Everyone Who Moves Abroad is a Little Crazy

Everyone Who moves abroad is a little crazy

In my opinion, everyone who moves abroad is a little crazy. Before you get up in arms and hit the “X” on the window, defiantly claiming to not be a total psychopath, hear me out.

The idea of living abroad is exotic yet terrifying to so many people. More often than not, if you ask someone if they would be willing to pack their bags and leave their comforts behind for the unknown, I think they might say something along the lines of, “ummm…maybe?” Which, let’s be honest, we all know that’s generally a resounding, “NO.”

The thing is, moving to an entirely new country is not something that is done with ease, nor is it something that some people may define as a “valuable experience.”

Everyone who moves abroad is a little crazy

Korea from above.

For most of my life I’d always imagined living in faraway places. I’ve always wanted to explore the unfamiliar and foreign. Is this normal? To me, absolutely! The majority of my peers and loved ones? Eh, not so much. The wonderful thing about this is that either option is okay; I just chose the most uncomfortable option possible. While more and more people are choosing to pack their bags and begin their journey these days, the concept still seems a bit unreasonable to a lot of people.

Which brings me to why I think those of us who choose to move abroad are a little nuts:

  • Consciously moving to a new country knowing that you’re going to miss weddings, milestone birthdays and family holidays is a little odd.

This is certainly one of the primary factors that holds many people back from taking the leap. While this is definitely a mindset I can understand, I think it’s important to keep in mind that some, if not most people will understand that you’re following your heart in your own unique way. One of the benefits living abroad in this day and age is the fact that we have incredible technology. Missing a family event? Schedule a Skype session with everyone. Missed your friend’s baby’s birthday? Send a card on Moonpig.com. Want to call your best friend and tell him or her the hilarious story that just happened? Send ’em a video message! It may not be “ideal” but it certainly helps.

 

  • Accepting the fact that you may potentially be living in a state of constant confusion is incredibly bizarre.

Before I moved to Korea, lots of people suggested that my life here might be “weird” or “strange.” Guess what: it totally is! You know what, though? I bet if a lot of Koreans decided to temporarily move to America they would find many of our customs and daily occurrences strange as well. Feeling a bit uncomfortable and confused by everything when one moves to a different country is inevitably frustrating and hilarious at the same time.

The other day a lady wouldn’t let me use horseradish sauce on a dish because she insisted it wouldn’t taste good. That’s just how Korea works, though – and it’s all part of the experience and makes my time here that much more memorable.

Everyone who moves abroad is a little crazy

Go home, Korea. You’re drunk.

 

  • Being okay with the fact that you’re going to feel incredibly lonely – depressed, even – while living abroad is a little weird. 

I get it. Nobody likes feeling down, especially in another country away from any semblance of comfort. I’ve definitely gone through my fair share of sadness in Korea, and it’s something that I was very open about. However, I’m going to be totally honest here: that’s life. Life is a continuous series of treacherous peaks and valleys and sometimes we just can’t find our footing. Having feelings like this will happen no matter if someone decides to never leave their hometown or those of us who can’t stop moving. There’s really no reason to give up on a dream because you’re afraid of stumbling a bit. Trust me, you’ll learn how to cope with depression abroad should you find yourself in the situation.

 

  • Accepting the fact that you may lose some friendships once you move abroad is kind of heartless.

I’ve been in a long-distance-relationship with my childhood best friend for nearly a decade. When I moved from Pittsburgh to Chicago we were sad, but kept in constant contact because technology is fabulous. For the following seven years in Chicago, we were always aware of what was happening in each other’s lives and I never felt any serious strain. While this may be partially because we are legitimately obsessed with one another, I think it has more to do with the fact that we truly care about one another’s well-being.

During my time in Korea, she’s completed law school, passed her bar exam, started her own law firm and non-profit while working 2-3 jobs.* Despite the fact that she’s extremely busy and there’s a 12 hour difference between our lives, our relationship has not changed.

On the contrary, I remember friends ugly crying at my going away party in Chicago promising me they would keep in touch and some even promised to visit. This sort of behavior is totally normal and warranted, but unfortunately some people didn’t follow through despite attempts on my end.

The truth is, some people are so caught up in their own day-to-day that they can’t be bothered, some are potentially jealous of your experiences and some may never have been that genuine to begin with. The important thing to remember that it’s not necessarily anyone’s fault, it’s just a combination of lack of communication and getting older.

*Except for the time period she was studying for the bar exam.

Everyone who moves abroad is a little crazy

Sunset in Seoul.

Now do you understand why I think everyone who moves abroad is a little crazy? Do I think I’m a bit goofy for putting myself through any of the situations mentioned above? Absolutely. But there’s always two sides to a coin, you see. Seeing my family together with my grandfather on his birthday was heartbreaking, but it made me happy to know he wasn’t lonely. Losing friendships was a dagger in my heart, but it made me realize that I’m probably better off. Sacrificing my comfort has been continuously challenging, but has enabled me to gain a better understanding of myself.

The lessons I’ve learned, friendships I’ve made and experiences I have are priceless and rewarding. If you think you’re crazy enough to move abroad – do it! I guarantee you won’t regret it.

 

Have you ever taken a giant leap of faith…to another country?

This post can also be viewed on The Huffington Post.

Follow:

15 Comments

  1. January 10, 2016 / 2:30 pm

    Yes Yes Yes Yes! This is so true. Every bit of it. It’s something you cannot explain to those who haven’t done it.

    On the flip side, as much as I was happy with life where I was, I just could not imagine staying there. I loved that town, those people, and oh, those burgers and ice cream, but it wasn’t for me. I even had a friend who thought SHE was crazy because I think I was her third friend/family member to move to another country in one year!

    Crazy is relative. I think people are crazy for never exploring this beautiful world. We’ll just agree to disagree 🙂

    • January 10, 2016 / 2:47 pm

      I totally agree with you =) I could never imagine had I stayed back in the states. I can’t wrap my head around the fact there are people I went to high school with who still haven’t even traveled outside my state. But live and let live, I guess. The concept is totally bonkers to me, though!

    • January 10, 2016 / 11:16 pm

      Thank you =) It was one of my 2016 goals – eek. I can’t believe you’re moving to Dubai! That is so exciting – I’m looking forward to reading about your adventures <3

  2. January 11, 2016 / 9:41 am

    It is always a bit weird to be far from home and feel like you’re ‘missing out’ on family stuff. But I agree, it is much easier to stay connected nowadays with so many technological advances.

    I still travel a lot, and miss my boyfriend when I am away, But we recently got engaged, and he encourages me to travel and sometimes travels with me now. You have to make sure that you do what makes you happy, and those who truly love you will support you in that.

    Best of luck with your next move!

    • January 11, 2016 / 1:31 pm

      Thanks! Yeah it’s going to be a huge change, that’s for sure! Luckily my boyfriend will be coming along on this crazy ride after we both spend time at our respective homes (his in England, mine in America.) as it’s too expensive for us to visit both countries as a unit. Everything is finally starting to become a reality and it’s really exciting and also extremely terrifying at the same time. I can’t wait!

  3. January 12, 2016 / 1:45 pm

    So much of this post resonates with me. I can relate to every single point! This was really well written and congrats on getting published on huffington post! We are so lucky to live abroad and have things like Skype and facetime available to us to stay better connected with family and friends across the world. I will have to check out moonpig! I’ve never heard of it! Thanks for sharing! This seriously was such an awesome read!

    • January 12, 2016 / 1:54 pm

      Thanks =) You should definitely check out Moonpig.com! It’s a game changer for me. I’ve sent out two Christmas cards as well as a number of birthday cards, etc. It’s all done electronically so you are paying for standard American price postal fees. The delivery is quick, too. This I forgot my dad’s birthday was coming because I’m an awesome human being/daughter and sent the card two days before and it still got there on time. I guess it’s a big thing in England as my boyfriend tipped me off on it. ALSO you can get massive cards delivered which is hilarious. Sorry for the tangent, I just really love Moonpig. ANYWAY, I’m glad you were able to relate to this and I so agree that we’re super blessed with technology. Tis a grand time to be alive indeed.

  4. January 12, 2016 / 2:21 pm

    Congrats on the Huffington Post publication.

    You’re absolutely right. We missed a lot of events and special holidays back home. The only thing that my husband negotiated was for him to be able to spend the Christmas and New Year holidays in the Philippines. So even if we can’t go home on other special occasions, we have consistently didn’t miss Christmas.

  5. January 13, 2016 / 4:27 am

    This post really resonates with me! Sometimes I wonder if things would be easier or less stressful if I just lived at home. But then I remember how I felt when I was living at home, and I realize that I like this much better. Like you said, though, it’s hard when a lot of friends and family who haven’t had the same experiences fail to understand the appeal of the lifestyle we’ve chosen.

    Congrats on getting this in the Huffington Post! That’s awesome 😀

  6. January 13, 2016 / 4:43 am

    It’s true. Everyone who moves abroad is a little crazy here and there. You have to be some sort of crazy to delve into the unknown because the thought of doing that will make most people cringe. I have also accepted losing friends and them becoming people you once know is also a hard fact. As an expat, you also realize sometimes you will meet people abroad who are better suited to your personality than in your tiny corner of the Earth. Most people back home can’t understand the struggles an expat faces. They can listen, but it doesn’t click like it would for another expat. I don’t think it’s heartless to lose some people because you may find other people who are better suited to you.

    Missing important milestones sucks and I wish I could have been there for my sisters’ graduations. As a result of being so far away, I am unfortunately estranged to one of my sisters. Thanks for sharing! Keep writing!

  7. January 17, 2016 / 11:21 am

    I agree, moving abroad is kind of crazy. Why leave everything you know and all your friends and family behind for the unknown? Kind of crazy! In the end, it makes us grow as a person and living abroad gives us something back that others will never have. great post!

  8. January 21, 2016 / 5:03 am

    Great post. Love the two points you made about feeling lonely and losing friends. I have definitely felt my fair share of loneliness here – I think we all do. I have also been in a long distance relationship with my bestie 😛 We stay in contact 24-7 but I wish we could be closer.

  9. February 18, 2016 / 11:49 pm

    I absolutely, totally 100% agree with you here, haha. I do have to say, though, that Korea definitely seems to attract a certain kind of weirdo. I’ve lived abroad before but never have I met the kind of foreigners anywhere else that I’ve met here. Hahaha

    • February 19, 2016 / 1:17 am

      OH MY GOD I totally agree. Some of the foreigners here are seriously the weirdest people I’ve ever met in my life. Sometimes I meet people and I’m like, “WHERE DID YOU COME FROM?” It’s always refreshing and incredibly welcomed to meet people who are normal as terrible as that sounds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *