Two years ago (eek, almost 3 actually) when we decided to uproot our life and start again we had a lot of questions from friends asking us HOW.
And for every one of those, we had 10 more saying they wished they could do it too.
I’m not sure if it has become a trend, or if people are just feeling more connected globally, or if they just feel the need to escape their reality, but I see more and more people taking a leap into a new life.
My dear friend Olga at the European Mama had a few things to chime in about. A Polish native, living in the Netherlands, Olga has experienced raising trilingual children, and living with her German husband in a place not native to either of them.
I became a mother the same time I moved abroad and that double transition felt like too much to swallow. But I made it and am thriving because of it. Everybody, myself included goes through changes in some way. For example, Julie decided to quit her job, move to an island in Canada. You may have to change your job, get divorced or move house. Some changes are for the better and some are for the worse, but all are difficult and it takes some time to adapt. What can you do to make this transition smoother? Take it from someone who has moved abroad.
When you move abroad, you need to read as much as possible about your new country, but even with other transitions, it is important to know what expects you at your new job or family situation. Read books, newspapers and blogs on the topic. If you’re organized (I’m not), collect all the information you can find in one place. You never know when it can actually prove useful and that way it will be easy to find.
Reach out to others in a similar situation
Before I came to the Netherlands, I reach out to other expat organizations and I can only recommend that you do the same for your situation. You will be able to find information, exchange experiences, prepare yourself and maybe make new friends!
Get professional help
That can come in many forms- from the counsellor who will help you with your divorce to day care that will take care of your kids. It can be your moving company or you housecleaner. Whoever it is, consider their services. We once moved house when I was pregnant all by ourselves and it resulted in a bleeding at 28 weeks. In the end I wish we hired a moving company.
Take your time to process your new situation
Adjustment will happen eventually but it takes a while. Sometimes, it takes days, sometimes it takes years, but it usually happens. You don’t have to rush anything, and give yourself some time to process what has just happened.
Start living your new life
Now it’s the time to take a deep breath and start living your new life, be it abroad, as a new mother, newly divorced woman or just at a new workplace. Unpack your stuff, both physical and metaphorical. Make new friends, tackle the formalities. Go out and discover what the new life has in store for you, both good and bad and you may be surprised.
It’s OK to want to go back
There may be days when you want to go back to your old life. It is totally normal and understandable. Not all changes are good and it is hard when you compare what you have now with what you used to have. Don’t feel guilty about this. Treat yourself well, especially during the bad days. Allow yourself to grieve. And then move on.
I think I adjusted well to my life abroad and being a mother. I hope you’ll say the same at the end of your transition.