I was fourteen when I first thought of moving abroad. I flew out of London after my fifth time in the UK, tired of leaving a place I was so comfortable in. It was like a string that chained me to the British soil, I could feel it in my veins. Ten years later, my fascination with the English world still hasn’t faded away and I managed to move to England for real. I made my dreams come true, but moving abroad is not easy at all.
The Realities of Moving Abroad
I feel homesick quite often. It’s just a glimpse of a feeling most of the time and it occurs in the most unthinkable moments of the day. You cannot escape it, as it lurks right around the corner. It may happen while you’re busy doing your laundry, while you’re walking home with your headphones on, or while you’re completely undisturbed, sipping your umpteenth cup of coffee at the counter of any bar. Homesickness doesn’t need to be triggered by any kind of memory. It simply sits there, where it always will be. It just lays in your chest, embracing your heart with a certain sense of warmth and belonging that you can’t really put into words.
People always assume that when you move abroad, it’s because you’re not satisfied with the life you’re leaving behind. That the intrinsic desire to explore other lands and the essential necessity to touch other cultures is not good enough a reason. Perhaps you need to escape unsolvable family issues, you want to learn a new language, or you just want to disappear for a while. Or maybe you simply want a temporary adventure and a breath of fresh air before going back to your ordinary life. But I don’t recognize myself in any of those categories. It has always been more than that to me.
To be fair, it’s been quite complicated to explain to everyone back home the reason why I wanted to leave. It still is, and it still hurts to say. How do you tell someone you love that you genuinely prefer a place so far from them? How do you justify the reason you’re putting such a distance in between you and your loved ones?
Missing Loved Ones
I think about the people I left behind every day. There hasn’t been a day I haven’t missed them. Nor a day I didn’t wish I could drive to my best friend’s place or my parent’s house to eat dinner together and watch a stupid movie. Sometimes being the one who gets away is more complicated than it seems. I didn’t want to disappear. I didn’t walk away because I refused the life I had, I didn’t need to hide from voracious ghosts from my past.
I’ve wanted to move abroad ever since I can remember, and the awareness of it doesn’t make it any easier. To leave, knowing you don’t want to go back, is never an easy feeling. If only I could put into words the quality of the people I left behind. Their beautiful souls, their kindness, their understanding, their patience, their company. When I left, I knew I actually had everything I ever could have asked for, right in my palm. Yet it wasn’t enough.
Despite what many may think, it’s never been a matter of better opportunities. It’s always been about belonging, about being more comfortable while speaking a different language and melding with different cultures. It’s never been an attempt to deny my roots. I’m proud of who I am and where I come from, and I’m grateful for all the people I’ve crossed paths with. I’m so lucky to have many reasons that make it so hard for me to say goodbye. I wouldn’t want it to be any different.
I’m Not Alone
It doesn’t matter how happy I am, leaving everyone behind will always be the hardest choice I’ve ever made in my life. But I know it doesn’t matter where I end up living, it doesn’t matter how far away I will be. The people I love will always be with me in my heart, in every little lesson they taught me and in every piece of advice they’ve given me. I may feel homesick sometimes, but I know that I’m never alone.
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