Everything started 3 years ago…
3 years ago…Every time I looked at the mirror I was seeing two moments: first was myself in high school, looking out of the window, thinking of sailing away to foreign lands… second was the promise that I gave to myself when I was on the stage on graduation day, it was to experience foreign lands as an expat…
It’s been 3 years since I said “I am going away”…
I wanted to go to Asia, truely to live and breath the local life there…to go somewhere where i was gonna feel like an alien, totally a different world…I was going after something that I didn’t know what it was…
In one of my dreams, I even saw myself in Asian type of rowing boats and I was rowing to the mainland China like crazy!
I was living, dreaming, running towards my dream…
I made it to Shanghai as Economics, International Business and Psychology lecturer and on my way to be an entrepreneur but I was not awere of that at that time…I left everything behind…a very hard decision to give but at the time it was the only thinh I wanted…
I started While Travelling blog and then life was leading me to my initiative…Expat Neighbors, a truely unique community for expats and returnees, a home away from home…I believe that you don’t find your dream, your dream finds you! It chooses you and whether you’ll be brave enough to do it or not is up to you! I chose to follow my dream and help people around the world!
Yes, my dream consumes me in a way that i would have never imagined! That’s the only way you can give life to it, otherwise it is just gonna be another wish that will be sent to universe without any action behind it.
YOUR PATH WILL BE CHALLENGED BY ADVERSITY
But to be honest, I have been challenged mentally from time to time but especially for the past 2 months! gosh 2 months! I felt like as if everything was going south on me! Let me tell you how I was meeting unexpected stuff everyday!
My Tech Team
Last year, I failed big time to build Expat Neighbors website, I lost $4K and was stuck in Shanghai cause I was not able to buy a plane ticket back home to visit my mom. I saw myself as a failure. I was miserable in foreign lands. I picked myself up again saying that this was the fee that I had to pay to get this lesson. Accepted, learnt and moving on!
After couple of setbacks, I was able to go after and form a tech team of 6 people coming from all around the world, an international team. We have been working hard to turn my dream into reality! I had no idea that i was capable of that, the only explanation is my dream consumes me, sometimes throws me off the cliff but sometimes attracts the people that I wanted!
I told my friend that I was gonna find 6 people in 7 days and we’ll have a tech meeting 7 days later. I did not have any clue of how to find them but I had to put myself and the idea out there so that people could see and believe in it. I was able to find 6 people in 7 days and we had the meeting after 7 days! Since April till 2 weeks ago, we have been working after work till late.
Expat Neighbors was selected as one of the Alpha Class Startups in Hong Kong Rise conference but they were also charging us to attend to the conference that we were not able to afford that amount of money so we chose to invest it in our platform rather than spending at this stage.
Again, we had to be tested and we had a rough time of 2 weeks with one person in the team. I was going crazy, I thought that I was losing my dream, think what a mother would feel, if she loses her baby, I was in the same situation! I lost apetite, lost sleep and so much tears…I even said to one of my close friends “Am I destined to fail in every attempt when I am so close to make it happen?”…I was so hard on myself…At the end, I had only one choice to be strong and in control! I knew what I wanted and I manage to solve the situation with having the support of my team members but it wasn’t easy. The people with most resilience remained. We keep going with 5 people.
We are getting ready for our beta tests: www.expatneighbors.com
Entrepreneurship is tough in a way that you have to be ok with being alone, working long hours, seeing opportunities in the time of setbacks, keeping a positive attitude, controlling your feelings and learning all you need to turn your dream into reality!
I now know that the way to success is filled with failures, that’s why I realized that what defines us is not our successes but our failures, what we learn from it.
Shanghai Government issued a new policy saying that all English teachers have to be native from now on! It normally shouldn’t affect me cause I am not teaching English, right? Wrong! The problem was most of the schools wanted to be on the safe side whatever lecturer positions they were hiring for, they were asking for all native speakers! This had to be a joke but it wasn’t! So in order to realize my dream, I had to be here in Shanghai! I didn’t tell anybody except my close circles about it. I was like, I just formed my team and now I might not able to be here even. I had a breakdown for a minute but then i trusted the universe to calm myself to go with the flow but doing all I can.
Throughout these 3 years, I learnt to listen to my senses! And this time my senses were telling me that there was something wrong with this situation and I had to take action before being in the position of a victim. So I started to look for another job that doesn’t require “the native” label. I went to an agency where they had found the current job for me 2 years ago but they were also not sure about my situation because of my nationality. I said just arrange one interview and I would make it happen. They did!
2 days later I was on my way to the interview…I did a demo lecture to all economics lecturers and I could see that they were pretty impressed. Then they wanted me to give an international business lecture to the department head and the students two days later as well. I did and they loved it too. At the end of the lecture, they were standing out and giving me a big aplause. I thought that I was being interviewed for the lecturer position but they offered me to be the business head of the school. Yayyyy, well but there was still this uncertainty about the visa because of my nationality. We were so badly running out of time, like if we miss to catch the deadline I could not be able to get a new visa.
Then I figure out that I was right, my school wanted to be on the safe side by hiring a native speaker instead of me and my students were crying and talking to the management to make me stay in the school but the management wanted me to tell them that I was leaving for my personal reasons. I said I won’t do it, as an educator, I won’t lie to my students.
I am so glad that i listened to my senses and took action before I was caught up without an option. At that time when they were forcing me to lie to the kids, two Turkish couple came to the school to learn more about the school and as soon as they learnt that there was a Turkish lecturer in the school, they wanted to see me that’s when the management was in panic hahaha…I love the timing of Karma! I am not angry to anyone cause it alsways leads me something good! That’s how universe communicates…
But I was so burnt out during this process that teaching 30 hours, working till late after teaching with my team, had to look for a new apartment, running the operation for my start up, dealing with all extra papers required for the visa. I was feeling stuck and my travelling spirit was getting in the way saying that leave everything behind and pack your bag and travel the world!
But you know what! No, we’re not done yet!
I also realized that I had to separate “income” from “time”. I have to create a passive income to secure my dreams instead of depending on only one source of income, especially when I am abroad! I should be able to help people around the globe to be better decision makers by giving them the tools of Economics and International Business regardless of my nationality if any time for whatever reason the governments decide to issue any policy that support only natives.
After all those uncertain days, finally I got my visa today! I am so grateful for everything! When I told my mom that I got my visa, she was like it was a real battle Evrim for you! yes it was a mental battle…
A new house
I seriously hate looking for new houses. Till last March I had a great apartment right in the center of Shanghai but then my landlord asked for 50% increase in the rent and I was like nooooo….So I had to move to the campus and I really didn’t want that too but it seems as it was the best option as there were no houses with acceptable prices – In Shanghai rents are getting crazy, like it is nuts! So I was living on campus and of course the security guys were falling a sleep, the doors were locked after 10pm and sometimes I had to jump off the fences or enter to my building from the window-awesome right! I took a selfie when I was in action hahah
Megan, one of my friends who was showing me houses, told me something..It was a weird moment for me cause I thought that she was reading what I was going through…She said you built such a great community, it would be hard for you to quit all when you have put your blood in it…She left me with those words…I was like what…
I believe that there are angels among us that come closer to us at our weakest moments to empower us with their words…
I was able to get a nice house thanks to Megan’s help. This house is in a super local neighborhood and actually that is what I wanted to truely understand the local life, hmm yes with all the underwears of locals displayed on the laundry day haha, this is how life is here.
Now I need to unpack everything you see in that box as seen above, but before I go, I wanna reach out to you and wanted to say that everything happens for a reason. I know that every time you fail, it hurts, man, it cuts you deep, especially the feeling of diappointment…but you never give up! you pick yourself up, you brush yourself up and you move on, you adapt yourself because there is always someone out there wishing to have your bad days!
Yes, my dream consumes me but it also makes me stronger than ever before!
I could have collapsed easily if I had let hardships to darken my heart but my faith has been a shield when tough times come with truck loads, it has protected me! I helped me to focus, solve problems that I could and try not to worry for the ones that I have no control over!
I believe that it is important to make yourself more than just a man or a woman! if you devote yourself to an idea, you become something else! because now it is all about building a reality that can still stay and change lives all around the world when that time comes, when our time is up in this world, it can still serve people. That’s what consumes me!
If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere!