Living Abroad

How I have been coping with moving to a new country.

I wrote this around new years.

It’s around that time of year when people reflect on what they have done and the effects their decisions have had over the past year.

I wasn’t going to do a post like that. I was going to write about my new local climbing centre, but as I scratched my head and tried to think of a witty climbing post, my mind wandered over the last three months. The move, the settling in, all of it.

I realised I wasn’t being completely honest with myself. There are feelings that have been building inside of me since Josh and I moved here, and they are demanding to be confronted.

So here it goes. This is what has been going on in my head over the last three months.

When I think of moving country, I think of all the major things that are affected; jobs, friends and family. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Before this, I was working in a café, trying to save for climbing trips and focusing on each day as it came. I didn’t (still don’t) know the language and I had never been to Germany before. But I felt like I had a vague plan about what I was going to do. Apply to language centres, teach English and slowly adjust to German life. I was scared, but I did it anyway, and the reality is humbling.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand I am so lucky to have the opportunity to move to a new country and experience new things every single day. There are people who dream of travelling but for some reason or another, they never get the chance. I don’t want this to sound whiny or give off any ungrateful vibes. I am grateful. Grateful to Josh for being so supportive and grateful to myself for being brave enough to take the leap. But I also know it’s important to acknowledge the parts that are not so great. The parts where I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing here, and if it wasn’t for Josh, I’d have given up and gone home on the first day.

Here are some lessons I have learned along the way:

  • Don’t have high expectations – at least not with job searching. It’s not easy. If I am being perfectly honest with myself, it’s demoralising. For me, it lead to mental punishment and denial about my situation.
  • Keep myself busy – not working means I have a lot of free time to fill in a productive way. Sitting at a computer and watching Youtube videos all day is nice at first, but it’s not stimulating enough for the brain. Having projects and learning new things keeps my brain active and developing in a healthy way.
  • Appreciate where I am and what I am able to do – I have so much I can do. I have time to work on things I love doing; from this blog, to climbing and training, or deepening my yoga practice. I have the opportunity to make my life the way I want to live it.

I am not a “successful” person by any means. I have my writing, I have my climbing and I have my yoga. That’s all I need to be happy right now (don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about Josh, he’s fab.). If I could make at least a semi sustainable career out of any of the three, I would count myself very well off, and quite lucky.

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