Published in  
Lifestyle
   on  
November 25, 2020
 edited by  
Janet Escobar

Feel The Fear And Move Abroad Anyway

There was nothing like home. Nothing like a fresh baguette in the morning, the melodious laugh of my loved ones, a kiss on the cheek to greet someone, and dozens of swear words I could finally understand without frowning. Part of me tended to forget how thankful to be for what I always had. And even though I was glad to be back, I was not harmonizing quite well with the French society anymore, like a guitar resonating an octave higher.

I was twenty-one when I first moved abroad-it was to China. Scary for some, exciting for others. I guess I was somewhere in the middle. Nervous when I was chatting with my grandparents, thrilled when I was hanging out with my friends. Different generations, different worlds, a globalized one for me. At the time, we were only a few to leap at the opportunity. Many others stayed behind, too intimidated by the idea of being away for a while, now kicking themselves for not even trying. I am not blaming them, never will. And if you are hesitating, still wondering whether you should move abroad or not, then take my hand. Let’s live in a foreign country together.

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I was twenty-one when I first moved abroad-it was to China. Scary for some, exciting for others. I guess I was somewhere in the middle. Nervous when I was chatting with my grandparents, thrilled when I was hanging out with my friends. Different generations, different worlds, a globalized one for me. At the time, we were only a few to leap at the opportunity. Many others stayed behind, too intimidated by the idea of being away for a while, now kicking themselves for not even trying. I am not blaming them, never will. And if you are hesitating, still wondering whether you should move abroad or not, then take my hand. Let’s live in a foreign country together.


China, Clarity.

The culture shock. I prepared myself, months in advance, to try to minimize it. I was expecting it to be so bad that it did not really happen. I was mesmerized by everything, absolutely everything - including their chopsticks. I loved it all. This was my chance to reconnect with my origins, part of who I was. I felt blessed and grateful for every single minute spent there. To be honest, I was almost blind by all this appreciation. I was bothered sometimes, frustrated, and even upset by the exact same things I fancied in the first place. My norms and values were slowly and peacefully clashing with theirs. Oddly, this helped me gained a sense of self-clarity.

The United-Kingdom, Patience.

I underestimated how difficult it would be to fit in. I assumed it would be easy, easier on the basis of the European culture. I was terribly wrong. Living abroad was much more than finding a house to live in and a company to work for. It was about the connections, the fun, and the adventures. I missed them all. After six months of struggle, I was ready to give up, to walk away from the obstacles until everything fell into place; Until I decided to make the most out of this incredible experience. I traveled, I smiled, I reached out. And this was enough to make friends, the best friends, to go hiking in the most gorgeous places, and to cry in my colleagues’ arms while saying goodbye. And thank you. Thank you for teaching me patience.


Australia, Fulfilment.

My mother was standing on the platform while I was stepping in the train. For the first time, I felt distressed, unexpectedly aware of who I was leaving behind, what I was leaving behind. I realized that life was a trade-off and everything came with a price. To get closer to my dream, I had to give up on the beautiful things as well. Australia was a long-lasting wish, and I worked so hard to get there that I had to give it a try. This adventure did not turn out as expected, and that was fine. I understood that fulfillment was possible as long as I was thriving in this direction. My desires and aspirations could fluctuate without being better or worse than what I had imagined, to begin with.


France, Love.

There was nothing like home. Nothing like a fresh baguette in the morning, the melodious laugh of my loved ones, a kiss on the cheek to greet someone, and dozens of swear words I could finally understand without frowning. Part of me tended to forget how thankful to be for what I always had. And even though I was glad to be back, I was not harmonizing quite well with the French society anymore, like a guitar resonating an octave higher. Readjusting was delicate, and politics was driving me nuts. I had to breathe, I had to get out. Anywhere, but somewhere else. It felt ruthless because I loved them. My family, my friends. I loved them so much. I still do.


The Netherlands, Balance.

It felt a bit like a rushed decision - and maybe it was. I was jumping on a plane with a signed copy of my employment contract and a couple of my favorite dresses. Yet, the content of my suitcase did not matter. My mindset did. After all these years living abroad, this was one of my most treasured lessons-learnt. I knew who I was, and that was enough. It did not take long until I felt I was living where I was supposed to. Cycling along the canals with a bunch of tulips in my basket, delighted and lively. The Netherlands offered me the life I wanted. A balance I treasure every single day. So what are you waiting for?        

Article written by Laurie Wurms and edited by Janet Escobar.

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