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Moving Abroad

Moving Abroad

They Told Me Not To Look Back … And I Didn´t

One of the reasons I wanted to live abroad for a year was because I thought it would help me to find myself and allow me discover what I want in life.

It sounds cliche but that was definitely one of the outcomes I was hoping to achieve. It’s really daunting moving to a different country half way across the world with different cultures and a totally different way of life and I soon began to go through a ‘culture shock’.

I’ve been going to America since I was 13 weeks old and having family over there I thought I knew America and Americans extremely well, but I was surprised. I also didn’t think I would experience a ‘culture shock’ because I’m a native English speaker and I thought surely America can’t be that different to England.

But everything was different; the food, water, clothes, media, shops, customs etc. This took me some while to get used to and it really made me appreciate England, its people and the way of life back home.

Before I came to the U.S I made a to do list and thought that I’d definitely be able to tick the items off easily. And sure enough I did quite a lot of the N.Y.C and Long Island based ones easily (Highline walk, Coney Island, N.Y.E in Time Square) etc.

However I seemed to have forgotten how big America was and due to my work commitments and the little amount I got paid, I didn’t have the opportunity thus time passes quickly like a flowing river.

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I also thought about how maybe because I was going to be living in America I would totally change my image, become more into fashion, get my hair and nails done all the time and be a totally different person because I was ready for a change.

By christmas time this hadn’t happened, in fact I had almost reversed. I couldn’t be bothered to do my hair or make up and just wore sweat pants all the time because I was working with young children all day and it was easier (there isn’t anything wrong with any of those things)!

But this new image was so unlike me and totally not what I wanted or thought would happen. I became almost depressed at how much I’d ‘let myself go’.

Another thing was that by christmas time the novelty of living on Long Island and in America had worn off because I was familiar with most things now, I was over the ‘culture shock’ and I had established a good routine and made some amazing friends.

Not to mention the fact that the winter was extremely depressing and the snow felt like it would be here for eternity.

With feeling all of this and dealing with homesickness and the stressfulness of my job, I was a mix of emotions and I felt like I was on a constant roller coaster with highs and lows, and I was still trying to figure myself out and questioned why I was even in America.

I had the love and support of my new friends here because we all totally understood what each other was going through, but when I would tell friends at home that I was feeling low or upset, some would be really supportive and others would just say “awww, but you’re in N.Y” or “how can you be sad, you’re in America”.

This wasn’t what I wanted to hear and didn’t help at all because I realised that no matter where you settle in life, there is good and bad everywhere, and it doesn’t matter whether you live in the most beautiful place on earth, we are only human and we can be upset and have down days no matter where we live.

After the winter had passed it felt like I was in limbo waiting for the summer to start where I could go to the beach and hang out in the sun all day!! It wasn’t until around April time after my mum had come to visit me when the penny dropped. I started enjoying work more and started appreciating why I was here and what I was doing here.

Although I might not have done what I had set out to do for myself and ticked everything off my to do list, it became clear to me that coming here had allowed me to take a step back from my life in England and allowed me to view it as an outsider, kind of like someone observing earth from space.

I was now able to see that coming here had made me realise what I didn’t want in life and how I didn’t want to be. And although I thought I’d come here and find what I did want, I understand now that it’s important to first find out what we don’t want in order to understand what we do want in life.

So I’m grateful I came here and I can come home and know what I don’t want in life which will help me establish what I do what for the next years to come.

Things didn’t make sense at first but now some things do. Being away from home and living in another country for a year hasn’t answered all my questions but I’ve certainly learned a great deal.

I’m not saying that everyones experience will be like mine because of course it won’t, everyone is different and everyone experiences things differently. I feel like now I have this knowledge I don’t want to keep to  myself.

After all, the act of discovering who we are will force us to accept that we can go further than we think.

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This guest post was written by Jazzy Oduba. You can find more of her on her blog ´Life Is Spicy´.

Living Abroad, Moving Abroad, Safety

5 Security Tips When Moving Home To Another Country

You’ve finalized your decision to move abroad and have all of your paperwork and a new home lined up. Before you pack up and move to your new home in another country, be sure that you’ve considered security. While adjusting to being in a new country, keeping your family safe should be a top concern.

Here are some security tips that will help your transition to another country go more smoothly.

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1. Check Your Home’s Exterior Lighting

While homes in many Western nations have abundant exterior lighting, this isn’t always the case for countries abroad. Exterior lighting helps deter criminals and thieves, so plan to have some installed when you reach your new home.

You can have flood lights or motion activated lights shipped to your new house or pack some with the rest of your belongings.

2. Install An Alarm System

Just as exterior lights aren’t commonplace in many countries, neither are alarm systems. You may be tempted to blend in with the locals and not get one, but the peace of mind that a quality alarm system provides will be well worth the investment.

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3. Do Research About Public Transit


Unless you plan on bringing your car or buying one as soon as you arrive, you’ll need a way to get around your new country.
Before you hop on the public transit available, do your research about what it’s like, how safe it is, and what the costs are. Many people who move from countries with relatively safe public transport assume it will be the same when they move abroad — that’s a mistake.
Even if the crime in your new country is low, the mode of public transportation may be something you’re not used to. For instance, if motorbike taxis are common in your new home, consider getting a helmet if you plan to be scooting around regularly.

4. Know How The Locals Drive

So, you plan to bring your car or buy one, and figure you don’t have to do much research about transportation in your new city — think again. Not only do you need to learn about the flow of traffic in your new country, but it’s best to ask people familiar with the area how much of a hazard driving is.
Some countries have very high auto accident rates or are host to highways and roads with extremely high-speed limits. This can be daunting at first. You don’t want to accidentally enter such a roadway and not know what you’re getting yourself into.

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5. Be Prepared To Secure Your Windows And Doors

Doors and windows are a key point of entry for most would-be intruders, so it’s best to make sure yours are safe and secure. If you’ve bought a home in another country, making security adjustments to your locks, doors, and windows will be easier than if you’re renting.
If you are renting, check with your new landlord to see what changes you’ll be allowed to make and then plan to bring along the locks and materials you’ll need. Alternatively, find a professional locksmith who services the area you’re moving to.
These five tips are all simple ways to secure your new home when moving to another country. With just a bit of preparation, you’ll feel more confident about starting your new life abroad.

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AUTHOR BIO:

Nathan Hughes is a founder of Locksmiths In Sydney. When he is not letting you back into your house at 4 am in the morning, he is driving around Australia in a camper van, or sitting back with a glass of red wine in Europe.