One of the Most Important Things I’ve Learned Since Moving Abroad

It’s not all glorious rainbows and butterflies

Photo by John Mark Arnold on Unsplash

The thing about moving to a new place, whether it be a new city, country, or a new continent, it’s that you have expectations of what it will be like. You could be imagining that that’s where you’re going to flourish and succeed, maybe you’re thinking it’s a terrible move but you have to do it anyway. Whatever you’re thinking, you’re setting up an expectation for the place. Expectations never work. Nothing goes as planned — I’ve realized that much.

I moved overseas because ever since I was young, I imagined myself living in this place. Now that I’m actually here, it’s not what I “expected” it to be. Mind you, my expectations were that of a 12-year-old, and they adjusted as I grew older, but they were expectations nonetheless.

One thing I can say, other than the fact that I’m extremely grateful for the people that came into my life at the time they did to help me pursue my dream, is that a place is what you make of it. It won’t be magical just because it’s Paris, or London or NYC. It will be magical because you will make it magical. Of course, there will be cultural differences, maybe demographic ones, and geographical (city, suburbs, beach…). That being said, you can meet cool people everywhere, just like you can meet assholes everywhere. This is coming from someone who preached a certain culture and city my whole life. I’ve visited it a few times, sure, but that’s nothing compared to restarting your life in that city.

I tried my hardest not to be disappointed, despite nothing (and I really mean nothing) going the way I thought it would. Welcome to French Bureaucracy. Yes, I’m happy I’m here, and I’m trying to enjoy every moment even if most of those moments do include waiting an extra hour for a train when I’m already late and trying not to be trampled by the mass of people in the public transportation (I’m currently writing this corned against 3 men one really old lady in the metro). I decided to come here. I fought for it, and I made it. I can’t deny that my romanticized ideas of living in Paris haven’t exactly manifested. Quite the opposite actually. However, I recently learned that I really need to just let go. That being said, it’s definitely a work in progress.

I was in so much resistance to what was happening around me, the dreadful public transportation, not having my own place, a university and program I don’t like, not making any cool friends, not being able to eat the majority of food ( I’m vegan. In Paris. Lol. )

I realized that the more resistance I hold towards what I’m living, the worse off I’ll be. I’ll get sick, things will take longer, opportunities won’t manifest, I’ll be creating the same thing over and over until I can accept things for what they are and go with it.

Et voilà. That’s where I’m at. I also realized I probably won’t stay (last) long in Paris, but that’s ok because it’s an experience I always dreamed of, and now I can move forward onto bigger and better dreams, having learned from my old ones.

But just remember, a city, a life, is what you make of it. Stop resisting what is in front of you so you can accept and (maybe) even enjoy life.