Monday, November 28, 2011

So you want to move to another country?

I've gotten a couple of emails recently from some of my blog readers seeking advice for moving to another country.  For some of them, they fantasize about being able to move to a different country and start a different life and for others, they are actually taking that step and doing it.  Either way, talking about it and doing it are two completely different things.  Nothing is ever as you think it will be.  Here is my experience so far.  Keep in mind, I'm still trying to find my way here, too.  So, if you have advice for me, I'll take it haha!

I've been in Derry, Ireland now for nine months.  Cannot believe it has been nine months! Time has flown and it feels like I just got here.  I have to say, it hasn't been easy but, I don't know how easy it is to ever uproot one's life...quitting a job, leaving friends, family, car, basically everything you've ever known.  The hardest part was the first six months and even today, I still don't feel fully settled (maybe when they open a Taco Bell here...but, I dunno).  But, it has gotten easier.

The first six months I think are usually the hardest when it comes to moving to a different country.  Personally, I did my best to put on a brave face, put on my big girl pants and just get on with life.  Of course, that brave face was the one I wore when I was out in public.  At home, I was depressed. I managed to pull myself out of my depression long enough to teach my Zumba classes and I felt great at class, but at home, the depression returned. Barry had to witness the worst of it.  Probably the worst day was when I threw a box of scarves at Barry while I was deep in one of my crying fits.  Don't feel bad for was only scarves, it's not like it was a box of books or anything.  But, the look on his of pure confusion and a did-she-really-just-f******-throw-a-box-of-scarves-at-me look was priceless.  If only I would have thought to turn my video camera on we could have been YouTube sensations.

Anyway, I cried everyday for the first three months at least.  I cried because I wanted to go home. I cried because I had no friends here.  I cried because I missed my car. I cried because I missed my family.  I cried because it was like having to re-learn every aspect of my day-to-day life...aspects that you normally don't think about.  I felt almost as if I were recovering from a head injury.  A few examples of these different aspects are:

  • Even though English is spoken here in Derry of course...a lot of it I didn't understand. Do you know what it means when someone passes you on the street and randomly says "Alright" to you?  I didn't, but now I do (it means hello). Check out this blog post and this blog post to get an idea of some of the language differences.  
  • And, it took me nearly eight months to be able to open my own bank account here simply because I wasn't a citizen.  And, because of that there are about a dozen extra hoops you have to jump through to do the simplest opening a bank account or even getting a established in a doctor's office.  
  • And, I had to learn how to drive on the opposite side of the road.  Which, I's proof.
  • I had to re-learn how to use a washing machine and a dishwasher.  Remember this post from my second week here where I babysat Barry's two nieces for a week?
Of course, no one's experiences will be exactly the same as mine, but it may give you an idea.

Now, nine months later, the crying spells have more or less stopped and I'm slowly beginning to feel less and less like a fish out of water.  Of course there are still moments...some weird, some awkward and some just plain hateful, but for the most part it's easier.

Just remember if you ever do move somewhere else, it will be hard, but if you have a good reason to do it, it does make it all worth it.  Here was and is my reason and the only way I think I've kept myself sane throughout this process:

My wonderful husband, Barry.
And, of course, another reason has been my wonderful Zumba classes and participants who have made me feel welcome and at home and have given me energy to keep on keeping on:

Here's a few of them from our Zumba Halloween Party...all dressed up and lookin' good!
Plus, being in a different country makes going home to visit that much more precious and it makes you realize and appreciate your friends and family more which is why I'm so looking forward to going home for Christmas this year...not to mention, I'll be going through the Taco Bell drive through about a dozen times while I'm there.


  1. Although I have not moved somewhere as thrilling as Ireland...I get the moving is hard part! We moved to Canada, and that has been hard. I have almost perfect credit in the US...but n Canada, I had none. How about a $1000 limit on a Visa. That is the best I could get!

    We have all cried, and we have all thrown scarves...well maybe not scarves, but I have wished I could throw bricks at times. I owe my sanity to my pole studio, as it helped me meet people on my own...that had no connection to hockey or my husband. Zumba is the same for you. When you are in a new place, it is good to make friends through your connections...not your husbands.

    Best of luck...soon there will be a new baby, and you will be quite busy with that!

    Happy Holidays!


  2. I really really relate with this post- I have been in ireland about 19 or 20 months now. It was soooo freaking hard the first year actually. My husband doesn't work (he is finishing his degree) and I had to support us both in a terrible job. I just wanted to give up sooo many times! I can't tell you how many times I went home and just cried! After about a year though I finally was able to get into a routine again- to get my head above the water and to find new normals. Its not easy though! And I went home last june and you better believe one of my first stops? Taco bell....crunchwrap supreme for the win!! haha

  3. It's been a bit since I dropped by your site! I find it so hard to stay up with all of my blog friends. I'm glad to see that you have somewhat settled. You bring up a great point though in that thinking about moving and doing it are two different things. Hope your doing well!