If you're like me, the seed to move abroad may have been planted when you read or watched books or movies like Under the Tuscan Sun or Eat, Pray, Love. While these movies certainly can light the spark, they often don't give the full picture of what it is to live in another country.
Something I have only realized recently after moving to the South of Italy is that moving abroad isn't really about living in another country.
It's about utterly transforming your life.
The person you were before the move?
Your identity with your home country?
You will completely untether yourself from everything familiar. Your culture. Your language. Your family and friends. Your familiar food. The time you eat dinner. How you handle bureaucratic tasks.
But the thing is, you will continue to cling to old values and expectations. You will rail against how things are done in your new home and insist that the old way was better.
Something I have realized: Italy will never change for me. It is I who has to change if I want to survive and thrive.
Emerging as a New You
I've shared before that I struggled through the stages of culture shock in the first few months of adjustment in Italy.
I think it's only now at the eight month mark that I am really able to let go more of my former expectations (though not completely. Probably never completely.)
I have accepted that I am in the process of transforming into someone new. Someone not quite fully American nor Italian. Someone who straddles the borders of two countries and cultures.
I gotta admit, it's kind of an uncomfortable place to be. But one of the reasons I decided to uproot my life and move here is because I never fully felt like a part of American culture. So what if I never feel fully part of Italian culture? It's a conscious choice I have made.
Are You Ready to Transform?
As I fine-tune my intuitive expat coaching services, I realize that this transformation is something most expats are not prepared for in advance.
Yes, I made all the lists and handled all the logistics as well as I could have. But without the guidance and support of someone like a coach, I really was not prepared for the amount of transformation I would go through and continue to go through.
If you're considering moving abroad, I encourage you to really dive into what your values are, because holding on to those will help you through this transformation.
And know that while you may have several months or even years of struggle to find your place, you will emerge like a beautiful butterfly, ready to take on the world as someone still you...but better.