After all of the excitement of Christmas and New Years, most people are heading back to work and school this week. I, as a new mom, have a hard time remembering what day it is! The past year has been a crazy transition, not only to motherhood, but also with moving to a new country. Moving abroad (and motherhood) has brought with it lots emotions, but thankfully, I’ve found ways to cope with the change.
In case you missed it, I wrote a little bit last week about how crazy New Years Eve in Germany was. Normally, the start of a new year doesn’t phase me too much. Although, one year I did go shopping for new workout clothes on January 2nd. That was a minor lapse in judgement on my behalf. However, waking up at midnight to the whole town shooting off fireworks felt special. It felt like something new was about to begin and I really appreciate the Germans for their New Years enthusiasm.
Christmas, on the other hand, was a bit challenging for me this year. While it was really fun opening gifts with our now 7-month old daughter, it was the first time since leaving Canada, that I wished that I could go home. I had never spent Christmas away from my family before, and combined with the lack of snow here in Germany, it just didn’t feel right. I love the idea of starting our own Christmas family traditions, but being away from family was difficult.
Despite not being home for Christmas and all of the other things that make moving abroad a challenge, there are ways to cope. There will be moments when you second-guess your decision to leave home, but continue to embrace the adventure!
Stay Connected to Family and Friends
I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not much of a social person. Since moving to Germany, however, I talk to my parents more now that I did during our time living on Vancouver Island. For the most part, I’m sharing updates of their granddaughter, but it’s nice to have someone to tell about all of the interesting and different things I see while in Germany.
Before Christmas, I even received a few Christmas cards from family and friends, and it felt really special knowing that they’re thinking of me.
It may be challenging for someone to stay connected to loved ones when they aren’t as supportive. But even finding one person who you can talk to that will assure you to keep going even when things are tough and you feel homesick can be really helpful. Don’t forget to use social media to your advantage! Sharing a few photos of what you’re up to and saying a quick “Hello!” to people you’re close to goes a long way. It helps loved ones know that you’re thinking of them even though you’re thousands of kilometres away.
Educate Yourself Beforehand
I spent a lot of time watching Youtube videos on German culture and language before arriving in Germany. I’m lucky enough to have a German husband who can inform me of social etiquette before I embarrass myself (though it still happens), but that’s not the case for everyone!
I’m sure there are some people who don’t mind being thrown into the deep end without knowing what’s going on! But I’m one of those people who prefer to know a few things that I can expect before they happen. There have been enough times when I’ve embarrassed myself that I’m thankful to know the basics of what’s going on in Germany.
Like I mentioned above, Youtube is a great resource where expats from all over the world are sharing their experiences moving abroad. You might as well use it to your advantage!
Moving abroad requires organization. There are a lot of documents you will want to bring with you and a lot of paperwork to do once you’ve arrived. There will be times when the paperwork side of things feels overwhelming. Having a file folder for all of your different kinds of documents will help you to easily find what you’re looking for when it’s needed.
When I left Canada, not only did I have all of my normal personal documents, but I also had all of my pregnancy information as well as paperwork for my cat! Now, I have to keep my child’s paperwork organized as well! With it all filed away properly, I don’t have to worry about where to find anything.
Bring Comforts From Home
Bringing along a few tubes of your favourite toothpaste or a bag of your favourite candy can go a long way when you’re missing home. Depending on where you move to, it may be difficult to find the same products that you always loved. Of course, this gives us an opportunity to try something new, but in the beginning, when everything is fresh, it can be comforting to see something familiar, no matter how small.
If you’ve ever moved somewhere new, leave a comment below about how you learned cope with all of the changes!
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To read about the things I find challenging when moving to a new country, click here!
As always, thank you for reading and see you next week!