About to prepare our third move in a few years, I look back and I know that our life in a tightly packed suitcase and move to another country was one of the best decisions we have ever made. Because when you leave, when you turn your life journey and uncertainty far.
You face new challenges, you discover in you that you were unaware facets, you find yourself and let yourself be surprised by the world. You learn and you expand your prospects. Unlearn, and a base hit and a few lessons, you grow in humility. Evolve. Yearn … and create memories that will not leave. If you’ve ever lived or traveled for a while away from home, you will feel identified with these 17 things that change when you live in another country.
1. The adrenaline does not leave you.
From the moment you decide to leave, your life becomes a swing of emotions, the unexpected, learning and improvisation. The senses never sleep, and for a time the word routine is taken from your vocabulary to make way for adrenaline. New places, new customs, new challenges, new people… The feeling of fresh start should scare you, but it is addictive.
2. But when you come back… everything as usual.
So, when you return home a few days, are you surprised that everything remains the same. Your life has changed at a frantic pace, and arrives full of experiences and a few days of vacation ahead. But at home goes to it’s usual pace. The others are juggling daily responsibilities, and understand … that life does not stop for you.
3. Missing you, and you can spare the words.
When people ask you how things are going, you struggle to find adequate words. Then, however, you have to bite your tongue because half of every conversation you remember a thousand and one stories and do not want to sound pretentious or overwhelm others with war stories of “your other country.”
4. Understand that courage is overrated.
Many people will tell you that you are brave, you would also want to leave, but do not dare. And you, you were you afraid, and you know better than ever that courage is perhaps 10% of the big decisions. The remaining 90% are the “will”. Fancy? Do it. When we jump, no more courageous or cowardly: whatever happens, you face it.
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
5. And suddenly, you’re more free.
Probably you are as free as before, but the feeling of freedom, now, is different. If you’ve escaped the comfort and you’ve accomplished everything working hundreds of miles from home, you feel you can do anything.
6. You stop speaking a particular language.
Sometimes you miss a word in another language; others you can only think one way to describe something … with that perfect expression that is not in the appropriate language. When you live with a foreign language, learn and unlearn at a time. Whiles internalize cultural references and insults in your second language, you surprised striving to read in your native language so they will not rust. Like when Homer went to a wine tasting and forgot how to drive.
7. You learn to say goodbye and to enjoy.
Soon you realize that now many things and people are passing, and the value of most situations are relative. Perfecting the balance between creating ties and know to let go of memory: a perpetual struggle between nostalgia and pragmatism.
8. Lives with two of everything.
With two SIM cards (one full of phones all over the world), with two cards of your library, two bank accounts, two types of currency always, do not know how, just mingling when you pay something.
9. Normal? What is normal?
Living in another country, such as traveling, teaches you that “normal” means socially or culturally accepted. So, when you immerse yourself in another culture and another company, your concept of normal cracks. You learn that there are other ways of doing things and, after a time, you too adopt that habit that was unthinkable. We also know yourself better because you discover things what you really think and what, by contrast, are learned are.
10.’ll Become a tourist in your own city
That tourist attraction that perhaps had not visited your country in addition to the list of places to see in your new home, and soon you will become an expert in town. But when someone comes to visit a few days and asks recommendation, it costs a few activities to choose: if for you, recommend you visit them all!
11. You learn to be patient and to ask for help.
In other country, the simplest task can become challenging. Process a paperwork, finding the right word, to know which bus to take. There are always moments of despair, but soon you arm yourself with more patience you never had, and agree to ask for help (on the bus, in the street, you know) is not only inevitable but also very healthy.
12. The time is measured in small moments.
As if you looked from the window of a moving car in the distance time seems to pass very slowly, while close up detail go at breakneck speed. From a distance, you hear of how life is at home: birthdays, people leaving, you lose important dates… Instead, in your new home, the day goes very fast. The concept of time is deformed while you learn to measure in small moments, whether on Skype with the usual or a new beer.
13. The nostalgia invades you at the most unexpected time.
A food, a song, a smell. Any smallness enough to suddenly flood the longing you. Missing details you never imagined (that Hands up who has treasured a can of tomato sauce as if the One Ring), and would give anything to be able to transport you, for a moment, to that place. Or to share the feeling with someone who understands you…
14. But you know it’s not where, but when and how.
Although, deep down, you know that you do not miss a site, but a strange and magical conjugation of place, time and the right people. That year, in which you travelled, you shared your life with special people, you were so happy. In every place where you have lived are a bit of who you were, but sometimes not enough to return to a city to stop missing her.
15. You change.
You will read that there are often life-changing travel. And, despite the clichés, living in another country is a journey that will change you deeply. It will shake your roots, your certainties and fears. Living in Edinburgh forever changed us in many ways, and if not for that time, we would not be ready to take the next step in our lives. You may not believe it before, you know it or not during. But someday, you’ll see with astonishing clarity. You have evolved, you have scars, you have lived. You’ve changed.
16. The home fits in a suitcase.
From the moment your life fits in a suitcase (or, if you are lucky with your airline in two), what you understood by household ceases to exist. Almost everything that you can touch with your hands is replaceable; travel where travel, accumulate new clothes, new books, new cups. But the day will come when, in your new city, you invade the feeling of being at home. Home is who is with you, who leave behind are the streets where your life goes. The home is also random objects that populate your new floor, those of disconnect from you who remorseless leave when the time comes. Home are the memories, the conversations in the distance with family and friends, a handful of photographs. Home is where the heart is.
17. … And no going back.
Now you know what it means sacrificing comfort, start from the beginning and marvel every day. And the world is so great … how to give up of a continuous discovery?