If there is one sentence that I kept hearing constantly in the last few months, once I decided to join LinkedIn and relocate to Dublin, is “Relocation is one of the most life-changing experiences one can ever have – professionally as well as personally”. I know that I am just at the beginning of this amazing journey, but I would like to share with you three main insights I learned in the past month since I moved here:
God is in the details
When I thought about relocating to Dublin, one of the major advantages I noted was the fact that it is an English-speaking country, and that Dublin is a hub for many cultures and languages. However, when I arrived, I realized that certain things are unique here, some of them are obvious, while others can only be noticed if you listen carefully. Among the “obvious” things is the fact that everybody drives on the lefthand side of the road. Everything is on the other side of what I am used to. On one hand, it’s refreshing. On the other hand, I was almost run over by a car several times because I didn’t look in the right direction. The solution I found most helpful was a piece of advice a friend and a colleague gave me: “You like Ralph Lauren, right? So remember: it is like Ralph Lauren: first you look right (R for Ralph) and then Left (L for Lauren). Among all the details that you won’t necessarily notice are phrases and expressions that are unique to Irish people. For example, they don’t ask “how are you?” but, “how’s things?”, you don’t answer: “I’m great/ok” but “I’m grand”. You do not use the elevator but the lift and you do not cover yourself at night with a blanket but a duvet. And of course, if you sit at a restaurant or a bar and ask for the check, they will give you a flurried look. You should ask for the bill!
Do more of what you love
I spoke with different people about their relocation journey and each one shared their own experience and challenges. One of the challenges that were mutual to all of them is the fact that you need to start from scratch: finding a place to live, finding new friends, map your new environment to find grocery stores, cafes, and restaurants. As soon as I got to Dublin, I started working extensively to find my new apartment. I knew that once I “anchor” my home, the rest will follow. Simultaneously, I contacted and met as many people as possible to build new social circles. I found that what helps me the most when I get overwhelmed is to focus on the things I like to do and do more of them: run outside whenever I can, meet with friends that became my local family, go to my local coffee shop for a morning coffee. Sometimes just focusing on doing what we know we like reduces the anxiousness and foreignness one can rightfully feel in the beginning, especially when relocating on your own.
Great things take time
Although Ultra marathon running is an integral part of my life, I tend to try and do everything in one day. In the past month, I felt like I am in a blender, and everything is shaking: what I thought was obvious, became questionable. For example: when do I run and what distance? Things that I thought would be complicated, like surviving the cold weather or finding a place to live, turned out to be easy to manage. I think this insight is a lifelong journey and I encounter it every time I try to rush things that need more time. I have to remind myself on a daily basis that relocation is a huge step and that I am still figuring out what works for me and what does not. There is something scary about redefining your identity in your late thirties, but at the same time I feel like I got a “second chance” to make a thorough introspection and hopefully turn into a better version of myself.