Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

All Good Things

by : 
JohnM

When you go somewhere new, it’s hard to imagine yourself living there permanently. At first, everything is different: You’re in a new place with new people and nobody knows you. It’s terrifying. But it’s also an exciting adventure, where there are no prejudgements or preconceptions. It’s like a fresh start – a chance for you to reinvent yourself and be whoever you want to be.

Being abroad, you go through so much change in such a short period of time and it’s not always easy, especially when you’re so far away from your family and friends. So, naturally, it takes time for you to get settled in your new home. But it all eventually comes together: You meet interesting people, you make new friends, you discover beautiful places…and then one day being abroad becomes normal, it’s part of your life and you know that this is exactly where you want to be.

Living in Spain was surreal at the beginning – everything was so different to Scotland, so foreign and unfamiliar that it took me a long time to get settled. I needed time. But as I got more comfortable with the new people and surroundings, I started to forget about home; in fact, Scotland began to feel like a strange dream, one I no longer wanted to return to because I finally felt free.

And that's why, when the time did come, I didn't want to leave. I didn't want the experience to end, or the exciting adventure, or that feeling of being free. I really fell for Spain – but I didn't think I'd love it so much. It was just so hard for me to accept: You go abroad, you immerse yourself in another culture, you get settled, you make an effort to learn the language, meet new people, make new friends...and then, suddenly, you're supposed to leave this world behind and return 'home'.

Coming to terms with this was a long and difficult process. At first, I tried to ignore it, to pretend that it wasn’t happening. But it’s really better to be prepared: In the end, my friends and I tried to make the most of our time together, to make our final memories. And that's when Spain became surreal again, full of strange emotions. I was used to returning home for the holidays, but it was different this time – I knew that I wouldn’t be coming back.

It’s funny: Coming home for the last time was actually more difficult than going abroad. I didn’t think returning would be such an adjustment – I mean, Scotland is where I’m from, it’s where I belong, it’s familiar…but it’s like being awakened from a dream. It’s almost as if I was never in Spain. Nothing has changed, life is as it was...

There’s an expression: ‘All good things must come to an end’. Well, Spain was definitely a good thing, and even though it ended, I'll never forget it. Sometimes, I wish I could go back; I miss the Spanish lifestyle, my friends, speaking the language...but I wouldn't want to repeat the experience. It's over now, and that's fine. There are good times and there are bad times – change is constant. And I had a great time, but now I can look forward to something new.

Because when one door closes, another is waiting to be opened.

Discussion

Would you like to live abroad in the future? Where would you choose to live? Why?