Having gone online in September 2007, InterNations has just turned nine. Another twelve months, and the world’s largest global network for people who live and work abroad will be in the double digits!
It is thanks to our InterNations Ambassadors and Consuls that our members could attend 52,000 official events and activities worldwide in the past year. Thanks to the Volunteer Groups, InterNations members are now able to give back to their local community in 36 cities across the globe. Last but not least, it is thanks to the feedback and the support from our members that we are continually learning how to better fulfill our mission of making life easier for expats.
Therefore, we would like to share our joy on this special occasion with you. Now that we have blown out all the candles on our birthday cake, we’d like to make a wish — or nine, one for every year of successfully bringing expatriates and global minds together. Our nine birthday wishes are meant for all of you.
We Wish You … All the Sweetness in Life
A delicious cake — like the many presented at our birthday events all over the world — is essential to get every good birthday started. We hope that life abroad will always have a treat for you in store: find something you enjoy for its own sake!
Just like cake isn’t always the most “sensible” option, food-wise, but surely the most tempting, don’t hesitate to give in to life’s little temptations that make it all the sweeter.
The Opportunity to Shine Bright
But don’t forget about the candles! The candles on a birthday cake should be burning bright, and you might even throw in a few sparklers for your own mini-fireworks. May they remind you to make life brighter for somebody else, too.
Volunteering could be the perfect way to do so; it’s definitely the perfect opportunity to make new friends among expats and locals alike. After all, what good are fireworks without somebody to share them with?
The Right People to Share Your Adventures
Speaking of sharing: let’s admit it — most of us don’t mind getting showered with presents on our birthday, no matter if we are five or fifty.
Mostly, it’s not the gift rather than the thought that counts: the mere fact someone cared enough to share their time and creativity with us. Therefore, wherever you are, we wish you plenty of people to have a great time with and to share your adventures abroad.
The Strength to Put on a Smiling Face
Sometimes, however, the colorful wrapping paper covers a less than pleasant surprise. Surely, each of us has once been forced to give a polite nod and smile for the world’s ugliest sweater from a great-uncle.
Unfortunately, life’s gifts are sometimes equally unpleasant — that applies just as much to life abroad. If your chosen destination presents you with an ugly sweater, figuratively speaking, we wish you the strength to nod and smile and take it in stride.
That Special Souvenir from a Special Day
Even though not all birthday gifts may be to your liking, they usually come with heartfelt greetings in the form of a card. Better than text messages or emails, birthday cards serve as tangible reminders of the kind wishes and the fun you had after the party is long over.
We wish you just as many mementoes for every place you’ve ever lived in. Remember to buy that souvenir, keep that postcard, and frame that picture!
A New Crowning Achievement to Aim For
If you are the sort of person who loves sparklers, you might also wear a glitzy birthday crown to the party. While getting older happens automatically, everyone has other milestones to celebrate, even if you don’t actually get crowned for them.
Be proud of what you’ve accomplished, like learning a new language, making a long-distance relationship work, or raising kids abroad. But don’t rest on these achievements: hopefully, you’ll always find new goals to strive for.
Only Hopeful Goodbyes
In addition to cake, candles, wrapped gifts, and a special crown, every decent birthday party needs balloons. Nowadays, it’s become a trend at anniversaries or wedding receptions to choose fancy helium ones. The guests let them go together, standing there and watching the tiny specks disappear.
Every expat knows the feeling of watching people and places disappear. Perhaps your next farewell will be as light and hopeful as the sight of those balloons rising skywards.
Wisdom and Curiosity
Pondering the passing of the years may be another inevitable aspect of birthday celebrations. It seems like yesterday that you received your degree, found your first job overseas, and were planning an international wedding. Now you’ll be turning fifty and your oldest kid has graduated from high school? When did this happen?
Just remember: with age comes wisdom. May life abroad provide you with opportunities to benefit from your experience and yet to keep learning.
A New Beginning around Every Corner
Every birthday not only marks the passing of one more year, but also the beginning of a new one. Regardless of where you live, how old you are, or what you do, it’s never too late to change something that bothers you about your life or to try something you have always dreamed of.
We’d like to wish you the best of luck on your next journey, no matter where it may lead you.
Raise your glass with us right now, or at one of the many InterNations birthday parties around the globe. Here’s to another year of InterNations for all of us — and to all of your wishes coming true!
(Image credit: 1) InterNations 2)-10) iStockphoto)