Adapting to new surroundings…

Re-locating, so I have done it all before but will that make it any easier?!   Making new friends is challenging and I have to say I think this can become harder as you get older.   Partly because most people have probably already got more friends than they can handle and many of these relationships run deep over time.  I know I struggle to keep in touch with all my glorious, wonderful friends scattered around the globe as it is.  Do I really need more?  Well, yes I do!  Especially when I just need to talk to someone in the same time zone and have a real live catch up rather than one on-line.  Although we now have many great mediums for communicating nothing can ever beat reality.

The other part to moving is suddenly feeling like you don’t belong.  You used to walk down the street and bump into some one you know, and even if you didn’t you at least knew where you were going!  You didn’t even have to request the type of coffee you wanted because your favourite barrister already knew, now suddenly everything is foreign!  You don’t know where the good coffee shop is and when you do eventually find it you are not sure how to ask for your favourite coffee anymore because maybe they call it something different in your new world…… and the question is what type of milk do they serve!  Phhfffffttt… I have been living in coffee heaven in Melbourne so I may have turned into a coffee snob!  At the end of the day none of this really matters, just enjoy the journey of finding out and you will probably make some new friends along the way….  and there is nothing better than chatting over coffee with a good friend!

Three cups of coffee with drawings in the milk.

10 TIPS FOR SETTLING IN TO A NEW DESTINATION:

1) Find your nearest conveniences.  ie. food stores, gym, doctor, coffee shop (essential to the daily routine….yes?!) and once you start frequenting these you will start to gain a sense of belonging and begin to recognise friendly faces.

2) Do some research on-line, find out what’s on, search via google maps and see what pops up nearby.

3) Chat to the local people, let them know you just moved to the area…..most people are usually only too keen to help.

4) Check out a new coffee shop and absorb the vibe. (Clearly I love coffee!!).

5) Take a walk in the nearest gardens or some place green for instant invigoration.

6) Go to a lecture…..there is always somebody talking about something!

7) Take up a new hobby or keep going with your previous hobbies. (This way you will meet some like-minded new friends).

8) Plan something to look forward to at the weekend.

9) Hook up with a friend and if you haven’t found any yet….. Work on it……or at least go out for coffee!

10) Most importantly smile and the world will smile with you. Go on… give it a go… and I bet you will get a smile back! (Plus smiling makes you live longer….honestly it does).

You get back what you put in and sometimes you don’t always get back, but an open heart I guarantee will find kindness and love in return so just go for it…. after all what have you got to lose!

Do please share your ways of settling into a new country with a comment below…….

Destination known…

The co-ordinates are becoming clear……. In fact the destination unknown is no longer a mystery and the dream is becoming a reality!

The trifecta of countries now concludes with a move to 33°55′31″S 18°25′26″E.

Which I can confirm takes me from Melbourne to Cape Town!

Very excited… slightly scared… inspired… exhilarated… keen… curious… and aware of how much there will be to discover, figure out and learn, but over all definitely certain in my head and my heart this is it and the only way is onwards!

I have just returned to Melbourne after an expedition to the Mother City to investigate plans for the official move all being well in June.  Well, you know how first impressions are very important, this City blows you away instantly.  Sorry Melbourne, and I must also apologise to the aesthetically stunning Sydney too, but for me the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meeting head on whilst Table Mountain stands proudly and majestically before you, it is hard not to fall in love immediately with this geography.

How hard can it be when you are surrounded by such beauty?!  Well, realistically there are always difficulties to be experienced in moving countries.  I am perfectly aware there will be days when I will pull at my hair and wonder what on earth I am doing there.  I hope my experience to date in these matters will at least enable me to step back and remind myself of the reasons I am there, rather than falling into an inconsolable state of melancholy and panic.   Which does happen believe you me when the going gets tough!

One also needs to be extra vigilant when relocating to a place that has suffered from more recent turmoil and difficulties, and is still indeed working towards a brighter future.  Unfortunately for Africa poverty and inequality are the driving forces of their miseries.  Combined with the hardship there is however an instant glow about Cape Town and some of the biggest smiles I have ever seen.   There is an amazing sense of prowess from the Capetonian’s only too pleased and proud to tell you about their amazing City.   I feel incredibly lucky to be on my way to experience all this fascinating destination has to offer and look forward to giving it all the positive input I can.  I sincerely hope I can help their cause during my time there and look forward to finding opportunities to do so.

For anyone thinking of moving countries, searching for a new life for whatever reason, here are my 3 simple rules to keep real:

1) MAKE YOURSELF A SCHEDULE……. and stick to it.   This will stop you from carrying out point three (see below), enable you to keep on track, and once you start to tick things off that good old feeling of achievement will boost you forward further and let you sleep more soundly in your new surroundings.

2) EXERCISE DAILY – once the blood is flowing you will be thinking clearly, ideas will trigger and the endorphins will carry you through the rest of your day feeling positive about your body, your self asteem and your new adventure.

3) DON’T DAYDREAM! It sends you down a dangerous path thinking the grass is always greener as soon as you are homesick or feeling lonely and lost.  You are where you are for let’s hope good reasons that took you on this journey which was surely no flippant decison….(especially not if you have been through endless form filling and meeting various visa requirements).  Remember it was never going to be plain sailing, it will take time, energy, enthusiasm and opening your eyes, ears and mind.  So try to think about how to embrace your day with positive thoughts and new endeavours.

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