For some people moving to a different city (or even country) is a dream come true. Everyone can see themselves walking arm in arm around New York City with their BFF Blair Waldorf or strolling around London in cute wellingtons with an umbrella ready in hand. I mean, moving to such a big place has to look like all the movies and TV shows, right? Let me tell you that – it’s not all roses. There are some things no one tells you about moving to a different city.
I moved to London over 4 years ago. It was my plan since I visited when I was 11 years old. I remember when I was leaving, I looked out of the window and said ‘I’ll come back London, I promise.’ And I always keep my promises. So When my mum came up with an idea of going to a university in England I jumped at the opportunity without considering it twice. How could I say no?
I want to share with you the 5 things I wish I knew when I was making that decision (alongside some photos of London I took). It wouldn’t have changed anything, but maybe I would have felt a bit more prepared for what was coming.
Maybe you’re reading this post because you’re about to move out. Or maybe you are just dreaming about it and planning that one day you’ll set a foot on a different land. Either way, keep reading.
The novelty wears off
I didn’t even think about it when I was moving out. I was 18 years old and I felt like the world was opening its doors in front of me. My bags were packed, I had boxes of my stuff scheduled to arrive a week after me and I felt a bit like Jack Dawson at the very front of Titanic shouting ‘I’m the king of the world!’. And at the beginning it was great. On my first day, I walked up and down the Oxford Street and drank my very first Starbucks in Hyde Park. I was living the dream. It lasted for a good couple of months as everything was so new and so amazing to me. Even my mum kept saying that that happy bubble of mine would eventually burst. And it did. Slowly but surely, Big Ben was just another building, Starbucks didn’t taste as good as before and it rained so so often I gave up on seeing the sun for more than a month in a year. Don’t get me wrong, I still love London immensely, but right now it’s just another city to me. A very pretty one, mind you.
It gets lonely
Moving out on your own to a completely new place means you have to start from the beginning. You need to form new friendships. You’ll have to find new spots to hang out at. It can be quite daunting. Especially for someone with social anxiety. Back at home I never had many friends, because not many people stick around long enough for me to show my true colours. So for a very long time, I actually had no one to hang out with. At some point, I lost all motivation to go out and do anything because I had no one to share it with. Then the homesickness kicks in (more below), so you really want to give up on this adulthood malarkey and go back to being an innocent child. It takes time to make friends and form good bonds. The key is to not give up. Four years later I have a strong group of friends whom I can count on. No matter how difficult it feels, the right people will find you.
You’ll feel homesick a lot more than expected
My mum used to tell me stories of how she used to cry all the time when she was away at uni. How she would smell her clothes and wish she was at home with her family. Most of the time, I listened to it but thought it was a bit dramatic. After all, I’m only a couple of hours away by plane and we can talk on Skype every day, right? It’s not quite as simple as that. When the novelty wears off and loneliness comes in, what you miss the most is to have your loved ones next to you. To vent about the rude customer assistant in a coffee shop. To hold you as you cry because some horrible guy broke your heart (turns out guys are the same in every single part of the world). And finally, to not have to deal with every single problem on your own. Phone calls are great, Skype is great, but nothing will ever replace a mum’s hug or an argument with your sister. Also, you will feel like you’re missing out on so much of family life. And it’s a bit weird to watch them make plans and go about their lives without you there. Even though all you want is for them to be happy. It’s just weird.
Life gets poor
Okay, I am very aware student life means scraping by each month. Before I moved to London I hadn’t worked a day in my life. It just wasn’t a thing in my family, I never had to work and never felt the need to have my own money. Not because I come from a rich family, I just didn’t need anything. Which is why it was so difficult to get an actual part-time job to support myself on my own. I had to budget so so hard in order to have money for food and travel. London is so expensive and to someone who didn’t have to think about money it was quite difficult for me to comprehend budgeting. I wish I was taught about that at school, because hey, I still haven’t used most of my Maths or Chemistry knowledge, but I would have been more than happy if someone showed me how to do taxes. Being on a strict budget sucks, but the satisfaction of finally having your own money (at some point) is an incredible feeling.
Cooking becomes less enjoyable with each day
Guess what, you have to do it every single day. It’s bound to get boring at some point. Usually sooner rather than later. I still don’t know how I managed to not order a takeaway for the first year and a half of moving out. That’s my little achievement. Then suddenly one day I couldn’t be bothered and discovered the magic of living in a big city – the cooked food can be delivered to your door (Hallelujah!). It took me a very long time to fall in love with cooking. I used to make chicken with vegetables every day for so long, at some point I couldn’t even look at poultry anymore. I feel so bad for taking my mum or dad cooking for granted, but I also learnt to appreciate being cooked for a lot more. Maybe invest in a couple of cooking books before you move out, because, sooner or later, you will feel fed up with the not-so-varied diet.
Moving out has its ups and downs. But moving out to a completely different country – that’s the scariest rollercoaster life could offer. The good news? It’s also the most enjoyable one. If you have a chance to do that, grab it with both hands, because an opportunity like that doesn’t knock on your door twice.
Until next time xx
Where would be your ideal place to move to?
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