Full Name: Mila Hutchinson
Country of Origin: Belarus
Profession: Massage threrapist and Blogger for a wellness and holistic website
1. What made you move to the USA? Which city did you move to? Was the move to the USA hard for you?
When I was fourteen, my mom got laid off her work at a factory and used her severance pay to buy me a 5-day trip to Paris. After that encounter with Western World, I think I always wanted to live overseas… The move to the US (a small town in Michigan) was not as hard as I thought (and read about on expat message boards). I think I left all my homesick tears in England where I lived before that for 1,5 years.
2. What advice do you wish someone had given you when you first moved to the USA?
To be more open minded. I hated it here at first and complained all the time to my patient American husband: the taste of food, too many choices of products in stores, lack of public transportation and things to do).
3. What inspired you to become a massage therapist?
People often ask me this question and I do not have a straight answer. It was never on my mind until I turned twenty-seven and sort of stumbled into it. The rest followed. I sure surprised everybody in my family, but I do that every now and then, so they got used to the feeling.
3a) You also have a blog called MyBigBowlofOats.com
I have always been interested in living well and feeling well. At the age of five in the former Soviet Union of Belarus, I was exposed to the Chernobyl radioactive fallouts and as a result was sick often. That is why I feel it is vital to be very mindful of what we eat/drink/etc. When it comes to trying something new, I have no fear. So, I tried many things: from old Siberian remedies of my grandmother to biophoton therapy that recently got introduced to the US from Europe (which reminds me I need to blog about it)!
I know the feeling of frustration when your hair keeps falling out or your skin keeps breaking up, so I just wanted to share what I have found to be working (and not working) on myself.
4. Best moment of your career so far?
It is not one or two. Moments like this happen often. It is when I see a shift, a positive change (emotional as well as physical) in a person on the table, and when they notice it themselves too. That usually sounds like, Wow, I feel so much better! Simple things like that make my day.
5. What is a typical day like for you?
I am up three hours before the work starts so I can have my two cups of warm water, prepare food for the day, get my protein shake and vitamins, exercise a little, surf the Internet. I then hop on the bus and people-watch for thirty minutes. I then work – learn, observe, grow. If I have a break between clients, I watch a documentary or read. Evenings are quiet. I like to sip my hot cacao and watch something thought provoking online. Gosh, I sound like a total nerd. I am not though.
6. What are three things you like about the USA?
– traveling without visa when I became a US citizen
– how easy it was to get my US driving license
– public transportation – it is fun and no one is hitting on you!
7. What is your favorite American food? Favorite city in the USA? Favorite store and restaurant?
My food choices are changing all the time. Since I came back from India in October 2013, I have been on a vegetarian diet. I do not have a favorite dish or drink or anything favorite for that matter. Instead I choose to try different things and fall in love with new flavors, places, etc.
8. You are very passionate about traveling. How many countries have you traveled to and what was your best experience?
Traveling since I was fourteen and being able to see thirty-three countries so far, has influenced greatly who I am today. Your view of the world just gets bigger. Your acceptance, tolerance, compassion – it all grows. You realize how similar we all are. I cannot name one experience in particular, because even the so-called bad ones had taught me something valuable.
10. What advice would you give to professional expat women about starting their own business?
Do not let fear of failure stop you. Most likely you will fail a couple of times, but that the best teacher ever, if you are humble. I learned that from my own experience and observing friends and family.
11. What are three things you found about the USA that were different from your country or you found hard to adjust to?
I can name two very different things right off the back:
– Smiling and saying hello to strangers
– Saying Please, Excuse Me, Thank You all the time.
It is a cultural thing you see. While here it is considered a normal polite behavior, Belarus has different view on politeness. If I were to smile at a strange man on a street and say hello in Belarus, he would take it as a clear sign I am flirting or worse – that I am a little mental. In both cases he would not think I am just being polite and I would feel like an idiot.
– and you have the friendliest dogs here! Try petting a Belarussian dog on a street, yeah.
12. What are three fun or interesting facts about your home country?
I think there are more than three, we are funny people.
– We eat a lot of potato and might just be the most potato-eating country in the world
– There is a serious shortage of men, my home town has a male:female ratio of 1:7.
– Our president’s nine-year-old son Nikolai carries a real handgun made out of gold. Don’t ask 🙂
13. What is your favorite quote?
It goes something like this: “Everything you have seen, every flower, every bird, every rock will pass away and turn to dust, but that you have seen them will not”.