Every now and then I hear people talking about their nostalgic chatters of their time living abroad, I felt familiar. Undoubtedly, living in another country changes you fundamentally. There are those who live abroad for school, maybe work or even to travel long-term. The fear of living abroad is more written and read about than discussed. It is more pronounced initially and gradually decrease when you start easing into the new environment. It takes some time before you realized things back home has changed, the kid next door has grown a bit and your best friend just got married, all these happened without your presence. Yes, life has went on without you.
Many of us want to escape ourselves, the package comes with the completely new you and having the freedom of doing whatever you what. The excitement of walking into a coffee shop for the first time is great, even if the items on the menu are largely similar to those back home. All these for the negatives of living abroad, you start to think if it is worth it. Time is your best friend to give you your answer. Everybody you meet on the streets is going to teach you something new. Life is tough, nothing comes easy.
Living abroad is all about being out of your box. When you have seen enough, you know that your problems are insignificant compared to those in other parts of the world. You look war, slavery and poverty in the eye, you will be glad you are fortunate not to be part of it.
Your home will always be home
As much as you want to experience living abroad, nothing beats the comfort of your own home. What else matters when you are surrounded by people who love you. Although ‘home sick’ can be a very subjective ‘illness’, your home is where you experience your many first times, more than abroad. Go ahead and experience all you can while you are young, you will return home being more appreciative of what you have.
The thrill of being foreign
You enjoy walking in the grocery store and looking at stuff you never expect to see back home, then passing your loose change to the cashier to handle it because you take forever to figure out those coins denominations. I used to live in California and I love how bonfires are held almost every week by the beach. I don’t get that back home. You walk down the streets and you get people looking twice at you not because you had a messy chocolate muffin breakfast written by the corner of your mouth, but because of your foreign accent or language. Despite all these, you don’t feel out of place, you love it.
Independent is not an achievement, but a process
Living abroad can be a very daunting experience for first timers. You are scared because of many things. You might not speak the language or you might not have many friends to talk to. But don’t worry because these are temporary. Before you know it, you will be more independent than you have ever been.
Saying more final goodbyes than anything else
Here is the hardest part, saying goodbyes. Other than your daily goodbyes to your best friends or sweetheart, final goodbyes are different, something that you can never be perfect in. You can never bump into these friends at some corner of the streets in downtown, you say goodbye without knowing when you guys will meet again, or ever again. Back home, you guys will be countries apart, time zone apart or even oceans apart. At the end of the day, these people are part of your living abroad memories, good or bad. Deep down you know in comfort that the friendship will also be there, rain or shine.
Is living abroad a grand adventure? That is for you to decide.