“You are so brave for moving, I could never do it”
I feel like everyone that has moved away, short or long period have heard this sentence. Let’s be real, living abroad is exciting and fun and yes, it can be life changing, but there are a few aspects that no one really tells you about, because I feel like you need to experience it by yourself.
I moved to Belfast about 6 months ago and although I was excited, that did not change the fact that moving away is hard, and you find yourself in situations that you have never encountered before. That is why I thought I would share different things no one tells you about living abroad.
Getting started will be hard
Clearly before moving somewhere, you should know if you are going to have a job and a place to live. That is not easy either. Depending on where you go you may encounter the “immigrant” problem. The amount of times I was told they rather hire someone local instead, even when I am perfectly qualified and have previous experience for me was heartbreaking.
I felt like no one wanted me just because I was not British, you get over it, but it is not a nice thing to hear. I encountered the same problem with finding a place to live. As I don’t have family in the country, therefore not a guarantor, they would tell me I would have to pay two or three months in advance.
It won’t feel like home
As much as you try, it won’t feel like home. The feeling of not belonging and always feeling like a tourist it is always going to be there. There is no place like home, and once you live abroad, you realise that the statement is actually true.
When I first moved I really wanted to fit in, feel like I belonged with everyone else, but that is impossible. I have a different vision of life, activities I enjoy… that just comes with growing up in a different place.
I have travelled a lot for being 22 and I have spent months without coming home, so when I moved abroad I never thought I would feel so homesick as I did. Everyone has good and bad days, that is just part of human nature, but on those bad days, you may get homesick. For me, on the worst days I just wanted to go home, I cried, I wrote what I miss… On top of that, if you are not used to the weather, that can make you homesick too. 6 months in and I still get it.
You learn to appreciate it the smallest and most random things from your city/country
I always took the sun for granted, and I even complained it was too hot some days during summer, now I literally BEG for any ray of sun. Food wise, I knew it was something I was going to miss, but Oh. My. God. How bad the food is.
Everything is fried, and heavy, I come from the Mediterranean, so we eat a lot of fresh vegetables, fruits… yes we have our pleasures like paella, the cold meats and the gorgeous world of olives, but nothing is as close as being so deep fried and unhealthy. I have never spent so much money in fruit and vegetables, it is scary.
You will regret your decision
As soon as I got the keys to my apartment I thought “what have I got myself into?”. It is hard deciding you are moving and just because you are feeling all these emotions, one of them is your brain screaming FUCK, WHY DID YOU MOVE?! to you every two seconds.
I am still on that phase, but from what I heard, it eventually is rewarding… I will update you when I go through it.
Reaching THE POINT
THE POINT. I like to capitalise it because it is just a random moment of you snapping for no reason at all. I have talked to a lot of other people that have moved abroad and we all had this in common, it happens.
It can happen from the most stupid thing, mine was during laundry, I forgot to put white socks in my white laundry and I reached THE POINT. All these different emotions hit you all at once and you may start crying or get all angry and annoyed. It goes away, but I definitely felt like I was going insane for a while.
Forgetting your native language
It sounds weird, but it happens, I promise. I speak two languages as my natives, Catalan is the main one I use for everything and then I obviously speak Spanish. I am living in Northern Ireland (take it as Ireland or UK as you please I am not here to make a political statement), clearly over here I speak English and so every now and then I have a moment of “how was that called?”.
I feel like when you know other languages and you don’t speak them as much because you have no one to practice them with, even if they are your native, it is natural for you to just forget some words every now and then. You may feel a bit useless at the start because you may forget specific words in your actual language but it is fine, everyone goes through that if English is not your first language.