Expat Stories: The Journey So Far

What’s your blog about? 

I often get this question when other people find out that I write a blog. When I started writing this blog, it was to share my love for food and travel. It just so happened to have coincided with some very big milestones in my life, and I ended up writing a lot about my move to the United Kingdom.  I never thought that I would ever get a niche, but for some odd reason, my blog seems to have pulled one in – expats. A lot of people who are looking to move from one country to another have been finding my posts on visa applications, travel tips, and even marriage and relationships. It has made me realise that I need to truly embrace this audience and this direction for my blog. 

Writing about expat lifestyle is something that I feel could give value to others. Being an expat is a strange and brave thing. Leaving home and you comfort zone, whatever the reason, is very difficult. One thing that has helped was to meet other expats out there. It is great to share stories with people who have been through the same journey as you are. That little bit of encouragement can get you through some days when homesickness and insecurity kick in.

I have been meeting more and more expats and hearing some really amazing stories from them, so I thought it would be great to share their stories with you as well. I’ll be sharing an expat’s story every other week, and hopefully, their stories inspire you to thrive in your new home just as they have. 

I’m really looking forward to sharing my first expat interview with you, so stay tuned! I thought it would be fitting to share some quick-fire updates on my expat journey so far to kick off the series. 

 


 

What are the top three things you love about your new home? 

  • Crisp, cold, and sunny mornings. I’ve come to realise that I love this even more than warm days. It is almost as wonderful as the feeling of being in a tropical beach on a hot day. 
  • The culture and history. England is such an old civilisation and even just walking down normal streets feels like walking down the pages of history. Museums and galleries are also so easily accessible to anyone of whatever social stature, which creates an appreciation for it among people from all walks of life. I just love that. 
  • The market. You may not find this as amazing as I do, but I LOVE doing my food shop. I am still finding fruits and vegetables that I have never seen or tasted in my life (like a donut peach?! I mean… why is it flat!) and it blows my mind. As someone who loves food, discovering new ingredients and cuisines excites me like no other. In this country I get to eat in Michelin starred restaurants and try exotic cuisine (one of my faves were Ethiopian pancakes!) and there is so much more to taste and experience out there.  

What are the top three things you miss the most about your old home? 

 

 

  • The Beach. I miss being half naked virtually half of the year. I miss road trips with my friends and family. All you need is a car, a swim suit, a change opf clothes and a bottle (each) of whiskey or rum. Weekend beach trips were the best! Aw I feel so homesick just thinking about it!!!!
  • Food and our Food Culture. When we have gatherings, we have feasts. When we go on a night out, we start and finish with food. We can’t just sit around and drink. There have to be snacks in there. We adore food excessively, and I miss that!
  • Smiles. I miss strangers smiling at me. It sounds creepy, but where I’m from we keep our head up while walking, look people in the eye, and smile at them. Whatever the weather, Filipinos are lighthearted, warm, and hospitable. British people are nice and polite, but the Filipino warmth is irreplaceable!

What are the top three most difficult things you needed to adjust to? 

  • Walking. In the Philippines, we dont walk too much. Since it is too hot, we rely on private cars and public transportation even for very short distances. Here, everyone walks with speed and purpose, and would consider a 15 min walk as a short one. That was something different for me, but at the same time, I have grown to love it. Not only is it great exercise, it is also a good way to clear your head.
  • Seasons. Apart from never knowing what to wear cause British weather is so indecisive, the change in the number of hours of daylight really messed with my head. I came from a country where the sun sets and rises at the same hour (6-7 am/pm) so having long days and nights really drove me nuts!!!
  • Language. I have always thought that I am a good English speaker and that I will have an easy time interacting with people here because everyone speaks English too. However, I’ve come to realise that British and American English are so different it could sometimes feel like two completely separate languages. Accents are another thing, with the diversity of people in London, it is hard to catch what they are saying because of the many accents. I am proud to say that I am getting better at understanding people and expressing myself confidently as well. 

What is your one advice to new Londoners? 

Don’t get boxed into one area of London. Don’t stick to the touristy places, or don’t feel too comfortable in your neighbourhood. Go ahead and explore its many different areas, from the gritty streets of Shoreditch and Camden to the posh cafes and parks of Kensington and Chelsea. London has so many different sides to it, take it all in. It may be intimidating to be in such a big city at first, but when you really get to know this city, you’ll really fall in love with it. Also, hold on to who you are and don’t lose it just cause you feel different. Shine in your uniqueness and have pride in where you came from. It will help you feel more settled and adapt easier. If you are comfortable with who you are, you’d be able to embrace your potential, wherever you are.

 

Abbi

 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Expat Stories: The Journey So Far

  1. Oh HEY! Ex-Expat here. Totally relate and expats are often some of the loveliest people you will meet. London is an amazing place and the contrasts between the upler and edgier sides may be stark, but they’re oh so fun to explore!

  2. I think we all dream of moving somewhere else from time to time, but few of us actually take that step and move. It’s always interesting to see a different point of view on otherwise very well known country. Good luck on your journey!

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