Something incredibly exciting happened just one week ago: my lifelong dream of living in Europe came true. I may be in the United Kingdom, so not technically mainland Europe, but an EU country nevertheless. It came to pass due to the fact that my husband (and all around excellent human being) is a Brit, and we put up with the sweat, tears, and more tears that came with an enforced separation when my visitor visa ran up, and the excruciating process known as applying for a Settlement Visa with the UK government, that followed. But we made it! Months and months of preparation paid off, and within days of receiving said visa (giving me permission to live and work here), I was on a plane heading across the sea.
Now that the jet-lag has passed, and the initial disbelief that I’m actually here has been released, the reality of it all has finally hit me; I’m not here to travel, or wait for the next move – I am here to LIVE. The time is nigh to START OVER. Holy hell, that’s amazing and terrifying at the same time! I’ve wanted this chance at a clean slate for so long, the chance to go somewhere new and build my dream life from the bottom up, but now that I am afforded this opportunity, I feel like a kid starting their first day at a new school. Your garden variety worries of ‘Will I make new friends?’, or ‘How do I get involved and find my niche?’ and of course, ‘What if I fail?’ are coupled with the overwhelming excitement of knowing the world truly is my oyster.
So now, we build. We search for a proper place to live (because living with my in-laws simply won’t do for long term), and I search for work / friends / a sense of belonging in my new home / a decent sushi place (because almost everything here is a PUB!). It’s always interesting to be on this side of a dream, to at long last see something fully manifest, and be accountable for what you do with that manifestation. Last year when I took my leave of absence from work to volunteer and travel in South America, I had intended for it to be temporary, and living in guesthouses and hostels made it fairly easy to meet people and feel like you were a part of something without having to think about it or stick your neck out too much. This time round, there won’t be any communal living, or 20+ hour bus rides; this time I won’t get very far unless I stick that neck out. I’ve also spent the last year telling myself that when I started to look for work again, I would only go after jobs that spoke to my soul, and not my wallet. Now I have to uphold this self-made bargain, and see to it that I don’t lose myself along the way. That’s some scary $#!@ !!!
This brings me to you, readers: what advice would you give to someone starting over in a new place? Have any of you ever been in this very same spot at some point in your life? I’d love to hear how you were given a chance to recreate your life, and didn’t compromise what you wanted because of what other people in society told you you should be doing, and how you made new friends along the way. Leave a note in the comments section with your stories and tips. I’m hoping with this, the inspirer will become the inspired.