It’s almost been 8 years since I left the United States for the first time when I moved to Russia volunteering as an English teacher for 6 months. It seemed only fitting that my flight to South Korea where I will teach (and get paid) has a layover in Moscow, the first foreign city I fell in love with.
I spent the flight behind a young family with a screaming baby and an energetic child who found reclining seats to be the greatest invention since stickers. Needless to say I will have a headache, bruised knees and smell like the tomato juice I spilled on myself when she decided to randomly check if the seat recliner was still working. Eye rolls and venting aside it’s a small price to pay for a child’s wondrous experience traveling the world and I would gladly endure a short flight for them again.
Back to Moscow.
I was excited to have a solid 5 hours here even if it is just in the airport. I love that I can (somewhat) communicate in the first foreign language I learned pretended to learn even after so much time has passed. So what am I doing with my precious 5 hours? I am sitting in an “Irish Pub” drinking Russian beer (for the first time ever since I didn’t drink a lick of booze when I was here at the ripe age of 18) after waking up this morning in Germany, boarding a plane for Beijing with a final destination of South Korea… how’s that for a multicultural travel day!?
29 hours of traveling leaves a girl with a lot of time to think and reflect on life and I’ve just got to say that I CAN NOT for the life of me sort out how I feel! One minute I could scream from excitement about living the life I’ve been dreaming about for years and the next I am drowning in curiosity about what life in Korea will be like, flip a coin and I am near in tears missing my family and wishing I could be on a flight home to spend just a day with them but before you can blink I am chuckling at how giddy I am to be exactly where I am. Bipolar disorder anyone?
6 Ways I Prepared to Move Overseas
The sooner you can accept the reality that you can never really be prepared the better off you’ll be.
The rest of my tips are really just what (I think) I’ve stacked in my favor this time versus my first wide-eyed naïve move abroad.
1) I stopped buying things I knew wouldn’t be coming with me as soon as I knew I wanted to leave
2) I moved from my comfy 2 bedroom condo into a bedroom at my friend’s house the weekend my place sold taking away the familiarity that I once thought was so important.
3) I spent three months backpacking through Europe moving from city to city every few days. Nothing will make you crave any form of stability after you’ve been traveling solo for that long whether it’s in a country you can speak the language or not. I can hardly wait to have a place of my own somewhere I can stay for longer than a week.
4) I have now traveled to 21 countries, quite a long way from the 1 (United States) I’d been to the first time. I have a better understanding of the world, myself and what to expect than I did before. BUT don’t make the mistake of thinking that will decrease the chaos and sheer hilarity at all since I have never been to an Asian country before, oh honey do I have a lot to learn!
5) Traveling isn’t enough though, I have a very limited experience of living abroad all of which will help me adjust to living abroad again but this time I will be living alone which I intend to use to my advantage.
6) I was worried to live alone where loneliness and depression are sure to find me but I’ve already looked up language classes in my city, made friends with nearby expats and if all else fails I will be living by the ocean which is sure to boost my spirits!