I am sharing this after soaking up lots of information from my family, friends and people I have met over the last half year – and also from my own experience, as I have now lived about 8 months abroad.
Because you see, things change. You change. Your new life is filled with lots of ups and downs, uncertainty and challenges – and you grow up in unexpected ways. We learn, evolve and broaden our horizonz – and make memories that will last forever. We are truly on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure! 🙂
1. You lack words at the same time as you know too many.
You will no longer know just one language. Sometimes you will uintentionally let a word from another language slip. And while talking you will know the perfect word for something… but it’s in the wrong language. You will interact with a lot of people and a lot of languages daily, and both words and sayings will stick with you. Your language will become more colourful and you will know swear words in many, many languages! Just make sure that you don’t get rusty on your mother language!
2. You’re free
You have always been free, but freedom feels different now! You get more comfortable with yourselves, and your self-esteem grows through the roof. Now that you live thousands of miles away from home, and have given up every comfort – you feel like you are capable of EVERYTHING 🙂
3. You have two of everything
Two sim-cards, two credit cards and two types of coins that magically gets mixed up together whenever you are paying for something. It’s funny to collect, but makes everything more complicated than before. Especially when people try to reach you on the wrong phonenumber – or when only one of two credit cards work, and the one working is the one you haven’t filled up yet.
4. You become a tourist in your own city
You have a never ending list of places to see in your new hometown, and soon find yourself as quite the expert on your new city. But when someone comes to visit and asks for places they have to see, you’ll find yourselves in a difficult position – you can’t name just a few places to visit, you wish they could see everything!
5. You learn how to ask for help
Moving abroad is tricky. What papers do you need? Which bus should you take? What is the do’s and don’ts in this country? There is always moments of distress, but you will soon realize that asking for help is inevitable and also a very good, healthy habit. Your patience will also pop by and drag to the extreme – I mean; who knew you could be this patient?
6. Friendships intensify
Moving away and putting a large distance between you and your friends is hard. You will quickly find out who goes out of the way to stay in touch with you. And while some people will distance themselves from you others will come closer. As it was geniously described on the internet; “It’s basically a sentimental version of going through your clothes and trying to figure out what you want to keep and what you have outgrown.”
7. You start doing as the locals do
Little by little you become a local. Eventually you know which market gives you the best deals, you start learning the language , order ‘the regular’ at the coffee shop and discuss local elections on the bus. Even though you are not a “real” local you will still feel that you are entwined in the new culture, and you will catch yourself “doing as the locals do”.
8. Goodbyes get easier (sort of)
Even though it never feels like it, goodbyes gets easier with time. Maybe it’s because you have a home and routine waiting for you when you get bak home, maybe you can shut off all emotional organs temporarily, or maybe you just know that after a goodbye there’s always a hello ❤
9. Time gets measured into tiny little moments
While your life passes by you at full speed, life at home goes by really slowly. On one hand you will receive news about birthdays you have missed and people who you haven’t had a chance to say goodbye to. On the other hand, your new lives goes by at top speed, with so much to see and explore. Time is so precious and different, that you learn how to measure it into tiny moments. Like a skype call with close friends, or a beer with your new ones.
10. You realize where your home really is
In the beginning it was hard to answer where your home is, as it usually involves a lengthy explanation. But eventually you know where home is. For some, it’s where the heart is. For some, it’s where you spent your childhood or lived during an important life event. For others, it might be where the laptop is and where the Wi-Fi connects automatically 🙂
OR, home is the person travelling with you. The people you leave behind. The streets you have wandered. Home can be all the memories you have created (which explains why the question of home is so hard to answer). You’ll find out eventually. Do you know where your home is?