Why everyone should move abroad (once, twice or... forever)

January 13, 2017

And so begins the worst month of the year; and it's off to a great start. Dry January is going well - if by Dry January you mean "have a glass of wine every night because it's January, it's dark by 4pm, it's -1 degree and there's fuck all else to do". The New Year's Resolutions are also excellent, thanks for asking (or they would be, I'm sure, if I could remember what the NYR was that I spontaneously made up whilst trying not to be sick in the car after the New Year's Eve celebrations.)

But January does mean that I'm back in Italy, which comes as something of a relief after spending two solid weeks glued to the sofa mummified in a blanket, with Gilmore Girls on repeat and a never-ending box of Celebrations for company. Every time I come back I get more upset at the thought of having to move back to England which, despite my best efforts to procrastinate my degree further, probably will be later this year (*cry*). So I thought I'd write a post that I've been meaning to write for a while, but is surprising hard to put onto paper...

...why everyone should move abroad (once, twice, or... forever.)
Bologna a.k.a the b e s t city in the entire world (biased opinion)

When I moved abroad for the first time last year, it was because I had to. It was part of my degree and, although I immediately felt at home in Italy, the UK was still home. Actually at first, I missed a lot of stuff. I missed fajitas, and curry, and English supermarkets, and being able to actually communicate with people when I had a problem. Gradually, though, this kinda faded away (although maybe not the communication part. My Italian accent is still shit.)

When I moved back this year, I had chosen to make Italy my home, and I've found that now I don't miss England at all.
Padova. *s u p e r* cute.
Parma. Parma ham, parmigiano... no need to say more. 
 Moving somewhere new and having no plan, no friends, no knowledge of the city is... quite scary, actually. I think maybe people think I found it easy, but for the first couple of days after moving back this time around, I was genuinely worried I'd made a mistake. Everyone had a plan - most of my friends had graduated, those that hadn't were entering their final year, half of my Facebook feed is getting engaged and having babies and I was just beginning a totally gratuitous year out, with no plans other than carbs and (verb) conjugation. 
V E R O N A 
Both times I moved, the first few weeks were pretty hectic. Never say no to anything anyone asks you to, not even coffee, not even if you were out until 5am the night before and you have no money (and/or dignity. Tequila is a strong drink.) Say yes, all the time, to everything. Meeting new people is awkward and honestly, I'm not sure I was much good at it before I moved. But apparently, like sport or a playing the violin, being a nice human being is a skill that can be learned (and for this I am thankful...)

Being away for a year and a half naturally changes the dynamics back home and sometimes, that can be tough. When you come home and realise that relationships you had relied on in the past are no longer the same, it makes you question whether home is still... home. But that's ok, because once you make friends in a foreign country, they become more like family. You rely on each other much more than you would normally and get super close, super fast - although then you move, or they move, and suddenly, post-night out debriefs are replaced with the occasional catch-up voice message. And you have to start all over again. (Btw, Mark Zuckerberg, thanks for creating Facebook.)
Monaco. *super* weird place.
Portofino. It really is this dreamy in real life, too. 

But for all the hard stuff, there's a million good things about living abroad. There's a certain distance from what you're expected to do in your home country - uni, graduation, getting a job, buying a house - that means you can do, well, pretty much anything you like. Which gives you a bit of space to figure out exactly what it is you want to do, forever, for the rest of your life (cuz a lifetime's a long time to do something you're not sure about.)

Plus, I probably don't need to mention the weather, food, wine, beer, lower cost of living and more chilled approach to life (unless you move to the US, of course, where you will find none of those things. But then, why would you do that...)

Back in London, I was unhappy. I hadn't realised quite how unhappy until I moved, actually. I was worried, constantly, about everything. I cried more regularly than I'd like to admit. Moving abroad made me realise that I was doing completely the wrong thing, in the wrong place and for the wrong reasons - but without leaving the safety of London, I'd probably never have noticed. Maybe living abroad isn't for everyone - but even that can be good thing. So you try it, and you hate it. At least when you come home you'll appreciate England even more, right?

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