I haven’t really found a place that I call home, I never stick around quite long enough to make it. My life is for rent and I haven’t learnt how to buy.
Packing life in 2 huge suitcases and paying for extra baggage (Indian mother to be credited for packing pots and pans), employment visa papers, OK to board, learning to understand the difference between paying in INR and the local currency, learning a new language, beginning my career in foreign land, having to calculate time differences and coordinate Skype calls back home… This is everything I signed up for when I moved to another country.
I knew things would change, and I tried my best to be prepared for those changes.
What I did not realize about moving to another country was just how much it would make me question people, relationships and importance of certain things in my life. I mean how realistically can I live without the mother’s constant pampering? Also, I just realised I am pampered and rather spoilt as a child (which when I lived with my mother I refused to accept being the only child). Just how will I live without riding my bike in a city that has grown into my blood, the rains, the cold winter in Bangalore! How will I not run to Moose or Jazzbaa for last-minute plans to escape the mundaneness of how stupid the world feels or to pop into Orion Mall with me so that I can ogle at the random bloke in the store? (who isn’t as good looking as I imagine) Oh the familiarity of the Indian men! Not so sure I’d miss that but still..
I will be honest: I have both under and over compromised when it comes to absorbing into this new country, and I can tell you; neither is the solution to your problem. In fact, doing either will most likely lead to more questions.
Am I compromising too much of myself to be here?
Am I underestimating or overestimating the prospects of what this change will do to me?
Am I letting these new cultures, traditions and expectations cut me off from my own heritage, my own culture and the way I usually do things?
Home is where you leave everything you love and never question that it will be there when you return. Moving to another country is an adventure, to say the least. It is exciting, exhilarating, and most likely a little scary at times. There are days when I walk out of my newly moved into building and look up at the beautiful skyscrapers literally touching the blue skies and bow down in humbleness for I feel blessed to be walking these streets, the elevators and travellators. I feel proud and scared that I am here! This is definitely not as easy as most other bloggers out there might have you believing.
When the idea to move to another country pops into your head, you slowly start to figure out what you should be prepared for; you know you will most likely have to deal with some sort of visa and immigration process, filing taxes in your home country may be difficult, finding a home that is comfortable and yet doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket. Those are all practical things.
I want to talk about the more personal barriers that you cannot possibly be prepared for; and those are what make you question everything. The feeling of anxiety and overwhelmedness will never leave you.
Finding that balance between you as a person of your nationality and you as a resident of your new country can be really difficult – but it’s so important to think about.
Making time to reconnect with mum, family, friends back home: Your time will actually be important here and not just wasted time on the phone!
Re-evaluate people you called friends back home! Why? Not because you now have a fashionable NRI tag but the fact that these people won’t feel your absence the way you felt theirs! So keeping in touch with everyone becomes just a sentence and not a commitment for both.
Be bold enough to make new friends and not be bothered with the fact of what will they think? Good friends or just acquaintances? Should I share everything? How friendship is defined here is a hell of a lot different compare to what it is back home.
Everything will be a learning experience and determine how open you are to learning it? Even a small ride to the next station is a learning experience cause you need to load your card, ensure you’ve taken to the right side of the train, be in the right cabin car, don’t drink water or chew gum… Endless!
Moving to a new country is so much more than booking your flight, signing your visa or immigration papers and the adventures you will have there. Making the choice to live in another country teaches us to find a balance between where we have come from and where we are right now. And in today’s world; you need to be that person that respects other countries for everything it is providing you with. The privilege of living in one of the safest countries for women, a roof that is comfortable with a gorgeous view, food that makes you feel like royalty (sometimes, poverty the other times), the fact that you work in a world-class business centre that overlooks the tallest buildings in the world… Wow! Now, a lot to be respected and thankful for!
I could count the 1000 obstacles that happened before, on the way or after I got here! Panic attacks, accident, dropping my expensive laptop, paying for extra baggage, over thinking about paying, anxiety about the flight, medical check up issues and delay in getting the visa.
Nothing comes easy in life I know that! But throughout the entire couple of weeks of me getting used to things and being here, anxiety is something that never left and gave me company throughout. Like, “Hey! I’m with you, are you scared? You aren’t? Oh remember the time that you did something bad? Yeah that karma is going to get to you and something bad is about to happen.” Everyday I keep thinking damn it’s all going alright. Is something bad about to happen? And when it does I always think; see I knew it would be like this! Why did I think bad about that person? Is this the evil eye getting to me? Why does everything have to be so tough? All excuses to blame someone else or something else, but the truth is these were out of my control. So I did what I do best, prayed for strength and put on my armour and learnt to battle it out in my head and physically at times!
People always talk about how much living alone in a different country changes you. I think people often forget that no matter how far away you go, you can’t escape yourself. Moving far away doesn’t guarantee a dramatic transformation. If you have crippling anxiety in India, you’ll be anxious on the other side of the globe too. Moving abroad will change you, but you can’t expect it to solve your biggest problems within you. Being alone in a new place forces you to face yourself and your problems head on. Moving abroad isn’t a simple solution for the deeper problems plaguing your mind. Even if you were to move to the moon, you always take yourself with you. As a fortune cookie so insightfully once told me, “No matter where you go, there you are”.
Moving to another country requires sacrifice. You’ll miss holidays, family birthday dinners, and Friday night drinks with randomness of friends during happy hours, just to name a few. You’ll be off having your own adventures, and hopefully having the time of your life. Sometimes, though, you’ll see that one picture on Facebook of all your friends at your favorite bar, and your heart will shatter. You’ll realize that everyone’s lives don’t actually revolve around you, and that they are all carrying on without you. Life is moving on, and you’re missing a chunk of it. You’ll be missing in the pictures, you’ll be on the outside of the new inside jokes. In this age of social media, it’s impossible to avoid reminders of what you’re missing back home. Some days it won’t affect you. Some days a simple Instagram story can send you into a crisps and chocolate-binging cry-fest of homesickness. You’ll figure out all the subtleties of adulthood that they never teach you in school (that’s what the Internet is for, right?), and you’ll realize that maybe being an adult isn’t the worst thing.
Seeing new parts of the world forces you to realize just how little of it you actually occupy. The scariest bit maybe that have the freedom to make this journey entirely your own. You are in a place where no one knows you or stories of your past. No one here knows that you get anxious with the thoughts of certain people who hurt you. No one here remembers the drunk episodes of tonguing the random guy in his ear. No one here saw you cry and have a meltdown at work cause of stupidity that reflected nothing on you. Embracing that and recreating yourself is difficult. If you always wanted to be more outgoing or more daring or more laid back, this is your opportunity. You’re the author of this new chapter. You can be who you want to be, and do what you want to do. Write your own character, create your own story… All you need to do is live it!
It is said that a hurricane is born when the wings flutter, I may be just a little butterfly in the grand scheme of things but my wings have created the hurricane. I have learnt to live with the fear of fear but embrace it and be my own best friend here so teach, learn and explain things to yourself where you can learn how to help yourself move on from your current situation.
Mistakes happen. Know it. Own it. Move on! As easy as it sounds, isn’t something you will get used to immediately! (words from the wise and even from the ones at work!)
I still miss everything in Bangalore and how I know how much I miss a lot of people, places and my things. (I really dint need those 6 extra pillows and 2 different colours of heels – though I miss them too!) Uffff… After all you can’t take the 32 years that happened there and say that isn’t me anymore. But those 32 years are what makes me stand under this beautiful skyscraper that breaks open the beautiful blue skies and screams to the galaxies above. (Oh! I also think it goes up until heaven)
I made it! I survived me. I got through my problems and situations by coaching myself through it and lived to tell the tale. Was it as easy and glamorous of some would assume? Hell to the NO! I literally lived like today was my last, but I got through it. Of course with the help of those that provided the oxygen to the thoughts and lungs at times!
Always dreamt that my passport would speak of the stories that my words couldn’t splatter across on paper. It does! If you read real slow and understand it, I live those stories through the pages.
Oh I almost forgot to mention, I now live in Dubai and my visa has come through and I am officially a resident here! 🙂 I have found home…
Though, if home is found on other sides of the globe,
Home is of course here——
and always a missed land!