The Horrible, Wonderful, Scary, Exciting Truths About Moving Abroad

Let me stop you right there-  we aren’t certain about our moving just yet…but it has been a topic floating around the office as August approaches.

As we careen into July, the possibility of our moving to Turkey has been looming more and more daunting on the horizon.  While discussing the many things I need to do- such as purchase my visa, pack my suitcases, buy more luggage…one of the technicians in the laboratory asked me

Aren’t you scared?

And honestly? I don’t really know.

You see, I’ve known for years that Turkey was a likely destination for us in the future.  You can see from my earliest blog posts that I wasn’t that excited about moving there.  However, as time progressed and the idea marinated in my brain, I became more and more comfortable with the idea. Of course, spending a summer in Turkey four years ago did help soften my heart to the eclectic country where east meets west in a dazzling display of cultural curiosities.  At this point in my life, mere weeks away from holding my Master’s diploma inshallah… this seems like the perfect time to start a new chapter in my life.  Like I have said before, it is more like a new BOOK!

But that question really struck me.  No one had asked before if I was scared.  Nervous?  Excited?  Won’t you miss ____?  Those questions I’ve had, but scared…? Hmm…the more I think about it….

Not particularly.

  Naturally there are some aspects of moving that are always nerve wracking.  Packing, planes, leaving your loved ones behind…and due to the latter I have been living at arms length from most people since moving to Florida.  Why get close when you are only going to cry when it is time to leave?  Maybe that is a little depressing, but hey-  whatever gets me through this upheaval right?

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So I thought I would make a list of my three biggest fears and my three biggest excitements regarding my move to Turkey inshallah… maybe it will help those of you who are also moving, to see it from another perspective.  Let’s start with the scary…

Fears

  1. Home sickness:  Yes, being home sick is a fear.  I have heard my husband describe his home sickness when he initially moved to the US- how it would come in debilitating waves.  Home sickness can act as a catalyst when already weighed down by other stressors.  It is an unfortunate eventuality, but I hope that I can keep it under control until I have adjusted to Turkish life.
  2. Not being a citizen:  There are so many hang ups that come with not being a citizen.  Paperwork, mostly, and the idea that if you get in trouble you don’t have the same assurances as a citizen does.  This is another aspect of international life that my husband brought to my attention.  I am holding my breath the first year of my move, until I can apply for citizenship.
  3. Miscommunication: There are many verbal and non verbal ways of communicating- and I dread the idea that I may give the wrong idea to strangers, particularly, due to my way of speaking (even in Turkish), or my body language.  The last thing I need is to offend someone, or have someone think I am coming on to them.  In Turkey…that could end pretty badly.  While adjusting to the general culture of Turkey doesn’t worry me so much- these little methods of communication are daunting.

Excitements

  1. New sites/places:  The best part of moving anywhere, in my opinion, is experiencing new places and sights that you have not been able to see before!  While I have been in Turkey before, so not everything is new,  I look forward to spending the summer months lounging with my husband in his family’s beach house in Izmir,  watching the snow fall in large feathery drops onto the orange rooftops and rolling hills in central Turkey, and hearing the Ezan as an alarm clock in the morning.  Every country/ city has it’s beauties…and while I may be leaving the Florida beaches and palms, I am gaining the Mediterranean breezes and mountains.
  2. A new standard of living:  While this may come off as daunting for those of us who are used to the luxury of the first world, I am very excited to be able to experience a more Turkish way of life.  Not like Turkey is a poor country by any means, but the standard of living is very different.  For example, I am thrilled to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables every day for incredibly cheap, make my own tarhana (a special Turkish soup) and salca (pepper or tomato paste), hang my clothes out on a line to dry, and utilize public transportation- even ferries!- instead of using my own car to go everywhere.  If that means I can’t afford a smart phone- so be it!!
  3.  Living a new language:  Four years ago I would have laughed in your face if you told me that I was going to speak Turkish- and speak it well.  While I do have a long way to go before being fluent, the possibility of mastering Turkish is more realistic when in Turkey.  There is something so empowering about being able to express yourself in multiple ways…and I can’t wait to live this new language on a day to day basis!
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4 thoughts on “The Horrible, Wonderful, Scary, Exciting Truths About Moving Abroad

  1. Your fears and excitements lists are really interesting. I have, exactly, one thing on my “excitement” list…having dinner with my sweetheart every night. Or, you know, at least the nights when he’s not out of town for work. My “fears” list is much more densely populated, and not just because I’m flighty or something, because of many many conversations with Mr. Blue Eyes that included things like “you and I may not survive this change, it might be the end of our marriage.” (Yes, that conversation happened MULTIPLE times. And it’s not something I can really write about on my own blog. Blergh.)

    xox

    1. That is so difficult… I can’t imagine that stress… You should be excited about being with your love, not anxious :-(. I’ve only been married two years and spent, max, 4 months apart but that’s a crazy conversation to have I think. I’m sure ya’ll have your reasons. When my hubby and I were apart for only 4 months I got used to being on my own for a bit and I wasn’t sure how it would feel to have him around all the time again… But we fell back into rhythm in a week. If you want an outside ear my contact info is available on the contact page. Sometimes it is easier to speak with anonymity. :-). Either way, I hope your fears list shrinks and your excitement list multiplies as the time approaches for your move. Sağol

  2. Moving to a new country is a huge adventure! I pass through it and I know the thrill. I perfectly understand your concerns. It is very important to be ready to meet new culture, language and people! Greetings

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