Thoughts on leaving friends behind when moving

My move to Barcelona is coming up shortly – only 3 weeks to go! As I empty my cupboards, and pack my boxes, it occurs to me just how fortunate I am.

I’m moving to Barcelona!  I have the opportunity to completely reboot my life again. To re-shape myself and my surroundings. To go explore what new experiences might be out there for the future. It’s a pretty exhilarating feeling at times.

I’ve started to notice a shift in my natural energy levels too. I do feel tired a lot, which I think is a side-effect of moving stress combined with a lack of exercise for the last month. I had a Relex Smile laser eye surgery, which meant I had to be careful with that.

Yet there are also frequent instances where I experience great bursts of energy now too. At those times it feels like the possibilities are limitless and I can’t stop myself from smiling and leaning into the positive feelings these moments generate.

Even though I have moved many times before (somewhere in the region of 20-25 times), I am not immune to the stresses a move can cause. Rather I would say that I simply know what is coming.

I recognise the different stages of the moving change curve and I’ve learned to take one day at a time throughout the transition.

Arguably one of the most difficult aspects of moving though is the loss of my physical social circle. There are comforts, security, and even proven health benefits, that result from being close to those you love.

I also believe people are an essential ingredient to generating happiness. That’s why I find it very important to be mindful of connections when moving to and from different places.

As I’ve been looking to turn the pages on the chapter that was my life in Prague, I came to a few realisations though.


Language and culture matter

One of the reasons I am leaving Prague, which I have yet to mention, is the struggle I have had with the language and culture of this country.

As I compare my experience in the Czech Republic with other places I have lived – like Switzerland, South Korea and the UK – I realise how much difficulty I had integrating here.

I pro-actively learned Czech for 9 months and yet still can’t have a basic conversation. I have now lived here for almost 3 years and can count on less than one hand how many Czech friends I have.

When I go out to meet people, I also have very little desire to meet locals. Upon reflection, this seems to be due to some experiences I have had here, which have shaped unfavourable perceptions of the country in my mind.

My continued inability to speak to Czechs in their own language also poses a problem. It hinders me from understanding why people do or say certain things. It also physically hinders me from completing every day tasks effectively (my attempts to secure a flat, for example, miserably failed multiple times).

As a firm believer of following your joy, these struggles have led me to the conclusion that Prague is not the place for me.

Of course, I could make things work here. I probably could even be very happy here in the long term provided I put a lot of effort into changing the circumstances around me.

I think sometimes we make our lives a little too difficult by trying to make do with certain situations though.

We stay in places that don’t quite feel right, stick with relationships that aren’t serving us and make do with advice from others when we really should be looking into ourselves instead.

Well this time I decided not to do that. I decided to follow the route that made me feel happiest instead. I decided to trust my gut and move into the land of Paella and Spanish omelettes. That means bye bye Prague!


Opportunities to make friends are literally everywhere

As I first started thinking about leaving Prague, I faced the age old fear of not knowing what my new social circle would look like. Here in Prague. I have a select set of close friends I currently share my routines with.

I know many different people with varying interests, strengths and weaknesses. Some like going out for wine, some like going to the movies, some like going for sports or on adventures.

I really don’t need to feel lonely too often now. If I really want to go somewhere, chances are I can find someone to tag along – or know a place to go to meet new people to join the fun!

That kind of luxury doesn’t automatically exist in a new place though. Unless you know someone, you usually need to start from scratch.

True friends abroad will naturally stay your friends and you can always call them on the phone. It’s just not the same as sitting together and feeling the comfort of a friend next to you though.

Nonetheless, I have come to realise recently that opportunities to make and reconnect with friends are literally everywhere.

I’ve reached out to people in Barcelona when searching for an apartment, who are now asking to meet up when I arrive.

I recently found out some acquaintances are moving to Barcelona around the same time too.

I even found out a person I worked with 6 years ago is also working in the city.

It really is a small world out there and once you know what to look out for, the opportunities to reconnect and meet new people are plentiful.


Life works out just the way it should, but having faith is key

I don’t know whether you believe in a higher power or not. For my part, however, I’ve come to believe that life works out just as it should.

I believe life is made up of a series of choices we make. We make decisions big and small every day which shape our futures.

Some decisions can point us in a better direction and some may not. Ultimately, however, every decision has an effect.

Sometimes we may be able to judge fairly easily what the outcome of a decision may be. For instance, if I decided to eat food I know I am allergic to today, it is pretty much guaranteed I will feel sick tomorrow.

Yet there are other times when the outcomes of our choices and decisions are not so clear. Perhaps we haven’t previously experienced a similar situation from which we could take reference. Else an effect may not solely be dependent on our own decisions, but those of others too.

In these cases we can do our part to plan as far as we can to mitigate negative consequences. At some point, however, we need to stop planning and have faith that the decision we took was the right one.

We need to believe that even if we made a wrong decision it is not fatal and a new path will open up to lead us back in the right direction.

Personally, I have no idea what will happen in Barcelona. I have no way of knowing what exactly will come next.

I can tell you that that is no different from life in any other city though. For the only security a known location brings is the security of knowing your guesses on what’s next may be more accurate.

In reality you still never know 100% what will happen next though. I find that thought kind of comforting. It also makes me think… isn’t that uncertainty what keeps life interesting? 😉







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