By Bella Filippi
The other day I was waiting for my train and I heard a girl talking on the phone about how scared she was to move to a new city for a job opportunity. As I boarded the train, I couldn't stop thinking why I didn't approach her and say 'Hey, don't worry! It's totally normal to be nervous, but it will all be worth it. Trust me, I've done it."
Six years ago, when I was 30 years old, I woke up in my hometown of Caracas, Venezuela with the craziest idea: move abroad to learn English. I jumped out of bed, grabbed my laptop and started Googling schools and best cities to live in. A friend told me about this amazing metropolis: Chicago, IL. I started reading about the city and I fell in love almost instantly. It was like a small version of a European metropolitan city but what sold me, believe it or not, was the winter. I love cold weather and living in a city with four seasons sounded fantastic to me.
I won’t lie to you, the idea of moving to a different country, with a new culture, another language and no family was frightening but that didn’t stop me. I was dealing with a breakup, my 10-year relationship was over. I was feeling hopeless and disconnected from who I wanted to be. I needed a change to find myself again. So why not jump into a life-changing and unforgettable experience?
If you're thinking about doing the same thing, here are 4 things I wish I knew before my move:
1. RESEARCH YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD.
For example, I love to work from coffee shops so having a good brew spot close to the house is a must. And don’t forget to double check your new neighborhood for safety, maybe one night you will come home late and it is better to be prepared and watch your surroundings.
2. GET READY FOR WEATHER.
Try to rent a place with most of the services included in your rent. For example, Chicago is well known for its brutal winter so I chose an apartment that included the heater on the rent otherwise all of my money will go to paying the gas bill, which sadly, means less money for coffee. Thinking about these things in advance will save you a lot of stress and headache in the long run because who needs any more of that, right?
3. THINK ABOUT HOW YOU'RE GETTING PLACES
Are you biking? Scootering? Do you have a car? Not all cities offer a great public transportation system like Chicago but most U.S. cities have bikes that you can rent and some are starting to offer trendy scooters. I haven't tried them yet, but if you're not worried about how your hair is going to look after riding one for a short period of time, go for it! You will start your day with a pinch of fun.
4. IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT, HIRE A MOVING COMPANY
Even if you are only taking your bed and dresser, hire a moving company. I did my moving by myself and I cannot describe to you the back pain I got the next day. Do not stress yourself out! You want to spend your days exploring your new city, not icing your aches.
I know it’s hard to leave our comfort zone but the hardest part of the move is not the physical move itself. It’s actually deciding to make a change. With that said, the most important thing is to embrace the change and have fun with it, you’re going to be fine!
Soon enough you will be making new friends that will gladly show you your new city and you will start calling it your new home away from home.
Are you ready for your new adventure?