Living overseas! Something that a large percentage of Indians would love to sign up for any day – some for the lure of the money, some for the experience and some, for the quality of life that one can get living overseas. I am one of those that had this dream for a while. Having missed out on an opportunity to do my Masters degree in the States nearly 13 years ago for probably the most silliest reasons in hindsight, an opportunity to go and work overseas was something that I’d sign up to even in the deepest sleep.
My current employer presented me with an opportunity to move to London pretty recently. Having been there several times and spent a fair amount of time, this was something that I said yes to without a thought.
People who have been through the motions will tell you how the process is slow – the selection to the decision making and then the eternal wait for your paperwork. As frustrating it can get, I waited for what now seems like an eternity to get it all wrapped up. Jumping to catch the first available plane out, I showed up here with bag and baggage.
My first realization was the fact that I was on my own – a business trip where you can’t care less about anything material is very different to the fact that you need to fend for yourself for the word go when you are on your own.
Coming from home, we tend to take a lot of things for granted – A vehicle to commute on your own, often 4 wheels, large spacious houses, the value of which we hardly seem to realize back home, Family – how many times have we stopped to think about them when living with them?, last not least, the domestic help that we consider a given – from washing clothes to cleaning dishes, needless to mention, the houses too!
I started missing home in no time – I think it was less than 24 hours. Walking into work, you are in the midst of a place where you are met with “what are you doing here” kind of looks and conversations that go no longer than a “hello” however hard you try. If you have a new role to boot, welcome to the party!!
I can tell you that this concoction really hits you! I was hit and hit pretty hard too. There’s never been a time in my life when I’ve missed home ever so badly. Initial thoughts were pretty simple – which headhunter can I call to get back home now? Who are the old bosses that are hiring that I can reach out to? F@#$ this, I can get back home and find a job., 3 months – worse case, 6 months!
The search to find a place to live in is pretty interesting too! I’ve had pretty much every corner of London recommended as a place to live in and in literally 60 seconds being critiqued as a horrible place to live in too! Wow!! Is this a city that people live in?? With confusing views and conflicting opinions, you are left wondering why the hell did I move!!
Speaking to friends who have done this before, I realized that I was not alone in feeling this way. It’s that age old thing of grass being greener on the other side and being uprooted from your comfort zone that make you feel queasy. Every one that I have spoken to thinks this is just a phase, a phase where I draw a line on the sand to say here is what I felt only to change things around in 6 months time. Whilst time will tell if this in indeed true, here are my top 5 tips for those that plan to move overseas.
- We never spend time preparing for a move overseas mentally – while the excitement gets the better of everything else, please spend time preparing mentally. Overseas moves are pretty stressful
- Speak to friends about places to live in. Remember, every area is safe and equally unsafe. Doing some ground work ahead of time saves you a lot of stress
- Overseas moves are not for the faint hearted and pampered ones – Washing clothes despite using a washing machine and pressing clothes are pains that a two rupee coin can ease back home.
- I don’t know if feelings would have been different had I been single. If you are married, never ever move without your family. It’s cute to say I will move and my family will join me later, but on the ground, they can provide you tremendous support when you attempt to win small battles on your own and alone.
- While we all know that “ change” is difficult and the only constant in life, going through that change is a lot more harder than what you think.
Cheers and happy moving! I’ll tell you if I feel any differently after 6 months!
Image Credit: wwarby