Tears. A lot of tears. Waking up and being alone with my thoughts. Missing home comforts and no longer knowing the city that I live in like the back of my hand. Loneliness.
This is exactly how I felt when I first moved out of my family home and went to university in 2009. It was a high hurdle for me to jump over and I would genuinely count the days down until I was next going home. It took me a good three or four months to fully settle in, if only I had known then what I am experiencing now.
A new home, a new city, a new country, a new job… three weeks to pack my life into three suitcases after just one phone call, one Skype interview and one job application. Wow.
It’s been one year since I left London for Frankfurt and I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone.
What do you miss?
3. Pret A Manger
In this exact order, these are the things I missed most when I first relocated. You know when you’re hungover and you could just kill a Nando’s? Yes! Well actually no, because there’s no Nando’s in Germany. I actually don’t miss Wagamama and Pret at all anymore, but I did have Nando’s twice in one weekend when I last visited home. Of course I missed my friends and family at first too, I still do, but I didn’t even consider that I would miss the food so much when I moved away.
Were you scared to leave?
The only thing I was concerned about before coming out here was loneliness. I guess I had mentally prepared myself for the worst because moving abroad to work isn’t the same as moving abroad to study. You don’t live in halls with a bunch of people who are in the exact same boat as you and people at work already tend to have their own lives and aren’t necessarily seeking new friendships and social circles. But funnily enough, the most significant thing I have come to appreciate whilst being here is that being alone is not the same as being lonely. I have made friends and am generally quite busy, but I do get a few extra moments to myself, and I thoroughly enjoy this time.
Why did you leave?
I didn’t leave because I was fed up of London and I didn’t leave because I wanted a new start. In fact, it wasn’t about ‘leaving’ at all, it was about meeting goals and creating new ones, fulfilling and expanding my potential. When I first moved people would ask me what I ‘want to do’ and I couldn’t really answer because moving to Germany and improving my German language skills had been my goal for years. Now that a year has passed, I can specify areas of the language that I want to improve and I now have other objectives in sight, AlisaJordanWrites being one of them.
What has been the hardest part?
The only thing that ever gets me down about being away from home is no longer being an active part of my friendship groups at home and not being able to spend quality time with family. Of course, there is WhatsApp and FaceTime but it’s not the same. I still keep in contact with everyone, but not being physically there can be hard.
And the best thing?
I have always been motivated and hard-working but the past year has really shown me my own potential and that I only have further to go. Since coming here I have met people from all over the world, travelled a lot and even learnt a few things about myself too. I have achieved personal goals and set new ones that I wouldn’t have considered before relocating.
Do you regret anything about it?
Not one thing. I studied abroad for two semesters whilst doing my degree and although without that experience, I definitely wouldn’t have considered this one, moving abroad to work, especially on your own, is completely different. You grow, gain new perspectives and become a lot more open minded.
What would you advise someone who is considering relocating?
I think people get worried about leaving things behind and especially missing out, so my advice would be: “Take the leap, your true friends will remain your friends and your home city will always be there.”
When I think back to my 18 year old self who couldn’t bear to be away from home comforts and didn’t know how she was going to handle two semesters abroad, I can’t believe that before I knew it, all I wanted to do relocate.
The main reason I moved abroad was to improve my language skills, but I know others who may want to see more of the world, be immersed into a different culture, meet new people and overcome fears.
Would you take the leap?