As the school year draws to a close, and the summer holidays are getting nearer, I for one am super excited! But for any expatriates, it ushers in this dreaded time of year, the moving season. For anyone who lives abroad, or goes to an international school, the end of the school year means saying goodbye to some people but also meeting a lot of new people in September.
I for one really dislike this ‘season’, it will always be really hard to see friends leave, and any expatriate will know the struggle. Especially in a place like Dubai where a lot of people only stay for around 2 years before they move onto their next home. And for someone who’s used to being the one leaving, it’s hard to be the one staying behind and saying goodbye.
Last year one of my really good friends moved to Paris, I still miss seeing her every day, but I’ve been lucky enough to visit her. I thought it might be interesting to get her input on this topic and ask her a few questions about what it felt like when she moved. Here they are!
What did you find the hardest thing about moving?
Honestly, the hardest thing about moving was adapting to a new city. Since I moved to Paris, at first, it was really difficult for me to speak French when ordering coffee, or shopping around. My mom or friends would have to order food for me! Eventually, I had to start speaking French and doing things myself. I just needed the confidence! Another thing was socializing with new people. I found it really awkward to start conversations with new people (despite being very talkative) because I was scared that they would judge me. But don’t hesitate to start a conversation with someone! They might end up being one of your really close friends.
How did you feel in your first few days in your new home?
I don’t think I’ve ever been more stressed actually! When our boxes arrived, we had 168 of them! Everything was all over the place! I felt the most stressed with my own stuff because I had to find my school supplies, arrange my room (which was a complete disaster), and figure out where to place everything. A few days later, all the boxes were gone and we could finally enjoy our new home! I really love our apartment now and feel completely relaxed when I come into my room.
Looking back now, are you happy where you are now and that you moved?
I am really happy that I moved. However, it did take me a few months to actually realize that I wasn’t going to move back to Dubai. I was really sad and down at the beginning of our move (despite being in Paris!), but I knew that I was going to visit Dubai and keep in touch with my friends 24/7. I’ve learned so many things about this city, and have had so many new and fun experiences! Paris is a really amazing place to live in, and I am beyond lucky to call it my home.
What’s one thing you will always miss about Dubai?
This sounds super cheesy but my friends! I’ve known some of my friends there since I was in 4th grade, so it was really hard to leave them. I had the best memories ever there and I am so so lucky and grateful that I get to keep all of those souvenirs with them.
Is there one piece of advice you would give to someone moving?
Get out and about! When I first moved, everyone kept inviting me to go places with them, but I was so nervous because I didn’t know the city. Looking back, now I regret not going out with those friends because I’m sure we would have been much closer now. Some tips: download some apps for your city! Apps such as CityMapper: tells you when the next train, bus, or metro arrives. Dojo: a great app to show you all the new restaurants, and activities to go to in multiple cities! Bandsintown: tells you all the artists playing in your choice of city! These apps are essential especially when you don’t know what to do or where to go!
A huge thank you to my friend for answering all of these questions! And I hope her advice is useful to anyone moving abroad this summer! As the friend who was not the one moving, I also wanted to give you guys a bit of advice, as I know it can be really hard.
One thing that’s really important to remember is that you’re not just going to completely fall out of touch with your friend. Sure, you won’t see them in person as much as you used to, but that doesn’t mean you can’t talk with them any less. You can still call, facetime, message, snapchat each other weird photos, or send each other funny memes on Instagram. Just because a friend is moving away it doesn’t mean the friendship is over. It just means the friendship will take a new form. I still talk to my friend all the time, and we were even lucky enough to visit each other. (some of you might remember my Paris blog post, that’s when I visited her)
Overall, I think it’s just super important to remember that life is what you make of it, you can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control the way that you deal with it and what you make of the situation. People moving away is one of those situations which is sad, but also exciting as it’s the start of a new adventure for the person moving. And as the friend staying behind, you also have to support your friend with this new chapter in their life. Don’t view moving as something bad, shift your focus, and see it as the start of something exciting and different.
I hope this advice helped some of you! And let me know if you liked this format of this post with the interview. Another massive thank you to my friend and all her advice in this post, I really hope you guys enjoyed it!
Little Miss Expat
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