I have a feeling this should just be titled “Moving Overseas.” Full Stop. But moving during the middle of a pandemic did make things a little extra spicy. If I’m being completely honest, it’s only been 5 months but I don’t remember many details of the journey. I know I had 3 layovers and that on the longest flight of the trip (8 hours), there were only about 25 people on board. The flight attendant gave me pillows and blankets from the back so I could stretch across all four seats in the middle row and take a nap which was very nice. All of the airports I went to ere very clean and for the most part people were very conscious of social distancing and wearing face coverings. The trip was long though and when I did make it to my quarantine room I probably slept for at least a week. I was in the quarantine flat for 14 days and then moved into my flat that I am in now.
Leading up to the trip I did loads of planning and organising but no matter how much planning and organising you do, it never quite prepares you for something you have never done before. There were definitely bumps in the road that I didn’t plan for. For example: my duffle bag strap casually tore off half way through the trip and I carried the duffle bag around in my arms the rest of the time. Not a huge deal, but it definitely added to the hilarious ridiculousness of that day.
Moving is messy. Getting used to a brand new place leads you out of your comfort zone and into a mental and social place that is awkward and sometimes completely out of your control. Homesickness hits you hard or visa appointments fall through. Not to mention culture shock. Culture shock happens at different levels no matter where you relocate and no one can tell me otherwise. Walking into the grocery store for the first time absolutely blew my mind. I remember walking around the first time with wide eyes and saying to my flatmates, “there are so many types of fruit and vegetables.” If you think we have loads of veg at home, you haven’t seen the cabbage section at Morrison’s yet. I also spent the next 4 weeks wondering where the “English muffins” were kept. I finally realised I live in England. Why would they be called “English” muffins??
I have done some reading on the different stages of culture shock and I definitely have felt all of the stages at one point or another and still do. I’m not sure how much the pandemic has affected acclamation for me or other international students because I have nothing to compare it with. I’m just kind of going with the flow and I have found peace in that. My time as an expat is neither at the newbie level or the experienced level and I kind of like it here. I like learning new things. I like asking about words I’ve never heard before and explaining things like “what’s his bucket” and “frazzled.” (Yes, I know. I know. But I spent my high school years in Texas my friends.) But I also like being familiar with my surroundings. I am finding myself settling in more ways than I imagined I would before coming.
In other news: it snowed last week here in Leeds. It snowed whilst I was in Liverpool over Christmas break as well and all I can say is that I’m obsessed with England covered in snow. It’s honestly gorgeous.
As always, miss you all back home. Have a great week! Xx