I was looking into my calendar to check my availability for a day out with a friend when I thought about writing this post.
It is the second time I write about living abroad. You can check my first post Strangers In The City here.
I am a Tunisian expat living all by my own in the UK. Some people call me a brave girl. After I went through the “new girl in town” phase and I established a life and a routine for myself, after I met friends, I decided to do it all again by moving to another city.
So here are some thoughts on living abroad based on my personal experience.
- It is not easy
No matter how good your life is professionally, financially and socially, living abroad is never easy. It requires a lot of courage and strength.
It is simply not easy because you will have to cope with (probably) a new culture, different weather, new cuisine, etc. And more importantly, you will have to cope with loneliness. Because unless you already know people living in your new “home” town, do not expect to make friends in just one day.
So yeah, be ready to spend few weekends alone.
Hey, it is not that bad. You are in your new world, go out and explore your new neighbourhood, live the adventure and enjoy your loneliness, it will not last forever 😉
- It takes time
Did you know how to use the coffee machine and the microwave on your first day in the new job? I did not. Same thing for how to pay my bills? What are the best supermarkets to buy my groceries? Everything mentioned above as not easy takes time before you get used to it, before you cope with it. Sooner or later, you will get in there, you will get used to the food, the weather, the streets and you will build your own social circle.
When I moved the second time, I did not expect to go through the “It is not easy” and “It takes time” again, or maybe I refused to go through that, it was already painful once.
I even refused to enjoy my loneliness, I was not as curious about my new city as I was about my ex-new city.
I thought something is wrong with me and I would never be able to build a new life. Why? Because I simply forgot it takes time.
And here I am today, checking my calendar before I can say yes to a lunch invitation. It took 8 months to start filling that calendar.
I do not think that one day I will stop being homesick. It is only normal for anyone who leaves few decades of life behind to miss everything back in the old world. The first days of the new life are the hardest, loneliness and unfamiliarity with almost everything make the homesickness feelings even stronger.
But thank technology, you can keep in touch with your family and friends, you can video chat with them everyday. I talk to my family daily on Skype, sometimes it takes hours, sometimes it is only few minutes.
Whenever I feel homesick (more than the usual), I remind myself why I moved abroad, the goals I set to myself. I also cook traditional meals, celebrate all the occasions I would celebrate if I were home. It is my way to pretend I am home.
But it is okay to be homesick. Actually, I do not want to loose my homesickness feelings, it is my link to my origins, my past and my people. It is a reminder of who I am.
I would like to end up these few thoughts with the same lines from Strangers In The City :
If you have the chance to travel, do not hesitate. The world is so big and beautiful and it is worth exploring.
The traveller inside me