Today is a very special day in my life. Today is my anniversary of life abroad. It’s been four years. It’s unbelievable how fast time passes. A small step for humanity, but one huge step for me.
Life abroad as well as life at home has positives as well as negatives. Only a fool would say something else. After browsing my diaries, I found a few points that for me are not 100% positive or 100% negative about life abroad. Probably because life is never 100%. I decided to share it with you.
If I want to tell you mine observations I need to tell you a little bit more of my story. Even I already did here. Although it is very difficult to summarize everything in one article. After all, it’s been four years …
When I came to Bournemouth four years ago, I only had two big suitcases and a misconception that Bournemouth was Stars Hollow and people knew each other, and I would know everyone right away, understand everyone, and that everything would be great.
Well, of course, as is the case with misconception, most of them are completely out of place. But I still think its good to have them because at least in my case, they encouraged me to really take that first step.
I ended up in a small cold room in a big English house, where it wasn’t heating up in the middle of November, so if I wanted to wash my hair, I had to double think about it otherwise I risked death by freezing. I couldn’t afford much with the money I had, and I didn’t make much with housekeeping either.
England was never my dream country, and the beginning indicated that it would never be. Nothing I imagined happened.
I remember sitting on that little cold bed and considering my options.
Of course, I could go back to Slovakia, but I found it very cowardly. So at that point, I had to take off my pink glasses and focus on reality. The advantage of going alone somewhere is that you forced yourself to get involved in social life if you don’t want to be alone. If you want a better job, you have to take care of it yourself. If you want something, you have to do something about it.
I took my life into my own hands
And here is the important word YOU. You are becoming the most important person for yourself. So it is essential to love yourself otherwise you will find it abroad even harder than normal. If you don’t like yourself, you not gonna feel confident, and if you not gonna feel confident you will be even afraid to ask passers-by for directions.
You can argue that you still have Siri, but trust me, there are things that even Siri doesn’t know the answer to.
And so I took my life into my own hands. I no longer put on pink glasses, instead, I dyed my hair colourfully as a reminder that life is great and colourful even when you start to see it more realistically.
I connected with myself
Somewhere in this stage of my life, I said to myself that I would no longer tolerate shit with which I am not satisfied and people who only annoy my life and they have no positive benefit for me.
I started spending a lot of time with myself, at first because I didn’t know anyone so it was more or less forced to spend time with myself. Gradually, however, I realized that I really don’t need anyone and I can make it on my own. And I just needed to go abroad to realize that.
The word friend got a new meaning for me
The word friendship has taken on a new dimension for me. Suddenly I met many interesting people who came to my life as quickly as they left. I stopped fixing on people and enjoying the present moments more.
The friendships I have made during these four years are stronger than any other friendship, even I didn’t see some of my friends for a long time. I would even say that some of them are stronger than some family bonds.
Many of my friends and it doesn’t matter whether they are here or those in Slovakia, I consider as a family, because they have lived with me important moments in life. Conversely, I consider many of my family members only as people with whom I have a family bond, and that is. It may sound harsh, but I think family relationships work just like any other relationship, and if you’re not in contact with those people, that relationship simply disappears.
I know it’s my fault, too, because at the beginning I wasn’t in contact with many of them. But when I came to Bournemouth, I had completely different worries and priorities, because I had to find my own way, way to survive and integrate into society. And at that moment, I was forming a bond with the people who were here, even though they didn’t necessarily have to become my friends.
I think that changed my perception of the word friendship because before that I perceived a friend as a person with whom I have a common past and with whom we have known each other for a long time. Now I know that it’s not so much about the length as it is about the quality of the relationship and the moments you share with the person.
And if someone didn’t understand or didn’t accept it, I had to go further and displace the person. I didn’t have time to think about it or analyze my every decision or if it was right to leave and start living somewhere else and differently than everyone imagined. I think that people who live abroad will agree with me on this. Simply, if you decide to take this step alone, you have to walk selfishly, otherwise, you would find yourself in an eternal circle of remorse.
I’ve learned to accept people as they are, even though I’m not always completely fine with it.
Life abroad became easier for me when I found a job at TGI Fridays because I met an incredible mix of different people, whether foreigners or British. That helped me a lot to integrate into society.
I suddenly started meeting completely different people than before. I found out, perhaps a completely banal thing for someone, but that each person is different and each person has their own story, their own reason why they behave the way they do or are as they are. I have learned to accept more and not criticize.
I started speaking more English until I realized that it was completely natural for me. And when I found a British boyfriend, I didn’t take it that he was a foreigner, because, in the end, I was a foreigner in his country. Before a long time ago, such a relationship would have seemed strange and even unrealistic to me, but over time, I don’t take it at all as something special.
I have become a more open-minded person
Now when I think about it and write it all down here, I don’t believe I’ve ever been like this … I don’t even know what my name would be. Sleepy or behind with world.
I don’t know if I would ever wake up if I stayed at home, in the same place I was. Life abroad has definitely opened my mind and I will always be grateful for that because, in my opinion, this is one of the most important things for a person’s mental well-being.
As I wrote in the introduction. This is a small step, almost zero for humanity but huge for me. And that’s exactly how I perceive it. Four years of life as on a roller coaster and all I wish for the future is that the school of life never ends.
Of course, I know that we are all different and we all perceive it differently, so I will be happy if you will share down in comments your observations of life abroad if you ever lived abroad or maybe you still do.