It’s been almost 10 years now since a plane taking me from small Tallinn to London, city known as a fog Albion, landed in Stansted Airport. Almost 10 years ago I decided I was moving abroad.
And almost 10 years later I am still here. For the last 10 years London has truly become my home. I am in a happy relationship, working in a job I love, have my close friends here. But I have to be honest, it wasn’t always easy. Actually, it was hard – especially for the first couple of years after moving abroad. There are at least 3 tings I can think of that no one told me before I were moving. These are the things you might want to consider before packing up and moving abroad.
You will feel lonely
When you move to a different country, especially if it is somewhere, where you don’t know anyone – you will have to build relationships. This will take time, sometimes even longer than you think. And if you are like me, and you prefer quality over quantity, that might prove to be quite a challenge.
I wanted to have around me only those people who I really connected with and did not want to waste my time with just anyone, so I wouldn’t feel lonely. There were quite a few holidays and celebrations that I spent by myself. Don’t get me wrong, because of my personality I was perfectly happy enjoying my solitude and being alone was never an issue for me, but if you are an extrovert and in need of being always surrounded by people – that might be a tough experience for you.
You will become distant with people who once you were your closest
When you decide to pack your bags and move to a different country and leave your past life behind, you are also leaving the people who were closest to you behind as well. Unfortunately, no phone call, no message, Facebook, Skype or anything of this sort can compare with you being present on your best friend’s or cousin’s wedding, mum’s or dad’s 50th and 55th birthdays, their 25th wedding anniversary, celebrating these treasures moments with them, watching your friends getting married and their kids getting older.
The fact is – you miss a lot.
The people you once were close with become more and more distant, even if you try to keep in touch at first. As the time goes by and you make another phone call or type a few lines in the email, you suddenly realise that there is not much for you to actually say. And it is not your fault and not theirs – you just grew apart. You have very different lives. This realisation can be honestly heartbreaking. I remember so clearly when it hit me, as if it was yesterday. And the closer the people were, the more it hurts. There is an upside, however. You will not lose all your close ones – I have managed to keep the most important friendships alive and am incredibly happy about that. There are a handful of them, but they are the strongest. When you say goodbye to your old friendships, you can also better concentrate on building new quality ones.
You will never feel quite like a native
Even though I feel like London and England has become my home, sometimes I still feel like a stranger here. But, to be honest, even living in Estonia I never felt like I completely belonged. As I am coming from russian/ukranian family, we were not native Estonians. Despite the fact that my parents moved there when I was just born we never were treated like the natives. We were somewhere in between Russia and Estonia, but never fully emerged into either of the cultures. Therefore, for me, getting used to a different culture in that sense was nothing new. For someone who has very strong cultural belonging that can be a very tough one.
Despite all of the above, decision to move to London was the best I have ever made (thanks to my mum who was always encouraging me to do so and supporting my decision). It has changed my life completely and it has also changed me in so many ways. It made me more tolerant, versatile and open minded person. I’ve also became stronger and learned many valuable lessons along the way.
If you are considering moving abroad, even for a short while, I would say do it! It will be the most amazing experience in your life. Although, you should consider the above, do not make it stop you.
Is there a country you would like to move to?