Ohhh, how I missed writing. Like real writing, on a piece of paper with a pen. I don’t know why, the laptop seemed so impersonal this time. I wrote everything on a paper.
More than eight months since I’m living in this new city…
Where it all started…
I still remember last December when I took the decision to leave everything behind and come to UK. I didn’t know exactly where I should start a new life so I applied to different cities. First, in Cluj, Romania. I fell in love with the vibe of that city and seemed appropriate to my personality. I’m still thinking about it…
Then, Dubai. I wanted a different kind of winter. I loved this place so much when I visited it last year so I thought I should give it a chance.
I had some interviews, but unfortunately with no positive results.
Kind of confused, had these thoughts all the time which will be my path. I told you the story of climbing on the mountain. Those exhausting 4 hours that made me realise I should take the risk without thinking that much, just move in a new city, even without a job. What could be so bad? I’ve been through so much lately, that I needed an adventure. On top of that mountain, on my knees, being grateful I’ve been strong enough to climb, I knew there is nothing to be afraid of and I’m capable of much more.
So, I bought a one way ticket to Birmingham, UK. My brother was waiting for me there.
First days in UK
First contact with a British person (I assume she was, considering her accent) was at the airport, the lady who was checking the passports. I was amazed by her behaviour. The girl in front of me was crying and she asked me if I am Romanian and I can translate for her, as she wanted to know the reason. I was already thinking, how come she knows I’m Romanian. Is it that obvious? The mobile network had some problems that night which made impossible to call anyone, so the girl was crying as it was her first time arriving in UK and she didn’t know how to contact her partner. The lady immediately called for assistance, assuring they will help her and they will reunite soon.
I am sorry to say this, but in Romania you wouldn’t receive this kind of help.
My brother was waiting for me outside and we took a bus to meet some friends in city centre. He was talking to me, asking the usual, how was the flight, did you eat, how are you? I was….ahaaa, yeah, of course…I was listening somehow to what he was saying, but I was more focused on the surroundings. First impression was already good, I had to see what the city has to offer.
I never traveled with their kind of buses, even though they were also in Paris. I still remember looking at other bloggers pictures, mostly in London with the big red buses and wishing one day to get to ride one.
Of course, I went immediately up, I wanted to see everything in a different perspective. Best description? I was glued on the window, fascinated by the tall and old buildings. Even though the city centre was under construction(still is :)) it looked amazing.
Our home was pretty far, so we traveled with the bus almost an hour. I could hear my brother with his friends talking and laughing, like their voices were somehow in the background, but I could only think how my life will be like living in this city.
I had a goodnight sleep and next day I could already make an idea about Uk’s grumpy weather. I decided to go for a run, so I looked on the window to know how to get dressed. It looked a little bit cloudy. Took some leggings and a hoodie, my MP4 and opened the door. I don’t know how much time it passed, maybe 5 minutes since I had a look on the window. Surprise! It was snowing :)) I couldn’t back up now, I was so motivated, so I started running in the neighbourhood. Guess what, in 5 minutes, the sun was shining :)) I had to stop because I burst into laughter. I was thinking about photography, that it will be so much fun, experiencing different weather conditions every 5 minutes, light changing & shit :))
Next day I had the appointment to obtain my National Insurance Number. You cannot work in UK without it. Thus, I took the time that day to clear my mind and write some thoughts, a little plan to keep me on the right track. About me, what I wish to change about my personality, my habits, new things I want to try, new skills I wish to gain and what to visit next.
Before going to sleep, I used to read it to help me remind what I was looking for and trying to visualise how my life will change soon.
The interview to get the NINo was easy, I wasn’t nervous at all. I knew my English was good and I could answer their questions with no problem.
Even though you get this number in 1-2 weeks, you can apply already for a job. So, I went to a recruitment agency as it is faster instead of searching on your own. I wanted to continue my carrier, but I decided I could also have a simple job, in the beginning, just to pay the rent and have some money to travel.
If it is one thing that I don’t like, that is someone else supporting me, paying for my needs. I learned from my parents to always be independent. And I am so used to work because I am doing it since I was 13, that I didn’t want to stay home to wait until I would get the perfect job.
In 6 days, I was already working. In a factory. As a simple operator. It wasn’t much, definitely I never thought I will get this type of job. But, that’s how all begins, you can’t get all that you want, just by snapping your fingers. Another thing that I learned from my Dad, you have to work hard to get where you want. The satisfaction will be bigger in the end.
The fun part when working in a factory is that you get to know a lot of people from different places and you can learn more about their culture and language. Soon, I made friends and learned new words in Polish, Latvian and Russian. Of course, also some bad ones :)).
Expectations vs. Reality
The days started to look the same, I was working every day. To keep my mind clear, I was reading that plan every night and I was feeling sad I left my mom and friends at home, but I knew I had to do this for me. Some nights I was crying because it was hard to find motivation to continue.
My habits changed, my comfort zone was altered, I couldn’t have the same things as I had at home, even traveling by bus every day when I was so used to have a car felt awkward. I couldn’t visit new cities anymore, I couldn’t photograph that much.
I think moving abroad is something that many of us young people consider doing, especially when the government and the opportunities in our home countries are not really aligned with our expectations.
The reason why I chose to leave in the first place was because I didn’t feel my city, my house as being my home anymore. I needed a fresh start, to forget about my worries, my insecurities, some memories.
I wanted to leave everything behind.
The thing is you can run from places/things/people that make you feel like you’re not progressing, maybe a job you don’t like, a city that’s too boring, but one thing that you can’t escape from it’s YOU.
Wherever you will move, with or without belongings, wanting to leave your past behind, you will always have yourself.
Another reason was that I wanted to save much more money than I was doing at home to move to another city in Romania, without worrying I cannot find a job in the first months. At least, that was the plan at the beginning.
I have to confess, I was feeling bit depressed. I was missing so much my home, my mom, my friends, the old activities at my old job, my hobbies, my office. I couldn’t sleep much, 5-6 hours per night were more than enough.
I knew I had to do something different so here are 5 things that I did that helped me change this experience of moving abroad into something fruitful :
1. I decided to focus more on me
I used the time to invest more in myself and build the person I want to be. I started going to gym every day, I had to walk one hour per day just to go to gym, I gave up on meat and prepared my meals, while counting my calories.
I got a rough period in the first months as my body was trying to adapt to a life without meat. I started reading much more because I needed to find out about different sources of plant based proteins. My goal was to loose weight and gain muscles also.
Thus, going to gym at least four times per week and eating healthy became a priority for me.
I started to question what is really important to me and how can I accomplish the things I want. I wrote a plan for few months how can I save more money, even though it included cutting on the activities I like doing.
Most of the time I have dedicated to maintain my body healthy and going to work to have enough money to accomplish my dreams.
2. I took breaks from social media
It seems weird, but that helps. Social media nowadays puts a lot of pressure on us and makes us feel our life is not that ‘fancy’ if we don’t have all the things that everyone is promoting. I had to back off from that ‘perfect lifestyle’ people were showing off, so I can have time to ‘build’ myself.
Somehow, I didn’t feel inspired to share anything. I left aside the photography because I didn’t have that much time.
3. I adopted new habits and let go of the old unhealthy ones
‘Adulting’ was not my thing. I was still that crazy teenager with a messy room that liked to come home and eat a warm dinner prepared by mom and forgetting to pay the bills on time.
Here it’s not the case. You don’t want to risk staying in the dark without electricity or gas because you forgot to pay. Rules are different and the fines much higher.
Now I had to take care of me, cleaning the house, cooking healthy meals, paying the rent, learning to move around the city, reading a map (taking into consideration my orientation skills are zero :)). I got lost many times on the streets of Birmingham, almost being late at work, but that helped me learn.
4. I tried to be more positive and confident
When your life changes that much and you can’t do the activities you dreamed about, you can’t help but think that everything is going so bad and you can’t see a way out.
Soon, we had to find a new home and that requires to invest a lot of time and patience. When you want to rent a flat/house in U.K., the agency or even the private landlord request a lot of documents from your side. So, you have to be prepared with some steel nerves to get through the process.
In the end, I was happy I found a nice place that I can even design as I like. The landlord expressed and I quote ..’Imagine this is your home and you can do whatever you want’. So, I borrowed a drill and I went crazy :)). I will show you soon what I did.
I have to admit I was struggling to find a better job. I even started to think maybe it’s because of my nationality, I did not understand why I do not get any phone calls/e-mails for interviews. It passed already 2 months since I started looking for a new job and nothing happened. Not until I changed my thoughts that probably it was not yet the proper time for me and I have to be more patient as something good will happen eventually. Sometimes we wish so much for a thing to happen that we do not pay attention to other important things in our life and start being sad only because we do not get that thing exactly when we want.
I channelled my energy and good vibes on me and the things I want to change and tried to remain calm in any situation. You can get easily upset and frustrated if you don’t focus your feelings towards the other aspects of your life.
Once I started changing my mind-set, the opportunities arrived.
I had some interviews and finally got a job and the chance to continue my carrier as a project assistant and document controller.
5. I made friends
It took me a while until I realised this, actually more then 20 years :)).
It is important to surround yourself with positive people that share the same dreams and make you feel more confident about yourself. People from who you have something to learn and make you wish you become a better version. They will be the ones to give you a good advice and support you when things don’t turn up the way you want.
I am aware nothing it’s easy, especially when you are in a different country where you cannot speak your language. But if you really wish, you can get the things you want as long as you are willing to fight for them. That including changing some things about your personality and behaviour to help you achieve everything easier.
To end this story, I can finally say I feel more like home here. Having a job that suits my personality, working on my hobbies and my dreams really makes me happy.
And now, that my schedule is different I can be more active on social media and continue what I started.
Please let me know if you have any questions related to this important step, moving to UK and I will reply.