Moving abroad has been an emotional rollercoaster at first for me. But I found out who I am, how strong I am, and what I want. I can tell you that my experience has been fascinating if not a bit inconsistent varying between depressing and joyful. Not to mention I’ve been sick close to 15 times now in a span of 9 months, mostly because I work closely with children in a foreign country I’m not used to. That has made things a bit stressful. Yes, I’ve had my moments when I wanted to go home, when I wanted to give up and when I longed to snack on a big bag of raisinets. Gosh how I miss raisinets! But I’m still here and I’m no closer to boarding a plane and heading home than I was when I first got here. Moving abroad takes time, emotional time.
I’ve read some interesting articles recently from other expats and I cannot say that I moved abroad to run away. Um, hello, I moved from NYC to Nürnberg. No one runs away from NYC, if you’ve been there, you’d know it has its magical pull. Sure it’s stressful as hell there and so damn expensive BUT it’s the only place I’ve been where you can do literally anything whenever you want to and there is always something awesome going on. And also you can go shopping on Sundays, which really means a lot to me. I moved here for love and the promise of a good loving future. And I know that can seem foolish to some people, especially people who have experienced pain and disappointment in love. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been there too but my story and those stories are far apart. If I only did things based on the opinions of others regarding love, I’d be sitting back in Boston eating a pint of rainbow sherbet and lamenting over Love Actually. Because Love Actually is everywhere dammit, so why isn’t it with me! But my story is different. We met, we traveled, we were friends, we chatted online when he moved back, we met up in Europe, he traveled to me a few times, and then it seemed ridiculous to keep up the distance. We both knew where this was going and after 2 years of friendship and relationship, I took the plunge. I’m here and despite the constant illness, the feelings of inferiority, the confusion, feeling unappreciated and like an outsider, I still cannot get my big butt back home.
I’m here. Do I feel like I’m missing stuff back home? Sure, but it doesn’t keep me up at night. In fact, it doesn’t really bother me much anymore. I’ve moved on and so have other people. And if someone wants to keep me in their life as I want to keep them in mine, we find a way to be informed and be a part of each other’s lives, even if we’re time zones and oceans away. Because that is what you do. I know some expats think this is the hardest thing about leaving home, but for me, it wasn’t.
A common misnomer about moving abroad is that you begin living a plane-hopping glamorous European life. That’s simply not true. Sure, I can travel more around Europe cheaply and quickly (it has the potential) but that doesn’t mean I do. I work just like I always have, have a savings account for when I want to travel, go grocery shopping, and clean our apartment. My life is no more glamorous here than it was in NYC, except to say quieter in a new culture where people speak another language and flying to Amsterdam, Paris, Vienna, etc., is an hour-long trip that costs 100 euros, more or less. I’d say moving abroad taught me about adventures and finding your way when it’s not easy. It teaches you strength and resilience.
And in important news, we’re engaged!!! Yayyyyyy!!!! It was both unexpected and expected and I’m extremely happy about it, and I know he is too (he’s German, they’re not known for displaying too much emotion). So we’ll begin planning and working out the details to our wedding, where to sign our papers and what country to have it in. (I’m thinking over here my dear friends, it’s easier to plan a party where you are than trying to organize a party where you have to wait until late at night to make arrangements and phone calls). I have never been to a wedding, don’t know much about them other than the cakes and I pretty much have no idea what I’m doing lol. If anyone has ideas, please feel free to write to me. It’ll be really small and intimate, and the food will be great. That’s all I know.
And my last sentiment: I hope people can be happy for me despite the world around them, because I’m happy about this and I should hope my good friends will be too.