Moving abroad feels like riding a rollercoaster: before you go on you never really know what to expect, sometimes you get a thrill and sometimes you puke.
Why do we ride rollercoasters? Probably since we get to feel more in touch with ourselves: fear in the stomach, wind in the hair, the nervousness of the unknown and the bruises from the safety bar that pushes you into your seat. You feel the danger while your body is safely secured. Even though we fear them, statistically rollercoasters are the worlds safest vehicles.
When I think back to my move to a new country it gave me the same experience. I felt fearful, the unknown made me nervous but if I was lucky, it all would work out fine and who knows maybe I would get a thrill out of it. Hopefully there would be no puking. It was a constant up and down between happiness and panic and I speculated everyday how it would turn out.
Being brave sometimes also means being lonely.
I already learned this when I moved previously from Munich to London. I often felt people didn’t really understand what I was going through. Suddenly I was on my own, being confronted with myself and having no one to bounce off socially. From the outside it may look so easy and effortless. I always had a deep respect for people who moved abroad and I would have never thought that I would find the courage to do it myself.
For several years my husband and I were talking about moving to New York. Well, talking and dreaming are different from actually doing it. Strangely, the universe always listens. Once you are high on that adrenaline drug called adventure it’s tough to get off. And the universe knows it and is a loyal dealer.
When I moved to another continent the anxiety and anticipation of the leaving date getting closer felt like waiting on a line for a wild rollercoaster ride. While I was waiting and observing the ride I asked myself if it is really a good idea to get on. It looked scary actually. How would the ride be? They checked for safety issues right? Or could Trump press the „release the seat“ belt button at some point?
After 4 weeks of waiting I actually got diarrhea for 1,5 weeks. At some point I started eating only potatoes (I’m German it’s the only cure) and when it still didn’t get better I knew: it was psychological. Amazing! I resigned at this point, trying to keep my thoughts under control was a waste of time.
Back in the day I saw a rollercoaster that is a perfect image for this metaphor at Six Flags Great Adventure Park in New Jersey. It was called „Kingda Ka“ ( accelerating to 128 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds reaching a height of 456 feet). My husband and his brother rode it a few years ago. I didn’t, I wasn’t suicidal!
My husband said afterwards that his contact lenses got completely dried up from the speed. He couldn’t see straight for the rest of the time there. Yes, I knew why I didn’t want to join. Still when I asked how it was he simply said that it looked worse than it actually was. It actually went by too quickly and the worse part was the wait and anticipation prior to getting on.
Soon I will get on the craziest rollercoaster ever, the relocating version of Kingda Ka. I am glad my husband is with me in the wagon (eyes better now) so I can squash his hand. It probably looks much more intimidating than the reality. I hope I will feel the rollercoaster bliss - the feeling of being high when I get off. So hands up and eyes open
This time hopefully I will be high from the thrill of New York City, a rollercoaster that puts all the others to shame.