Uprooting yourself, tearing yourself away from your nearest and dearest, to a place where you near on know nobody, starting a new job, finding a place to live , living out of a suitcase, locating the supermarket, getting used to different accents, words and new cultures (ideally without embarrassing yourself or possible even offending somebody(or many-body’s), spending a lot of time on your own, exploring new areas (my personal favourite!) celebrating small wins like successfully navigating the public transport system or big wins like landing a new friend – these are some of the trials and tribulations of moving countries. For some of you that sounds daunting to leave your familiar environment.. whereas for others like me, I get giddy with excitement at the possibility and the newness around me!
The counter balance of all this is that ‘moving ‘home’ back to the familiar, the place you grew up and spent the first 25-30 years of your life (if you are old enough to have spent that much time anywhere that is :-)) is tough.. At least 3 times a day I close my eyes and wish that I could just go back to my old life in London where things ‘felt’ easier (definitely not easy!), where I was making my own choices and I felt at home away from home until it became my home (re-read that to make sure you got it!). Now, because I did not leave ‘sunny England’ by my own choice with an expired visa being to blame for the tears that flowed the entire duration of my flight from London to Dubai (potentially a PB for continuous tears for me!??) I now feel a bit like the little blue man from Googlemaps that you pick up and just drop wherever you fancy and he just has to deal with that.
Sure, life in Brisbane is definitely not terrible and Brisbane has grown to be a cool little city while I had my back turned. I have a great job and I work for an amazing company in an excellent team, but building a life somewhere takes a lot of effort, buying cars (thanks Dad!), finding another place to live, working out how to catch a bus to work, re-acquainting yourself with the supermarkets – it’s a whole load of effort required to tick off these tasks that I didn’t choose to have on my to-do list. Of course I went through all of this when I relocated to London, but it somehow seemed worth it because I knew why I was doing it – I knew what the reward was. I am yet to find the why, or the ‘carrot’ for my new life in Brisbane and I can tell you, I have been looking under rocks, in crevices, between the couch cushions. left right and centre, it is not going to show itself easily, but I am sure it is there!
It’s amazing to be reunited with my friends and family here, seeing how they have grown and changed, catching up on a few years as well as a few missed beers. In many cases it is very heartwarming that with your most treasured friends, it instantly feels like old times and nothing at all has changed! Not being on the other side of the world from all of those people is certainly one problem solved, but it’s a big giant see-saw now because I have left some of my most newly treasured friends who quickly became my family back in the UK !!
Because I am not in the habit of lying, when I said I’ve got a great job, in a great company and I work with intelligent and inspiring people I meant it. For those of you who may have forgotten being the new person is harrrrrd. I’m not regularly described as shy, but even an extrovert like myself still gets a little nervous, clumsy and awkward (one of my party tricks!) around new people (like the first day at school – I hope they like me!!) and although my job is similar to my job in the UK which I knew how to do mostly back to front (I would usually still do it front to back because it made more sense that way…) it’s all new systems and processes and as a perfectionist at work, it’s exhausting learning the nitty gritty and having to be patient (there’s the word!) while I’m in the taking notes, asking questions and seeing how long it takes for them to work out I’m pretty nuts phase.
Patience is the key. Patience to wait and see what happens, to not be hard on myself is the key to surviving this thing known as ‘reverse culture shock’ and successfully building my new exciting life at ‘home’. For those new to this program you might need to know patience is historically not something I have an oversupply of. I like things (all the types of things) to happen quickly, be as interesting (and as tasty) as possible and with as many LOL’s (friends, beers and Mexican food) as I can get away with while doing it (whatever ‘it’ may be!).
So, I wanted to share a little about this odd little concept of feeling outside your comfort zone IN your comfort zone (but still not outside of London Zone 1), so for those looking for my usual ‘optimistic twist’ this post is mostly just been a big fat whinge. I’m not going to sugar coat this one (I’m not Willy Wonka as they say!!) as I don’t have the strongest silver lining as yet – more of a scrap paper-y and torn cardboard kind of lining , but I come back to my previous ‘goodbye’ post that I am so lucky to have something that was so hard to say goodbye to and bloody excellent times to have fond memories of and beautiful people to miss. Although like the poor googlemaps man I’m here feeling a bit dazed, shaking my head and looking around to work out where I am (a common problem for any traveller) and what direction I need to go in (around and around a roundabout with a few speedbumps thrown in feels the way it is at the moment?!), as soon as I work it out, I’m hoping to be back running, lol-ing , instagram-ing and maniac-ing about the place before I can say ‘oh-but-in-London-we……’