Ever one to be full of fabulous entrepreneurial ideas, I have been pondering one lately which I believe has great untapped potential. The thought came over me yesterday as I contemplated the resounding success of my post on the 20 thingses I will miss about Xījiãpō.
My complex, mysterious brain threw forth the idea that there should be rehab places for the Expaterati, to assist in the transformation from expat to normal person, via means of extreme re-immersion. (Clara says re-patting, like any major change, is “an opportunity for transformation”, and I suppose she could be right. Still sucks though.) The rehabs would have the geographical locations of small, dull villages in whichever country the expat is returning to. Being from the UK, I will use this as my example for illustratory purposification.
So the rehab would be in a village far away from London, to make it as difficult as possiblé for the ex-expat to access excitement, diversity and vibrancy during the therapeutic process. They would be installed in fairly average accommodation (fully staffed, of course – let’s not push people completely over the edge!), and required to undertake mundane, but purposeful activities throughout the day. These could include volunteering at the post office (which would be super useful because I don’t think the Royal Mail have paid staff anymore), working at the village shop, doing dog-walking for local residents, or other more specific employment related to individuals’ skill-sets.
If the ex-expat has children, there will be absolutely no school bus, and therefore thusly a significant proportion of waking hours will be dedicated to ferrying said children around and sitting in traffic. Car stereos will be locked to the most tedious local radio stations, and phones or other devices will not be permitted in vehicles.
There will also be a strict requirement for community participication, including, but not limited to, organising events such as church fêtes, disseminating information on woefully boring local issues, and providing foreign language tuition for village residents, in the event that any languages were picked up during expathood. Community involvement notwithstanding, the insular nature of the locals and their strong indecipherable accents will mean that at no point will the ex-expat feel a sense of belonging to the community, and will therefore thusly experience alienation, rejection, and an inability to build relationships with anyone in said community. It may sound harsh, but this would be a particularly important aspect of the treatment, adopting, as it does, the evidence-based technique known as swamping, wherein the patient is exposed to the very thing they dread. No pain no gain, babeses!
There will also be a series of mindfulness-based DBT courses, all of which must be completed in sequence before the ex-expat is assessed as ready to leave the rehab. These will focus on issues like:
- Being a small and insignificant fish in a large rancid pond
- Surviving without a tan, or even a healthy glow
- Not constantly referring to the awesome places where one has lived, and how much better they are
- Concealing one’s light behind a bushel (in my case, the bushel is going to have to be mahusiv)
- Getting used to the drudgery of long days, particularly if re-patting from Singas, where the days dash by
- Only meeting new people occasionally, and accepting that they might not realise how profoundly fascinating you are
Depending on the specific presentification of the patient, there may be restrictions on behaviour or permissible activities. For example, it may be necessary to disallow alcohol consumption, the smoking of cigars, dining out, or the playing of social sports. Any activity which sustained or brought meaning/ structure/ pleasure to the ex-expats life whilst abroad will need to be eliminated for the duration of rehabilititation.
The final essential component is group and individual therapy. Clara always says that Drama and Movement Therapy is the best way to “bypass the ego and explore the deeper unconscious aspects of the self and the soul”, so that’s a must for inclusion in the treatment. Individual therapy with highly trained analysts – preferably Jungian – would need to happen up to five times a week, depending on how expatty the ex-expat is. The most expatty patients will be assigned therapists of the very highest calibre, who will take absolutely none of their sh**. Because a huge pile of that, there will inevitably be.
So I am hereby sharing my brilliant idea with the world, and I think you’ll find that it will soon be a huge success on Kickstarter. Investors, feel free to get in touch, though I will need to retain 51%. I am wondering about the name now… Perhaps The Hard Times Clinic. So heart Charlie Dickens. He should’ve kept his sentences shorter though.
Nearly four yrs since we lost you. If only you had gone to rehab, Ames babes. Then we’d still have lovely you. I was at a Four Seasons in Bali when I heard the news. Cried my heart out into that infinity pool.