If you have ever picked up everything you own and moved to another country, then maybe there’s a few things in here that you can relate to.
Where do I start?
Where does the process of “moving to a new country” start?
Before I get into this, I want to say that everyone will have a different experience when you move. We may be at different stages in our life, we may react to things differently, we are different people and we experience things differently. I can only speak from my own experience, but I would love to hear about your experience too – what similar aspects can you pick out from my journey – and what was completely opposite? Also, I understand that my move to NZ was not entirely new – in fact, I was moving “home,” wasn’t I? I won’t be able to cover every aspect of this complex topic in a single post, so stay tuned for more articles to come.
Excitement & Anticipation
Before your move, you’ve been so excited for the new country and all that comes with the new experience. When you arrive, it’s like the honeymoon stage, everything is wonderful, you may meet new people, it’s almost like you’re on an extended vacation!
This stage lasted for just over a year when I moved back to New Zealand. I absolutely loved the country, everything was so exciting, it was like I was wearing rose-tinted glasses.
Sadness & Grief
Something may go wrong in the new country and you start to miss where you lived before. “It was better over there,” goes through your head over and over again, but of course, the grass is always greener… The honeymoon stage is over, every minor problem may be perceived as the biggest obstacle. You desperately want to abort mission and go back to how things were before – better, where you lived previously. Some people do give in to these feelings and make the move back.
For me, this is when my depression & grief began. I deeply missed India, I missed everything I left behind, I was hurting because of it and it seemed like everything around me was going wrong.
Exploration & Growth
Eventually you get to a point where you have to decide to make it work. You’re a fighter and you’re going to overcome the obstacles you’re facing. It’s nothing you haven’t tackled before – the only difference is that the country is a different one. You pull up your socks and put more effort into making it work.
I feel like this is the stage that I’m currently in. Since Isaac and I have decided that this is home for the next five years, we’re making it work. I’m on a journey of recovery from my mental illness and while I’m still a work in progress, this is a beautiful stage of discovery, appreciation and acceptance of our new home.
You finally feel at home. You’re independent, you have your community, you have your routine, your schedule, you have found your place and you are comfortable. You might even start to call the new country, “home.” You’re not only all of those things, but you’re also contributing to society and giving back to your communities.
I’m not at this stage yet, while I may be comfortable in some aspects, I am still exploring and growing in other areas and I am not at the stage where I’m able to contribute.
As I previously mentioned, I can only speak from my own experience and everyone will go through this process in a different way. These stages may be short for some and extended for others. We might stay in the honeymoon stage for years, or the grief period may last a week.
If anyone has moved to a new country, I would love to hear the things that you experienced. Which of these stages can you relate to?