Moving Abroad,  Travel

Worried About Moving Abroad? Don’t Worry, I Am Too! One Week Countdown

Why doesn’t anyone speak about how hard it is to move abroad? 

I’ve got two weeks to go and I’m panicking. My mind can’t concentrate on any one thing, my shoulders are tense, and when I allow myself to think about it too much, I want to break down.

I wrote this last week, when I had the grand idea of writing and publishing about how I feel to 1) straighten out my thoughts surrounding everything, and 2) in the hope it gives comfort to others who may be experiencing the same.

Yet I stopped at that paragraph. I couldn’t write anything more, let alone publish it. I was getting overwhelmed and all I wanted to do was squash my thoughts and feelings down, down, down, bury them deep into an abyss. So I did. Although I continued to have my Indonesian lessons and bought a years worth of my vitamins, that’s pretty much all I did in regards to preparing for the upcoming move since returning from the Middle East three-and-a-half weeks ago. It’s only because I’ve got less than a week to go that my body is now refusing to let me ignore it, even if my mind is trying to keep it suppressed.

A few nights ago sleeplessness began to kick in. I just cannot fall asleep quickly anymore, and I’m always awake early. Last night I snoozed on the phone briefly, but when my beau said goodnight and we hung up, I tossed and turned before giving up and reading my book. I had immediately gone from chilled out to tense as fuck, all because I thought, ‘OMG, I’m moving next week.’ The same thing happened the previous nights, even though my mate was staying round and we’d had evenings with laughter and enough wine that I should have conked out as soon as I hit the pillow.

I get agitated when people bring up Indonesia. I want to tell everyone: ‘do not talk about it or ask me about it,’ but I can’t look like an asshole when all they’re doing is caring about me, so I sit there hating it. I can only somewhat have a conversation about it when bring it up, otherwise there’s a lot of awkward ‘giggles,’ heavily reduced eye-contact and my anxiety shooting through the roof if people even ask me, ‘so how’s packing?’* ‘I haven’t started yet, thanks Mum/Dad/friend.’ In fact, I’d only tidied up my room because of the utter mess I’d left it in before leaving for Lebanon and for my guests, not so it’s easier to decide what to take.

I’m also dreading saying goodbye to people and hugging them for the final time in at least a year. I went out to dinner a few nights ago with one of my friends who can’t make it to my leaving party, and in our last few moments together we just linked arms and walked down the streets of London. It was as I was forcing her to help me choose a contour palette that I thought, for perhaps the first time, that I’m actually going to miss her. Like, really miss her, and everyone else I love. It was sudden and overwhelming, because as soon as I let her hand go for her to take her train, I thought that this was not the kind of slack ‘aww, I’m really going to miss you,’ spiel I feel whenever I leave the country for a couple of weeks (because I do always miss people when I’m away for even a tiny period), but no. This was a gut wrenching realisation that when we next see each other, we’re both going to look and be so different, even if all it is is that I’ve dyed my hair and she’s got a classy new handbag.

It’s getting easier to come to terms with the fact it’s happening though, as the days go by. I suppose it’s because it has to, otherwise I would be finding out how much money I would lose trying to cancel flights and how to break a work contract without burning bridges. Yet I’m countering my nerves by giving myself things to look forward to and work on once I get there. Interestingly, joining the gym, getting my nails done, and writing have been my go-to’s. I’ll also be attending a football match next week, thanks to one of the girls I’ll be working with asking if I’d like to join (of course I said YES, even though I’ll be bone-tired because I only would’ve arrived the previous day), so I’m looking forward to settling in.

I know it’ll be fine because people have told me, and also because I know within myself that it will be too. I just need to land, because as soon as I land in Jakarta, the worries and anxieties will drop away as I’ll be able to make sense of my surroundings and get my head into gear. I need to remember that even on a smaller scale, it’s like this almost every time I travel solo: I get stressed, ignore the situation until the last minute, get on the plane, and then feel much better when I arrive.

*Although on a side note, isn’t it easier to pack clothes than it is to pack foodstuff and beauty products for a year? I plan on buying outfits when I get there, but will I be able to pick up my Heinz beans? My Earl Grey tea? The specific soap I love? Nutritional yeast flakes? Not easily, and definitely not cheaply. So in regards to packing, clothing is definitely not worrying me as much as of how much my suitcase should be dedicated to food.


  • Mrs

    Lots on your mind, understandably so. Takes me right back to when I was preparing to live in Italy.

    Weirdly, I kept in even closer contact with good friends while I was out there- as it was pre email/internet days, I used to exchange snail mail letters with my besties and family members and it was wonderful to receive them, especially when they sent English language books. Books that I could actually read were one of the things I missed the most as it took so long to learn to read fluently in Italian. Thankfully, you won’t have to worry about that in the days of the Kindle and internet.

    Making a concerted effort to exchange regular emails or even just messaging to keep up with all the finer details of what is going on in friends’ lives helps to keep you feeling in the loop, though and stops you feeling like things have all moved on without you when you eventually go back.

    I won’t tell you just how many bars of Cadburys chocolate I stuffed in my case on the way out there, lol.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this anticipation limbo period is the worst bit, so hope it passes quickly for you! x

    • Diandra Francesca

      Oh absolutely! I’ve already got my Kindle all sorted and ready, although I’ve seen a fair few bookshops around here with plenty of English books! (All super expensive, however). Yes, luckily I’ve been messaging with my friends and family pretty regularly since I got out here, so hopefully when I return next year it’ll be like nothing has changed!

      I may have asked this before, but were you in Italy for a year or longer?

      Hahahah, OMG I didn’t pack ANY foodstuffs from home in the end – my suitcase was already at it’s limit so I had to take most of the items out. Luckily the supermarket near me has my favourite tea at least, even if it is a lot more money than at home.

      And thank you! Being out here has certainly helped with the nerves, even if the first two nights were quite hard.

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