Today I’m sharing an honest and courageous guest post by my good friend and fellow expat, Jamie, about her experience with culture shock upon moving from England to Brazil. I admire her transparency about the challenges she has faced, and I’m sure anyone who has lived abroad will be able to relate. I know you will enjoy this beautifully written essay.
“There are no foreign lands, it is the traveller only who is foreign.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
Two years and three months ago, I made the decision to move to Brasil. It was a decision which was quickly made, recklessly even, for I gave very little thought to the true magnitude of the immense transition which lay before me. As is often the case when life-changing decisions are made so swiftly, mine was motivated by love. I fell hard and fast, in a way I hadn’t known before, and for once (being a cautious, studious type who usually researches everything to infinity before acting) I decided to trust my gut. I remember my now-husband asking me back then whether I felt I could live long-term in a country which wasn’t my native one. At that time, I had been ‘on the road’ with my translation work for the majority of the preceding year, in London, Berlin, then Buenos Aires. I had been flirting with the location independent lifestyle, which certainly has many benefits, but after a year of moving from one housesit to the next almost every couple of weeks, I was already longing to feel a little more settled. Having always loved the idea of living abroad, and feeling a swift connection to Brasil, I assured him that it would be (and I quote): ”No problem at all.” I knew I would miss people; my family, my friends. But I felt sure I wouldn’t feel homesick for England.
Oh, how naive I was.
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