty words and throwing a nationality at the end of the remarks???

We all do it. We may not mean to. Sometimes it comes out as a way of acknowledging differences, almost a process a new expat goes through in realizing the differences between themselves and the host culture.

The key here, remember if you don’t like it done to you, others will feel the same.

How can you learn from this habit to identify, judge and categorize others?

First don’t feel bad, people from all cultures, countries and walks of life stereotype.

We make generalizations and sometimes it helps us in dealing with others in business matters.

However sometimes those assumptions made on stereotypes are wrong and inappropriate.

My suggestion, work to see each individual as just that, an individual with a unique way of expressing themselves and experiencing life.

It is important to learn about other cultures. Instead of getting it second hand, try asking someone from that culture how they themselves see their culture.

Learn from the source vs. make assumptions based on generalizations.

Coaching action step:

Share here what assumptions you’ve made and how you have been stereotyped in the past

Who are you? Are you recognizable back home?

| Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | No Comments »

Might seem like a silly question…

Fact is, many expats find themselves behaving in ways that don’t match up with their beliefs, values and goals in life.

Some of us just get lost in the whole “expat thing” and stop listening to our hearts and souls.

Who are you? Can you be that person in this country? If not, what is making you behave differently than you normally would? When you repatriate will you be recognizable back home?

Simple question for you today:

What are you doing in this country that doesn’t feel right for you?

Action step:

What 3 things do you need to do today to get yourself back on track and honouring your values and beliefs?

Are you Accepting Less Than You Hoped For?

| Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | No Comments »

Some people call it “settling for less”, others say “giving up, giving in”.

Either way it can cause long term stress that eats away at your self esteem and happiness.

Living abroad can put us in situations where our choices don’t feel like options we want to pick. The result is we are left feeling trapped and upset.

Sadly, we usually have other options we are not seeing because our own inner voice and cultural conditioning often put up walls blinding us to our big picture options and the truth.

The worst scenario is the one whereby we really do have only a few options and none of them are what we would pick for ourselves “back home”.

This is where it is so important to give yourself the chance to explore your values, determine your limitations and see what type of compromise you are willing to make.

If you can turn your situation around and view it as making a compromise, putting yourself back in the power seat, it can do a lot for relieving the mental stress you are feeling.

The key here is that I am not suggesting you just change the wording. I am suggesting that you actually pick the option that is best for you even though you don’t like it and find a way to actually turn it into a compromise.

Perhaps it means giving yourself permission to return home sooner than you planned because you are miserable and your health comes first. So, “I hate this location and I have 16 months to go in this contract”… becomes “If I work for another 6 months here, the money I make will be enough to purchase that house back home, I will choose to work here for that time and then make arrangements to move back early and find a job better suited to my goals and interests”.

Ok, is a gremlin yelling at you right now….quit the job…. is Julia nuts? Maybe. You tell me.

Which is nuttier, to stay in a situation that is causing you sadness, anger, frustration, eating away at your health at the cellular level causing long term damage, negatively affecting your relationships, possibly your partner or kids, OR seizing the opportunity, taking control of your destiny and reshaping how you choose to go forward.

Never forget. NEVER forget this is YOUR life.

Who are you putting in charge of it? Yourself using your values and beliefs to guide you OR Society, your boss, your spouse, a bad situation.

If you answer yes to the title question of this post, ask yourself the next question: How many more days are you going to tolerate choosing to remain in this situation?

How many more days will you throw away?

Ready to change?

First step. What are you tolerating?
Second step. What would the situation look like without the toleration?
Third step. What do you need to do right now to change this?

If the fourth step for you is getting help with this – I am here for you. Let’s get it done!

Unexpected Opportunities of Living Abroad

| Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | No Comments »

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
– Thomas Edison

The Expat lifestyle can often be chaotic and overwhelming. I have worked with many individuals who felt they spent a good portion of their time abroad simply getting by.

Sadly, this meant when opportunity presented itself they often saw it as an additional burden to their already tough schedule or lifestyle.

What are some common opportunties that are missed?

* Making friends with people from different cultures
* Learning a new language versus only immersing oneself in the expat community
* shifting ones work habits from overworked to balanced and healthy
* Exploring interests and hobbies in a new setting or environment
* Starting that business you always dreamed about versus complaining about your unhappy situation or inability to find a job
* Keeping a closed mind about the new culture

Living abroad can certainly make daily chores more complicated that they would have been in our home or passport countries. It may seem like you have less time than you did just to get through the needs of the day.

However, allowing yourself to experience the struggle, go out on a limb and try new things and approach the day with excitment about the unexpected provides untold opportunities that may change your life forever by enriching it in ways you never imagined.

What opportunities do you think you may have already missed? Do you want to go after them now?

How can you change the way you approach what appears like work and make it fun?

The good news is that you can adjust your approach today and start out each day as an explorer.

Opportunity may be knocking. Let’s answer the door!

Combining my work blogs to this new site

| Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | No Comments »

Just a heads up that I am combining my 3 work blogs under the umbrella of this main business site. I will be moving most of the old posts here and updating with the tag system. Thanks in advance for your patience if some of the posts are “old news” for you.

much success,

Julia

Success!

| Saturday, July 11th, 2009 | No Comments »
Is this your idea of success?

Is this your idea of success?

Success is different for everyone.

When I lived in the Netherlands, I found that the Dutch say, “Success” where in the US we typically say, “Good Luck”.

Good Luck is certainly nice, well wishing. But success! Well that feels good doesn’t it? Nothing left to chance or luck here.

And that is the approach I take with my clients across the globe. We can sit back and wait for “luck” to find us, help us make new friends, teach us the local language, remove the isolation or loneliness, drop a job in our lap, learn to understand our collegues from all sorts of cultures OR we can define what success in this situation would be for us and then take action to achieve it.

It sounds simple and in many instances it is. My success comes in when I am able to assist you in clarifying your needs, taking the necessary action, receiving unbiased support and providing my resources and connections to ensure you reach you goals

The whole coaching experience has made me realize what my potential is and far beyond. With the Expat coaching, my achievements were even more special to me because I was outside of my natural element; a different language, different culture and a different system. Grace Davis, Canadian Expat

It also comes back to me when I have a previous client send me an update from their part of the world. An art gallery opening featuring their work, an article they wrote published in a magazine, their latest assignment in a new country being a lot of fun!

So I tend to use Success all the time now.

Whatever the outcome, may it be successful.