Things I have learnt because I moved to a new country

I’ll be honest, I couldn’t come up with a witty or fun title, so this title literally explains what this post is about. I was walking home from work last night (I currently work in a restaurant in Marsalforn, for those of you who don’t know), and I was all of a sudden very reflective of how my life has completely up and changed in the past six months. I want to write about the things that have made me feel completely different, and have definitely change my life in some ways, because I have moved my life half way across Europe.

The view of Malta from the plane.

For clarification, this move was completely unintentional. If you’ve read my other blog posts about Malta, which you can access here (diving related) and here (non-diving related), you’ll know that I came here on, what was meant to be, a five-week diving holiday. In actual fact, I have now been here for four-and-a-bit months, and signed a rental agreement on a flat until November 2021. I have a job out here, a house, a wonderful group of beautiful people I get to call friends, and I am extremely grateful.

As much as this sounds like the idyllic move and I should be happy as Larry, it doesn’t always work out that way. Firstly, Brexit has caused me a whole host of problems and stresses (that I am still trying to work through). Secondly, I came out here in summer, with a months worth of belongings – summer belongings may I add, my savings and not much else… this was definitely a bit of an issue. So, it is safe to say, I have learnt A LOT from moving abroad, and here are some of the ones I think were most important in the shaping of Amy as she is now.

Marsalforn (where I live) by night.

1. Never trust the shipping dates.
If you ever have to get anything shipped abroad from the UK, do not hold out hope of it arriving when it says it will. ESPECIALLY because of Brexit, and especially because I chose MALTA of all places, things take weeks/months to arrive, or never arrive at all, or arrive 2 months late with holes in. It’s honestly easier to buy it from a shop. But, unfortunately, some essentials, like contact lenses, I have to get from home, so just a trivial one to remember.

2. Embrace the ex-pat community, but don’t limit yourself to it.
Pretty much anywhere you go there will always be some sort of ex-pat community. Here on Gozo ours has Brits, Germans, Austrians, Italians, Brazilians, and more. This is pretty much always a life-line for people moving abroad, and is definitely extremely welcoming when you’re moving to a new country. On the other hand, it can also hinder you. To really make the most of moving to a new country, you need to experience local people, and not just limit yourself to the expats you feel comfortable around. I have been lucky enough to work for a Maltese restaurant owned by locals, and yet the diving community is full of ex-pats, so I really have the best of both worlds.

Christmas day with the divers!

3. It’s very easy to accumulate sh*t.
I came to Gozo with a suitcase and a holdall, purely full of clothes and scuba equipment. I now have two suitcases, two holdalls and a box full of pretty much everything you can name. If I tried to move back to the UK… Let’s just say it would take a couple of plane trips. I’ve tried so hard to keep it to just the basics, but when you move in to a flat with no pots/pans/bedding, it becomes more difficult. Do not doubt how much stuff you will want/need, because I’ve also had to get my mum to send out three different parcels full of winter clothes and other bits and bobs, because I was TOTALLY unprepared.

4. Speaking a different language is ALWAYS an asset.
I got very lucky with moving to Malta. English is the official second language here, and pretty much everyone you meet speaks some form of English. HOWEVER, I wish my language skills were better. Since I got here I have learnt bits of Spanish, Italian and German, and found myself wishing I had studied ANY of them more before my arrival. It’s another string to your bow, as the saying goes, and the Italian ex-pat community and the German diving community are huge here, so having those under my belt would have been a huge plus.

Funny tangent story: when I got to Gozo the main German phrase I knew was ‘Gute Nacht meine kleine Schweinchen’ because my ex-boyfriend used to watch Peppa Pig in German for GCSE practice. I said it so much to my German friends that they started saying it back to me and one of them even bought me a stuffed Peppa as a present!

5. Sometimes, you will just miss your mum *insert dad/family/friends as applicable*.
I have always been a pretty independent person. I’ve never needed to see my family a lot, and have regularly spent long periods of time away from home. However, this is the longest I have ever gone without seeing my parents in the flesh, and occasionally, randomly, I get a real pang of sadness. But, you know what, that’s okay. Sometimes, you will miss the people you know and love. The important thing is to not dwell on it, and to remember that you will get to see them at some point. Or, even better, FaceTime them… it always helps.

6. Just say YES.
No, I am not quoting Snow Patrol. I learnt to say yes so much more after moving here, and I think it’s the best decision you can make. I have had so many amazing experiences, met so many awesome people and really enjoyed my time here already because I started saying yes. I have learnt things, seen things I never would have and had so much fun from doing things well outside my comfort zone. Obviously, you shouldn’t say yes to everything, and there is always a time where no needs to be said, but on the whole, saying yes is always a good choice.

Full moon BBQ at Qbajjar fort. (I just said yes.)

Obviously, there are so many more things to learn from moving in general, and lots of adult things to deal with from moving to a new country, but I’ve tried to focus on the more trivial things, about enjoyment and happiness. As impulse decisions go, this one is definitely not one I regret.

If you have any questions or want more information about my decision to move to Gozo, you can always contact me here! Hope you enjoyed reading and look out for new posts coming soon, or head over to my Instagram for more travel related content.

Love, Amy @thisgingertravels x

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