For those of you who might not know, 6 months ago I moved from sunny South Africa to Poland. I wrote a little bit more about this in another blog post which you can read about if you’re interested. Since moving I have discovered a whole lot of things. Some about me, some about life, and today I am going to share them with you.
1. You will miss home
South Africa is a beautiful country and I miss it all the time. I miss things like braais (BBQs) and I’m a vegetarian! But I also miss the sense of community. South African homes are always filled with the laughter of friends, family, and sports. Oh man do I miss that! I think I always knew I would miss it but I never realised just how much.
2. The weather is a shock
I love cold weather. My dream was always to move to somewhere where it snowed and was just really cold during winter. Boy, did I get my wish! We have been experiencing Winter for 4 months! It started snowing in Mid November and it is still cold! Luckily the snow appears to have stopped and apparently Spring is on its way. I always used to complain about the heat back home. South African Summers are crazy, but I actually miss the sunshine now! I am sure if I was back home I would be complaining about it but I also appreciate it a little bit more now – but just a little 😉
3. Language barriers are very real
While a lot of young people speak English in Poland there is still a language barrier. Not everyone speaks English and as I come from a country where everyone does this has been the most difficult thing for me. Trying to meet people or just do day to day things can be made a whole lot more difficult if you can’t properly express yourself. I understand the need to adapt and I am trying to learn Polish but it’s really hard!
4. Your friendships change
Moving halfway across the world shows you which friends are willing to make the effort. I have friends that I speak to often and some that I haven’t spoken to since I left. I think that everyone leads such busy lives that when you’re not spending time with someone regularly it becomes more difficult to keep in touch. Chances are when I’m home I’ll catch up with these people but for now I suppose we’re just in different places.
5. It’s not as glamorous as it seems
I think that people have an idea that when you live overseas it’s this great, big, wonderful adventure…and it is. Living in Europe seemed like such a glamorous idea at first, until I arrived. Then I realised that I was in a foreign country, I didn’t speak the language, and I was all alone. There’s nothing glamorous about moving halfway across the world without a support system and having to figure everything out by yourself. Also, you still have a schedule. I still go to work for 8 hours every day. Just because I moved it doesn’t mean I don’t have the same responsibilities that I had back home – I actually have more now.
6. Travel opens your mind
To be fair I have always loved to travel so I know all about the benefits of travel and what it does to you as a person. However, since I have been living in Poland I have been to 5 different countries and have seen so many amazing things because when you live in Europe travel around Europe is made easier. It is also a whole lot cheaper so that’s something! I still have a long list of places to go so I hope to tick some more of these off!
7. How to get rid of things
While my family will be the first to tell you that I have a LOT of stuff waiting for me back home I also gave away a lot before I moved. Knowing that there were a lot of things that I didn’t need to bring with me and probably wouldn’t want anymore if I ever moved back. Even now I think about things that I know I could probably get rid of. When you make the decision to move you start thinking a lot more seriously about the things that are really important to you.
8. You miss out on a lot
One of the most difficult things about moving is that you miss out on a lot of events back home. When you see your friends and family talking about things and realise that you aren’t going to be there for them. I just had a birthday and I was dreading being alone but thankfully I got to spend it with a fellow South African which made it a whole lot easier. But when there are special events, yours or other peoples it definitely makes you feel a little bit more left out.
9. Missing people doesn’t become easier
Of course I miss my friends and family. I was always surrounded by family – now I don’t have that. My baby sister and I used to spend a LOT of time together and now I haven’t seen her in 6 months. I wish I could say that things get easier. I wish I could say that after 6 months I don’t miss them as much but that would be a lie. My older sister came to visit recently and I was so excited to have her here! Also, I miss my cat. She used to sleep curled up to me almost every night and I had to leave her behind. Honestly I think this was the hardest one for me. My friends and family understand why I left but my cat…not so much.
10. It changes you
When you move overseas, especially by yourself, it changes you. You have to learn to be completely independent. There’s no one else to help you. you just have yourself and you need to figure things out alone. Even if you’re only moving for a short time you’ll never quite be the same again when you head back. I think it helps you to grow and turns you into more of the person you’re meant to be.
In about 5 months I will be going home to see my family, friends and my cat… and I cannot wait! I think I’m going to start making a list of all of the things I want to do while I am there!
Have you ever moved before? What has been the most difficult thing for you? Would you ever consider moving? Where to? Let me know in the comments below!