Almost two years ago Katharina made the move to Turkey, in her article she talks about Moving to Turkey and her advice to anyone who is planning on Moving to Turkey. Katharina writes her own blog about her life in Turkey called Canim Benim.
Moving abroad, the beginning of a love affair.
Migration is as old as human nature. So is nesting and settling down.
But when something or someone comes into our lives from beyond the borders of our perfect little world and turns it all upside down, we feel the dilemma: should I stay or should I go?
To some change implies stress. To others it implies growth. It’s both, but which one dominates is completely up you. But if all arrows point into the same direction and encourage you to follow a new path, than what better thing to do than to go for it and find out what life has in store for you.
There are no tricks or fortune tellers to give you the outcome of your decision. And let’s be honest, no one enjoys a movie if the end has already been told. But there are ways to prepare you mentally, to gear up psychologically and to arm you emotionally. Ways to prepare you to stand the challenges and make sure you stay strong and brave and excited during this new journey. Let’s just say you are thinking about moving to Turkey to start living together with the love of your life, like I did a few years ago.
What’s the best advice I can give you?
All you need to understand is that starting a new life abroad has the same dynamics as starting a new relationship.
When you fall in love all you feel is pink clouds and butterflies. But after some time routine kicks in and you get used to being around each other. You might even have survived your first real fight and it becomes clear to you that the road ahead might be as beautiful as it is challenging. Being in love works that way. Maybe you realize he’s not perfect, but hey.. neither are you, but he is the perfect one for you and what you have together is pretty amazing.
Well, moving to another country is kind of the same thing.
Maybe you too came to Turkey on a holiday and fell in love with it, or with someone from there. You want to go and be there a lot more, get to know the culture, the people, the language, enjoy the amazing food and discover new places. And the excitement goes on after you’ve finally taken the big step and made the move. Even going to the weekly farmers market or buying simits down the street feels exotic. And hearing the Ezan, the call to prayer, can make you feel like walking around in a thousand and one night fairytale.
After the first months of joyful discoveries reality catches up with you. Turns out you are constantly a stranger, no matter how hard you try to fit in. Maybe finding real friends is harder than you thought, you can’t get used to the heat and traffic is driving you insane. Maybe you find the omnipresence of his family overwhelming and you are tired of speaking in broken sentences. And you probably already survived a food poisoning or two. And oh my god do you miss home.
What if someone was there to tell you to take a deep breath and relax. That this is only temporary. And very normal. Don’t judge what you feel as failure. It’s not, it’s just growing pains. Accept what you feel and go with the flow. Stop trying so hard, stop pushing yourself and expecting too much and just.. let it be. Let go of the picture in your mind of how things ‘should’ be and live in the moment. After all, false expectations lead to pressure which leads to disappointments which leads to frustration. And nothing works from there anymore.
I promise more good things are around the corner, waiting to happen.
The moment you surrender to your situation again, the country comforts you with everything beautiful it has to offer. The simplest thing like having a çay with friends or a swim in the sea can bring you such great joy. His family has long accepted you and loves you and makes sure you eat well. The sun kisses your face every morning and so does he. You are sharing a Turkish style breakfast together and you wonder how you could ever have lived without it.
You will feel like you are back in the game. Full of confidence in the future and even stronger than before because you have figured out how to compromise and be perfectly fine with that. And somehow during that process you have started to feel at home.
I have listed a few do’s and don’ts for you that might help you to get through the first stages of living in a new country. You’ll notice they work for new relationships too..
- Follow your heart. If life takes you on an unexpected journey and somehow in an inexplicable way it makes sense to you, go for it.
- Don’t compare your new life with your old life, just like you should never compare your new boyfriend with your ex. This is a whole new story!
- Take it easy. Things will be totally different than you expected, but everything will work itself out if you give it some time and space to get used to it. Let go of the ‘picture perfect’ in your mind.
- Don’t try to change your surroundings. You can’t change a person, never mind a whole country. Accept the full package and change your own attitudes towards it.
- Enjoy. Count your blessings and enjoy the good side of your new life. Happiness lies in the moment so create the good ones. Don’t focus on the negative things so much, remember you can’t change them anyways so why be bothered.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself. Don’t judge your emotions and actions all the time, it’s ok to be weak sometimes, or feel like it’s all gonna explode your face. After all you really are different. There is no failure, only experiences.
- Always stay curious about your environment and about where this adventure is leading you to.
And so it goes on.. you will fall and you will get up again. You will fight the differences and then you will laugh about them. You will feel like something is missing and then you will feel yourself rich again. You will be unsecure and then you will be full of confidence again.
You will wonder if this is every really going to work.. and then.. you’ll just know.
You can find out more about Katharina’s life in Turkey by visiting her blog Canim Benim