• Ashley Nicole

Hello And Goodbye

It should come as no surprise when I tell you that change is a continual part of life. As much as I often struggle with change - I can thrive on routine and knowing what is happening - I am coming to realize more and more that change is part of the continual progression of life and without it, we are unable to grow. I think that inspirational writer, Alan Cohen, sums it up pretty well when he says, "A life without change is not a life; it is a stagnant pool." Whether or not we realize it, at the end of the day, whether it be big or small, change is something that we all want and it's what we need.

With all of this being said, I'd like to share with you the biggest and newest change in my life. This past week, I took a big jump and moved to a new country. I am now living in England on the Isle of Wight, where I plan to make my new home. I am thrilled to finally be living in the same country as my fiancé, as we prepare for our upcoming marriage. Saying hello to living in a new country also means having to say goodbye to where I've been living for the last few months. During my time in Canada, I had to live in that challenging limbo between being excited and ready to move on to the next thing ahead, while at the same time, being glad for the people surrounding me and realizing how much I would miss them when I finally did move on.

Last year, when I made the leap to move to France, I knew I was in for a challenge. You can read a bit about what that experience was like in my article, "Living Abroad - First Impressions." It has been a year since then, and thinking back on how difficult it was to start over remains fresh in my mind. To be honest, I think that the fresh start is one of the most challenging things about moving away. Living abroad, lends to the necessity of starting brand new friendships, understanding a new language or accent, paying for things in a new currency, and trying to catch on to the overall jive of the culture, which can be both challenging and rewarding altogether.

I arrived on the island three days ago, so I'd like to give you a brief summary of my overall impressions and thoughts so far. I'm sure they will change over time, so it should be interesting to look back later on and see how my perspective has shifted, months down the road.

~The people I have met, for the most part, have been extremely friendly. It's definitely tricky to start everything all over again, but it sure is nice to know some kind people.

~I miss the ease and speed of getting around on the metro (subway). I'm living in a village, so to get anywhere, it's quite a long bus journey. That being said, I am super grateful for buses that can get us all over the island.

~Even though everyone here is speaking English, it can still be tricky to understand people. I'm genuinely surprised at how often I don't understand things because of accents. It's still a lot easier than in France, but the next little while I will be learning to tune my ear to understand numerous accents. Unlike in most of Canada, every region seems to have an accent of it's own and there is quite a mix of people from different regions living here.

~It is such a hassle to get connected with banks and healthcare. Why do I feel surprised at this? Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork...

~I'm remembering that North American fashion and European fashion is very different. To be honest, some of our big trends and the "normal" ways that we tend to dress in North America can unfortunately be viewed as slightly slob-ish or big no-no's over here. (So sad...) I am trying to remember where the cross over is between the two, so that I don't stick out like a sore thumb.

~I thought my troubles with understanding how to greet people were over once I left France. I still haven't figured out what people typically say when they pass others on the street. Half the time it isn't hello, which is just confusing to me. Why someone would say anything else..?

~I think the beach here is going to be one of my favourite places. We went walking down there today and it was very empty. It's not like a swimming beach because it's so shallow and the tide comes up quite high, but it is pretty beautiful to walk along and calming to look at. I absolutely love being out in nature and I missed that greatly, when I lived in the city. I'm really looking forward to seeing what kind of outdoor exploration this new place will hold.

As with any new place, there is always something exciting waiting around the corner, if you allow yourself to look for it. If you would like to read a little more about some of my experiences living in France, check out my Life Stories section of my blog. Thanks so much for reading!