For some strange reason, people (myself included) tend to change their normal habits once they reach their new home. I’m not just talking about eating new foods or learning a new language. I mean, changing things that are at the core of who we are. It is like you leave your ‘evil twin’ behind and the ‘good twin’ get’s off the plane.
Below are the 3 ways I change when I live abroad:
1. Being Alone and Disconnected is OK
Back home, a day without my smartphone seemed unbearable. Even though the internet was at my fingertips (literally, I sat at a computer all day), I somehow felt disconnected. So far, we’re a week into our new life abroad and we aren’t the slightest bit concerned that we don’t yet have a cell phone…and there is no real sense of urgency to get one. And when we do, it definitely will not be smart.
2. Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder…and I Say I’m Great the Way I Am
My entire working life, not a day went by where I wasn’t totally presentable for work. This meant I arrived at work with my hair done, make-up on and wearing something professional. Here, I still dress professionally as we have a work dress code; however, I don’t wear makeup (not even mascara!), I walk to work in tennis shoes for comfort and I’m not really concerned with whether or not my outfit is fashion forward or not (or even color coordinated for that matter). I’m just content with being presentable.
How did this (what appears to be) instant sense of self confidence come to be? I can’t really tell you. Maybe it’s that I get to start fresh with the people here and so they only know me this way (rather than the ‘put together’ way). Maybe it’s because I am older and wiser now and realize that I’d rather spend my time doing other things rather than getting ready for work. Maybe it’s just that I’m tired of prioritizing things in my life because I feel I should, rather than doing it because I want to. And maybe it’s a combination of all three!
3. Being Comfortable Makes Me Feel Guilty
Because we have a limited time abroad, I have a greater sense of guilt sitting at home after work, despite how tired I may feel. I feel like I must get out and experience this culture and explore every inch of this place before leaving. No invitation to socialize must be rejected, no time must be spent at home ‘doing nothing’ and certainly no time should be spent doing ‘American things’ (or so my brain tells me).
It’s sad to say that I’ve lived in some really great places in the USA and never made an effort explore the gems in my own backyard. This guilt comes with such force that I find myself walking around the city for upwards of 5 hours, just to “make the most of it”!
In short, moving abroad is like hitting the reset button. You get to start a life being the person you’ve always wanted to be. Hopefully, this will be the best version of myself to date. Stay tuned to see if this is true!