“It will be grand” is the quote of week three, as we get familiar with the time difference between Ireland and Australia, living out of our suitcases and visiting LinkedIn, Indeed and Seek on the daily.
There are two things that I wasn’t expecting from this experience.
A) I didn’t think not knowing what’s around the corner would be as stressful as it is.
B) I underestimated the power of having a laugh with your mates, and how that can make you forget about the very natural and real stress that comes with moving.
Before I start to delve into the emotional turmoil of looking for a house and a job in a country you’re unfamiliar with, I will acknowledge my privilege, my privilege for being in a position where I could save enough money to come to Australia, and my privilege to get to do it with such great pals.
How lucky I really am set in when we were taking a walk along the beach on Philip Island. With winter sun on my cheeks and sand between my toes, how far we are from home, and how lucky we are to be here really started to settle in. That weekend, we had seen kangaroos, koalas, dingos, crocs and little penguins. All of the majestic scenes of David Attenborough’s Planet Earth (of which I am an addict) really came to life and I couldn’t help but imagine looking back at this adventure when I’m old and grey.
In this scene, of an old Hannah in a rocking chair, I imagine that she regrets a younger version of herself spending a lot of mental energy on what tomorrow will bring. This is an oddly comforting daydream, bear with me.
Recognizing the volume of energy I was pouring into prospects of where I’ll live or where I’ll work made me realise that I’m lucky to get to worry about these things, when others have to worry about so much more.
I know we say that everything is relative and you can’t compare yourself to people with drastically different circumstances but sometimes, when you put yourselves into other’s shoes, it gives you the kick up the arse you need and puts your on-going grievances into perspective.
When I started these weekly scribbles, I wanted to make sure of two things. 1) I wanted to make sure that I consistently kept writing, even if there wasn’t much to say. 2) I wanted to keep it honest and not just portray the good angles of moving, because it can be scary and it can be tough. If I can be anything, I’ll be honest.
“It will be grand” is the quote of week three because it will, genuinely be grand, even if it’s currently a rollercoaster of grand, amazing, stressful, grand, amazing, oh god what am I doing? grand, and so on and so forth.
Here are some of my top tips for settling down in a new country for the people who like me, tend to worry about whether or not things will actually be grand:
1. Do all the adult admin straight away
Set up your bank account, get your travel card, get a new sim card and have all of the documents you need ready to go on your laptop or phone for applications. Just do it, it might be tempting to go straight on the lash and travel around but you don’t want these life admin jobs hanging over your head. It will offer you a sense of calm and/or purpose if nothing else.
2. Work smart, not hard
Don’t apply for houses or jobs you don’t want, and don’t sit staring at your laptop screen if inspiration isn’t hitting. Work on applying for things when you’re in a headspace that will allow you to do so. Feeling a 3pm slump? Take a walk and come back, it will still be there waiting for you.
3. Let yourself stress but give yourself a time frame
Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, I’m allowed to worry about where my future income is coming from and where I’m going to sleep. Outside of those hours, have fun. Get Uber eats, watch shit telly and drink that rosé, sis. There is no point of allowing a constant buzz of stress in during your first few weeks or it will be coloured with worry.
4. Prioritize sleep
If you’re far from home, you’re going to have jet lag and it’s going to make you cranky. I have been wired since I arrived and even though I have the urge to stay up late talking to loved ones and spilling the tea. I urge you to get as much sleep as you can in the first few weeks. It’s the best cure for the on-going yucky feeling after long flights and the sensory overload on arriving.
5. Keep your routine
This might seem so simple but it’s something that can easily go under the radar. If you have been living a very consistent routine for anywhere between three months to two years, it can put you into a shooketh state if you suddenly change everything in one blast. Look at my instagram for updates on my hair vs. humidity as an example.
If you’re someone who goes to the gym four days a week or eats porridge at the same time everyday or needs a coffee on waking to function, keep it up when you move! Your routine can offer some level of comfort and help with adjusting to a new environment and culture. Even buying the same brands of things you like at home can help you to tackle the change.
Nothing works if you go cold turkey, baby steps friends, if you need a Guinness, I’m not judging you.
6. Write it down
Here we are, writing it down! Nothing will offer better perspective than seeing your thoughts laid out in front of you, and you don’t need a WordPress to do it. Pop it on a vibey Esty notebook or a napkin or notes on your phone but do it, especially if you just realized you’re on the wrong tram and you’re having a wobble. (Very me energy.)
Writing it down is great because whether you’re popping down the positives or the negatives, it gives you an archive to look back, when you’re old and grey, sitting in a rocking chair and wishing you had spent less mental energy worrying and more time feeling the Winter sun on your cheeks and the sand between your toes. It will help you remember that you’re lucky.
Thank you so much to anyone who is keeping up with the emigration chronicles. I love sharing the bits and I appreciate the interest. Do tell me if there are any typos, these blogs are often written on the run x