6 oct 2017

moving abroad

& how I handle challenges

Location: Tokyo
I feel its been a long time since I last wrote a blog post and the reason has been this last month has been crazy busy. As is usual for me over the winter months I’ve caught the flu and a few other colds along the way but the main thing has been we are moving to Tokyo and preparing for that has been manic!

My husband Karan, was recently offered a great professional opportunity to move to Tokyo and while there was a lot of back and forth on our decision making we finally decided to take the plunge and we will be moving in a couple of months.

Last week we travelled for the very first time to Japan to see the city, get a feel for the place and do a bit of house hunting. Whilst there was a lot of excitement to explore a new place and find out everything it had to offer this move has made me think a lot about how I handle challenges and what really are my priorities.

LIVING ABROAD

Living abroad has never been something daunting for me; I left home at the age of 18 to come and study here in the UK first in Bath and then in London and when I made this move  I was beyond excited. The idea of living by myself, exploring a new country and making new friends really gave me a buzz. However, when I actually moved I have to admit it wasn’t all as rosy as I thought it would be and I did feel a little homesick. Having spent over a decade in London now, for the last couple of years we have toyed with the idea of moving, I thought it might be nice to explore somewhere new, make new friends, try new food and experience all the excitement that comes with moving abroad.

However, I must admit Japan was not really somewhere I had considered moving to, as it was perhaps just too different from everything I knew. I had always been fascinated by their culture and technology and it had been in my top 5 places to visit, although I always kept putting it off because of the distance which can be quite daunting for someone who doesn’t enjoy flying; but when Karan came and told me that he had been offered a job in Tokyo, it definitely came as a shock. I wasn’t sure what I felt, suddenly I wasn’t so sure I wanted to move at all. It seemed like such a hassle and moving so far would mean I would get to see much less of my family and friends in Spain and at this point, fear kicked in!

My  Style

CULTURE SHOCK

 

We went to visit Tokyo for the first time last week and although it’s a fascinating city which I will be sharing a lot more of on my blog posts and Youtube channel, we definitely experienced a huge culture shock. The amount of people who speak English or the amount of information available in English is much lower than I expected, which means making friends and even mundane tasks like going to the supermarket are going to prove quite a struggle. Moreover, certain things that are pretty basic here in London, such as having an oven at home or buying jam at the supermarket are not that common in Tokyo,  so there is going to quite a lot of adjusting to do once we get there. I must admit that for a person who struggles with change, that has made me a little reluctant to move.

GETTING OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE

This trip this actually got me thinking about how I handled challenges, and could I really push myself out of comfort zone? And I was actually quite surprised with myself.

I have never thought of myself as a person who loves to push herself out of her comfort zone, but when actually put in the situation I have tried to focus on the positive side and have tried to welcome this as a challenge that isn’t permanent and that while it lasts it would give me the opportunity explore a new country, perhaps make new friends and whatever else comes along the way. Yes, it will be hard to be in a place far from home and where I can’t speak the language and actually where I wil not be able to do a lot given I will have to give up a lot of professional opportunities, but I think at least I am in a privileged position where I am choosing to go here rather than it being forced because we don’t have a job back home and I have tried to create a schedule for myself so I can plan trips back to London or Spain every so often in case I feel too homesick and these small perks I have given myself have really helped me cope with the situation mentally.

Only time will tell how well I adjust but for now I have tried to focus on the positives, tried to make Tokyo feel familiar by looking for comforts that will alter my home life as little as possible and trying to find small things that will make it familiar, like supermarkets where they sell the same kind of food we get here, a house that feels similar to the one we have in London, finding an area to live which is similar to where we live now and although these details might seem insignificant I think it will really help me in the initial transition period. I have also tried to find information through blogs and books about how expats live in Tokyo and what their experiences have been and whilst there are things that I am trying not to take to seriously, hearing about their experiences has definitely given me a lot of things to look forward to. So all in all I am surprised at how by focusing in small details that make me happy and that I have actually found really matter to me, I am being able to cope with something that at first seemed extremely daunting.

How do you handle challenges and would you move abroad? Let me know in the comments below.