For many people, growing up can entail moving away from the place that you call home. It may be for work, for university, for marriage or for new prospects in life. If anything, this could be one of the biggest and most daunting experiences that life can ever throw your way. It took me several months to realise it, but it doesn’t have to be as bad , and so here are the best ways that I have learnt to cope with it all.
1 – Suck it up!
I’ll be honest – as much as I was excited to start a new chapter in life, I missed home more than words could ever explain. I was emotional and every post on social media oozed nostalgia and heartache, so much so that people began to ask if I was really happy where I was. Realize that as an adult, you have made this choice, and rather than wallowing in self-pity, embrace the new adventure and learn to enjoy everything that comes your way. I know that it’s easier said than done, and it takes time and self-discipline, but things will fall into place.
2 – Be brave
The world is a big scary place, and nothing is scarier than the unknown. Moving into a new place, if anything, is a challenge, but remember that if some part of you didn’t think you could manage it, you wouldn’t have gone ahead and done so. Channel that small voice that told you to jump on that opportunity, and make it work.
3 – Get yourself equipped
My best friend has become my Presto card, and everyone needs to ensure they do the same for whatever country/city it is they are moving to, in order to make use of the public transport. You should also equip yourself with a working SIM card, so you can use data and access something like Google Maps on your phone, for navigation and in case of any emergencies. Also, grab an umbrella and a backpack and hit the road – which brings me to the next point…
4 – Explore and get going
I spent quite some time in the comfort of my home, not wanting to go out for fear of getting lost. It turns out that getting lost can be one of the most useful things for you. I had to familiarise myself with the best train and bus routes and to make plans according to the schedule and it helped me to become more comfortable with the new city I found myself in. If you have a car, then, by all means, do the same and make sure nothing prevents you from getting out there and enjoying what the city has to offer! As a side note, ditch Uber and you will not only save a crazy amount of money, but you will find it easier to recognise places and new routes.
5 – Keep up to date with events
A majority of cities have pages on social media for local events and programs, and the same can be said for many mosques too. Make sure you know what’s happening on the social scene and push yourself to attend them. You can find many things, from artsy events to meetups and socials, to religious occasions, and everything in between.
If you don’t mind travelling a little, check out what other neighbouring cities and towns have going on and show up to those too! The best part is that a lot of the time, these city events are either free or super cheap, so having fun can be a saviour to your bank account. Also, many coffee houses will have flyers of local events so keep an eye out for those and see if you can make time to attend some (anyone going to the TedXOttawa in September? Hit me up and let’s meet!)
Aside from all this, it’s a great chance to meet people and get to know what the locals enjoy doing in their free time and weekends. And this brings me to the crux of it all –
6 – Get your social game on
You really don’t need to be a social butterfly to start making friends and acquaintances! All it needs is for you to exit your comfort zone and start talking to people. It can come from a casual conversation with your favourite barista, or having a chat with people on the bus (and yes, for a Londoner, this was the most bizarre thing in the world!) or people gushing over your accent, which has actually proven to be a great conversation starter here in Canada.
If you have friends or family, make the time to not only see them but to meet the people they welcome into their own homes. This can often be a great way to meet people who are already trusted by those you know and can help you to start great friendships with them.
As a Muslim, one great benefit is making use of local mosques and meeting the people that attend too, and of course, the same can be said for people from other faith groups that gather in houses of worship. In attending programs, you not only enrich your soul, but your need to have a good natter and to learn more about like minded people in your area.
7 – Know those who matter
This was probably one of the toughest ones for me, and undoubtedly, for many others who have travelled away from a place they know as home. It teaches you to find those who want to keep you in your life, and who strive to keep in contact with you. It’s those who give you a call unannounced or schedule FaceTime/Skype sessions despite time zone differences, and those who want updates on your life beyond what you share on social media.
You will have many people telling you how missed you are amongst them, but very few will make the time to keep in touch. It hits hard, and it can hurt, but it allows you to understand those who were truly destined to be your lifelong friends regardless of where any of you may be in the world.
8 – Embrace and enjoy!
You’ve donned your big girl/boy boots and have made a commitment. It can be a short-term or a long-term one, but you’ve already done the hardest part. Embrace what life sends your way and enjoy each day as it comes. Every single day will be an adventure and a chance for you to make new memories. Keep a camera close, the wind in your sails and your chin up, because as tough as things get, the best is yet to come.