What happens after one full year abroad

Certain cities around the World attract you for no apparent reason, even more so if your mantra is 'Wanderlust'. Other times, instead, you feel like you don't really belong to a place despite have been living there for a while. Things get worse when you don't feel 'at home' even in your home Country.

after one year abroad

I remember very clearly the weeks I spent in Japan. Tokyo is such an amazing city, everything is the complete opposite compared to Italy. I felt dazzled and thrilled the entire time, yet I was perfectly aware that I couldn't live there. Sometimes we might be able to settle in a place for a longer period of time, meeting new friends and making the best with what we have, but it still won't be a place you'd call 'home'. Some think that the trick is to take your time and create habits, which makes you experience living in a place instead of simply visiting it. If, after a year, you still feel exiled, maybe it's time to re-assess your stay abroad. A very common opinion is that, by this one-year mark, you either fit into the new culture, or you may never do completely. Which is sad and very realistic at the same time.

The thing is that, once you have put yourself to the test, after having generated habits, or even created a new more genuine identity for yourself, you might have to go home someday. If you thought that sharing culture, a language, a common background makes all the difference, while everything looks the same as when you left, you are the one that changed. I like to call people like this 'World travelers': citizens of the world, but foreigners within their culture or birth Country. I first felt like this when I came back from Japan, and I managed to live with this feeling for a while, until my almost-year abroad in England, which is the reason behind the name of this blog, in case you didn't know. Obviously I didn't have any reason for feeling an outsider, yet I felt so lonely and different from my hometown friends. My daily life never met the expectations I had in my head, even for the most mundane thing such as going shopping. That's when you know something needs to change!

I did a little 'experiment' before leaving Italy to come to Australia. Since I planned to give myself a year to test out the new surrounding and create habits, I asked each one of my friends to write on a piece of paper something they wanted to achieve within a year. I wrote down something too, and brought the list with me. Now, a year later, I am catching up with all of them to know whether if they reached their goal. Some didn't work as hard as others toward their purpose because life, and seemed shocked by how fast time passed. I spent the last twelve months creating habits, making friends, getting to know myself better, finding my point of view in a new society, changing hair colour, dealing with opposite seasons, discovering Melbourne's secrets, eating junk food, going to art exhibitions, and Keeping up with the Kardashians. Time sure flies.

Image: thanks to Martina

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