While you're away: What you won't know about living abroad
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I’ve moved around a bit throughout my life: I was born in Milan but I’ve lived in Brussels, Chicago, Turin and I’ve just recently started over once again. Let’s say I’m not exactly a stranger to being mobile, but I would never dare complain about it. I moved to London in September to continue with higher education and learn all about my (apparently very precarious) future in a writer’s world. I adore it. My first year of university, frightfully almost over already, has been everything you could wish for, and maybe even a little bit more. Living abroad is exactly what you expect it to be. It’s a constant, continuous learning curve. You meet the most amazing and interesting people, make so many new friends, eat a curious array of both delicious and really gross foods, discover new music and movies, and take on new mannerisms and sayings. You grow to love and hate many other things, too. People misspell or mispronounce your name all the time. You have to learn how to cross the street all over again and the light switches will almost always look different. Even though you thought you knew the language you will still discover there are a myriad of ways to say ‘vagina.’ And you’ve apparently missed out on half of what others define as ‘history.’ However, most of this is rather predictable. I guess this is the wonder of globalisation – there is always more to learn. Here are a few things you may not know about living abroad: You expand but you shrink Learning and growing, growing and learning – no news there. This happens not only because you’ve moved far from home, but specifically because some things only hit you or leave a mark when you are ready for them. You accumulate a lot, but you also crumble and shed a substantial amount of skin. Because of this, sometimes you’ll feel powerless. Sometimes you’ll find yourself quiet at a pub night discussion, frustrated, because the examples you have and the concepts you’d like to discuss, or references you want to make, aren’t relevant. You will feel naked, stripped of all the precious things you thought you were wearing on your sleeve.
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