If you’ve read this blog for a while now, you probably have noticed that I don’t really get very personal in my posts. That is – I talk a lot about my experience of moving to another country and going through job-hunt and room-hunt, but I don’t reveal the other side of it all. The way I feel about it, the inner struggles I face, and how do I keep my motivation high. As I’ve been asked that, I think it’s time to get a bit more personal.
But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!
As you can understand it from the post title, it is not easy to be in a situation like this. Not even close! I wouldn’t recommend anyone to put themselves in such a situation if they were not 100% sure that they are strong (and crazy!) enough and up for challenges. And most importantly – if they didn’t believe they could do it. All these aspects will become massively important whenever you have a bad day.
Starting From Scratch
Before I moved here, I only knew a couple of people in Manchester, and I couldn’t really treat them as that kind of friends you could just call up and say: “Hey, I’m feeling kinda sad, I need someone to talk to, wanna meet up?” Probably I could, however, I’m just that kind of person who needs to get to know people well to be on such terms.
My family, whom I’m very close with, is back in Latvia, and so are all my friends. So, basically, for me, life here in Manchester was something to start from scratch. Not just finding a new home to live in and a new job to work at… I have to build new human relationships, one by one. And for me as an introvert, it has never been easy.
Of course, I’m still very close with my folks back home – we chat every day, talk on the phone every other day. Basically, it’s no different than living in another city in the same country, however, I can’t just meet up with them whenever we fancy it.
Basically, being constantly in touch with friends and family back home is one of the things that keep me going. Their support has been incredible, and I know they care massively about how I’m doing here.
I am lucky to have the ability to be on my own and have the best time ever. I have loads of hobbies, interests and passions – I can keep myself busy all the time. However, it’s just not enough. And when things get tough, I get sad, and sometimes the first thing on my mind is: “Goooosh, I wanna go back home!” And I’m sure that will happen to anyone in this situation.
Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone
When you’re in a foreign country, on your own and jobless, pretty much everything seems like a challenge. Getting out of bed in the morning to face the day, going to a new yoga class, approaching a stranger to ask for directions, getting on a tram or bus to an unknown place, going to a job interview, buying a coffee, answering to a call from an unknown number… anything, you name it!
What I have learned from this – accept all the challenges and just face them. I really have no another choice or I’ll soon pack my bags and go home not having achieved anything. I try to remind myself why I am here, what were the reasons I decided to leave. And most importantly – I remind myself how hard I’ve worked to be here. I learn to be proud of what I have already done.
Another good lesson to learn (especially for all the perfectionists out there) – it’s OK to fail. If you try and fail, you learn and you grow. And the road goes up from there. If you don’t try, you will never achieve anything, and no lessons learned as well.
Keeping Myself Sane And Healthy
To avoid feeling helpless and depressed, you only have one thing to do – keep yourself busy. And in situations like these, the most important is to keep your mind busy. If it’s left on its own for too long, it wanders off and all sorts of unwanted thoughts start to occupy your mind.
Since I moved to Manchester, I have started a blog, I discover new recipes, I still read books, watch loads of documentaries, read news about all the hot topics and discuss them with friends. Whenever I have to go into town for a job interview, I use that as a chance to explore the city – I go to museums, old libraries, wander around different neighbourhoods, try to find ways to get up high for better views etc. Besides that I keep my body as physically active as possible – I run, I go to yoga classes, I have started taking kickboxing classes, and once in a while, I try to go for a hike.
Sounds pretty busy, right? But sometimes that still is not enough, and something can trigger the bad feelings in you – you do get down, and you do get sad. I know it’s easy to say it, but for moments like these, the best way out is to force yourself to do at least something of all the things you enjoy doing. It takes a strong character to be able to do it, but it’s not impossible and will only bring good results.
…And I Still Think It’s Worth It!
I will keep getting unexplainable and unpleasant feedback after job interviews, I will keep getting sad once in a while, I will keep facing weird situations and difficult people, I will miss family, friends, cats and home, but…
The sole fact that I’m still here, in Manchester, is a good proof that I still believe that all this ordeal is worth it. I believe that I will find a job eventually, I will settle in nicely, I will find new friends. And besides all that I’ll have something invaluable – all the lessons learned, an amazing experience, more open mind, and wider horizon. I’ll be stronger than ever before, I’ll be up for even bigger challenges, and I’ll get to live my dream.
Let’s just hope this blog has a long existence on the World Wide Web! And to anyone who wants to try something like this – GO FOR IT!
Note: This post originally appeared on Expat in MCR (expatinmcr.com) blog which has since been renamed to Dream Chaser (dreamchaserwrites.com).