Moving Abroad

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I get a lot of people asking me why I never seem to be in the same place for very long. How do I find this stuff? How can I just turn up in a new place and start a new life from scratch? Isn't it scary? Yep, it is. I've done it quite a few times now, having lived in Paris, Valencia, Estartit and Madrid (even moving to Swansea was scary enough, but for wholly different reasons) and I still have that fluttery sense of panic and regret on the night before I'm due to leave. Why would I give up everything I have in the UK - my family, amazing friends, good (or at least better) job prospects and stability - to take a risk on a place I know barely anything about, where I know no one and am going to spend the next few weeks patiently trying to put my life back together again? Just the thought of how long I'm going to spend at the bank trying to open an account is enough to send me into a spiral of despair. The next day, lined up in some godforsaken Ryanair queue at 5am with as many belongings as I could pack into a 20kg suitcase my mood is usually no lighter.If you've got to this part though, you've handed over your luggage and had your boarding pass stamped, some kind of survival instinct is about to kick in. Trust me.

What else are you going to do? Sob your way through a 2 and a half hour flight, simultaneously alarming and annoying your co-passengers whilst you come to terms with the fact that you're not going to eat a yorkshire pudding for at least three months? No, you're going to get on that plane, cram yourself into a blue cushioned seat, fake an air of total nonchalance and pick up the Ryanair magazine (which is excellent by the way). This air of nonchalance is going to come in very handy in the next few days.When you arrive, you're going to make a list of all the stuff you need to do. Then you're probably going to have a panic attack. That's ok. Here's my list from when I moved to Madrid.

Getting a Sim card was number one on my list because I was going to be making a lot of calls to people asking about flats, and because new people are much more reluctant to contact you if you have a phone number that's going to cost them 1€ a minute to ring. Sad, but true. Putting my name on the post box also features surprisingly high because if it's not there, you will probably miss vital communication from your new bank/phone company/ASOS/your grandma. Just get all these things done straight away, then relax. If you leave anything, it will never get done. You'll have £50 phone bills because you haven't bothered to get a new sim card or you'll end up, like me, one day needing to go to the doctor and realising you have no EHIC and no hope. You're halfway home once these things are done.

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