I stood in front of the Santo Spirito neighborhood cafe in majestic Florence, Italy one morning in 2016. Where two Italians stood behind me to yell their coffee orders first. Their orders vibrated in the air through my soul to the worker behind the bar. He made their coffees first, then turned his body, sans eyes to me as I whimpered my espresso order in English in Florence, Italy.
That was the day I decided to learn Italian so I wouldn’t be run over by the locals. The second reinforcement to learn the language was after the fifteenth taxi gave me a different price on the same route. From my apartment to the Peretola airport. Every. Single. Time.
It was 2016 and my first time living abroad. Which was night and day from my yearly Italian vacations where I had the ‘fun and go,’ attitude and mentality. It took me eight months of complete immersion and weekly tandem language exchanges to confidently order my food and coffees in Italian. I also demanded the prezzi per i residenti, perche sono residente; the price for residents because I am a resident. And you know what? I got them.
It’s normal for tourists and foreigners to receive quotes twice or three times higher than the local prices. I’ve been cheated and taken advantage of around the world in my travels and have heard story after story. Hey, it happens, it’s normal and that’s that, right? Yes! Do we have to accept it? No!
After spending some time abroad and intuitively landing in Kosovo in 2019, I decided to hire a personal assistant to help me with the language and price gouges, among other administrative tasks. Given that Kosovo is a developing country with an average salary of four to five hundred euros a month ($476-$558), opening up an opportunity for a part-time personal assistant made sense. I’d spend or lose the money one way or another.
Here are seven lessons I learned from hiring my first personal assistant abroad:
1. Find a student to work part-time as your assistant.
Locals are quoted different prices from internationals and tourists, so you will immediately save money the moment your assistant calls around for any services you need like car rentals, vacation properties, taxis, etc. Hire a student to work part-time as your assistant to help guide you on the lay of the land. They know the language, their culture, their people and of course the regular prices. My assistant will let me know immediately if something or someone seems off from what she’s accustomed to. It saves so much time, effort, and energy this way. It’s a win, win for all. From supporting a college student’s life to getting local prices and having a firsthand guide.
2. Hire two in the beginning. Give them a thirty to a sixty-day trial period. Keep one and fire the other. It’s not personal, it’s business.
My two final applicants after interviews were the opposite of each other. They had different strengths and instead of hiring both of them, I hired the one familiar with my line of spiritual work. She was eager and intuitive. Too eager. After sixty days, she stole a client referral and tried to heal this client with no experience or education in any healing modality. She was reckless and egotistical in her approach and cost me time, money, and energy.
3. Clarify and outline the duties of what your assistant will be doing.
If you are not clear on what they will be doing, they will not understand what is required of them. I tried having my first assistant do everything from translating messages to walking my dog. After I fired my first assistant and hired my second one (who has been with me for six months), I clarified her administrative duties sans dog walking. I left that to a separate dog walker, who my second assistant found for me.
4. They do not need to be knowledgeable or interested in the same field as you.
I thought it would be best to hire someone knowledgeable or in the same field as me so that I wouldn’t have to explain certain terms and ideologies. I found out it doesn’t matter if they’re interested or not, as long as they’re proficient, humble, emotionally mature to openly communicate, and willing to learn, that’s all that matters. The operation from spaces of ego and interest in the same field equals disaster. Ie: Believing they can be you and do what you do without any form of experience.
5. Do not hire anyone who is a victim or plays a victim of black magic spells and witchcraft.
Being the person who people seek out for help against black magic and witchcraft, I should have already known this, right? Yes, I knew my first assistant had some black magic baggage. I meditated for two days before making the final decision. Instead of feeling it out, I logically reasoned myself into hiring her because the other applicant was not familiar with esoteric realms. I told myself I could separate our energies and her black magic baggage wouldn’t seep over to my overhead.
It did. Over and over again. Those two months together felt like a black hole of eternity. Imagine the amount of disappointment not in her, but myself, when I listened to her not apologize for her actions and the domino effect it had. If I would have listened to my intuition instead of logical reasoning, things would have turned out way differently.
6. Listen to your intuition.
It’s been years since I surrendered to my intuitive path and allowed Spirit and Source to guide me. Yet, even after six years of honing my intuition, things like this still happen. Why? Because I am human. I used to reason with myself daily and I would feel the repercussion of not leaning into the feeling of it. Logic reasoning maybe happens twice a year now. The other ninety-eight percent of the time, I use and follow my intuition. I don’t beat myself up like I used to. It all rolls away like water off a duck’s back.
7. Hire someone with humility.
When I first had the idea of hiring a personal assistant, I made a list of characteristics of the perfect person. Unfortunately, humility was not on the first list. It was naive of me to assume otherwise. Now, being humble is on the top of my list, especially in a country where egos bump into one another because of their sizes.
Also, I learned that you won’t know how big a person’s ego is until you begin working with them. So there’s that.
It’s my six-month anniversary with my second personal assistant, who is a medical student studying in Prishtine. She’s saved me time and money, again and again. She isn’t afraid to correct me or question some of my decisions as a foreigner in her country. She has been a godsend after my first hire.
Looking back, I am grateful and appreciative of everything that has taken place. Would I have changed something differently? Not necessarily change, but I’ve made a large mental sticky note in my subconscious to always, always make decisions based upon my feelers instead of logical reasoning.
I wouldn’t have known the things I’ve listed above and more without hiring the first personal assistant in Kosovo.
Each experience is a learning lesson as long as we are open and willing to learn from them.
And learn from this I did.
Carol Dao is the author of, “Holy Sage for the Soul: Spirit Releasement Stories Based on True Events.” She is also an international healer and accepts clients on a case-by-case basis. If you’d like to download your free copy of How to Master a 5 Breath Meditation, please click this link. As the state of flow requires her to recharge in different energy vortexes and ley lines around our world, she can only be reached by email.