What You Should Know Before You Go: Living Overseas Will Change You

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One thing they (whoever the proverbial “they” is) don’t tell you when you first move overseas is nothing will ever be the same again. It just won’t. Now, for someone like me that’s a bit of a problem. I am definitely not one who falls into the “I love change” category. And for a girl who has found a somewhat surprising addiction to new adventures, that might seem a bit contradictory. How can you crave new adventures while hating change? I don’t know, don’t ask me because it doesn’t make sense to me either. I just know it’s my reality now.

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Change is always hard

Right now it’s a Sunday night, about 6 weeks into my transition from overseas life to…..temporarily being home and then….I’m not sure what is next….and somehow I find myself listening to Russian music for the first time in a very long time. Russia wasn’t even my most recent host country, it was my first. Since then I’ve lived in both Australia and Fiji. But just the sound of words being spoken or sung in Russian takes me back to living in Russia and brings up all sorts of nostalgic feelings. I only lived there for a year and a half. Just a short amount of time, really. But there were so many adventures and misadventures crammed into those 18 months. So many stories. So many amazing moments. I sometimes find myself asking if Russia will ever be a part of my story again. And then I have to smile because Russia will always be a part of my story, for the rest of my life, no matter where I live or what I do. And maybe those moments, those stories, those friends…Maybe those were all just for that time.
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Red Square, you were always so fabulous.

Time is constantly moving forward

Things are never quite the same again when you go back to revisit a place. Even if I went back to Russia, the faces would be different. The events. The stories. The friends. All the little parts that made up my life in Russia. They wouldn’t be the same. I would live in a different, and perhaps less quirky, apartment. I would shop in a different neighborhood. And I would hang out with different people. The realization of that half makes me OK with where I am right now and half makes me incredibly sad. I want to be able to go back someday and have things be the same. It was magical. Not always, sure. But there were so many magical, breathtaking moments. I can only look back and marvel at the fact that that really was my life. That God really did reach down and give me the incredible gift of that amazing time. I feel overwhelmingly blessed to have experienced all of that.
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At Snowgrad in Izmailovsky Park

Things don’t stay the same

Do I want to go back someday? 100 percent yes. Without a doubt I would go back in a heartbeat. But part of me wonders if it would be less magical this time around. Maybe some things were only meant to be special for a certain time. I’m not sure what the future holds. I’m not sure where this wanderlusting heart will spend 2017.  To be honest I’m not sure of much of anything right now. But one thing I know and that is the fact that expat life changes you. Sometimes I ask myself if I knew then what I know now, that I would be forever changed and always feel restless after living overseas would I still go? Would I still pack my bags, sell my car and move to Russia? But it’s mostly rhetorical because I know that while the changes have been incredibly hard to deal with at times, I wouldn’t change those experiences for anything in the world.
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Have you lived overseas? How did you deal with saying goodbye to your host country and uprooting yourself to someplace else? Would you do anything differently the second time around?

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