I’m a 26-year-old travel agent/interpreter from Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. I came to London for the first time in 2005 – where after a little coming and going – I have been living ever since.
What motivated you to live abroad?
Back in 2005, living abroad wasn’t exactly my choice. My mum had recently married and it was decided that maybe life could be better over here. Even if I didn’t like the idea back at the time, today I see that they couldn’t have made a better choice. I lived in London from 2005 to 2007 and then went back to Brazil, where I stayed for a year or so before returning to England again.
What were your expectations before you moved to England? Did the reality align with those expectations?
15-year-old me didn’t know what to think, all I remember is that I was scared to death. I thought it was going to be freezing cold and that I would never make any friends. I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to learn the language properly. Back then the only contact I had ever had with England was through my step-father and that wasn’t enough to make me believe I could actually like living here. The reality was that I adapted really quickly, made lots of friends where I studied and it wasn’t really as cold as I thought it would be!
Learning how to deal with loneliness and not letting that get in the way of making new friends where you live. Trying to integrate and embrace a new culture that could potentially be totally different from yours is also a huge deal. In the beginning I struggled a lot because I thought people wouldn’t like the way I was. In my head I was different in a bad way, and people wouldn’t approve of me. I had to learn how to let go of that thought and free myself to be who I am without worrying if I was pleasing people or not.
And what do you love about it?
The freedom of thought and expression. London is one of the most diverse cities in the whole world. I love that I can be anywhere in the world just by hopping on a bus, without even leaving the city. Living abroad has opened up my mind to a lot of things, the world is much much bigger than I thought and the possibilities are endless!
How has living abroad changed you? What have you learned?
I spent my whole childhood in Brazil, but it was England that taught me the responsibilities of an adult. I learned not to judge and to respect people who were from a different cultural background. Today, I am a much more open-minded individual and I take pride in that.
What do you wish you had known before leaving your home country?
That from all of the people who were yet to walk out of my life, I shouldn’t fear because the most important ones would stay. And that we often underestimate our power of adapting to new settings and environments.
What’s the biggest difference between your life in Brazil and in England?
In Brazil my life seemed to be more exciting, but I can’t do much comparing because I was young and didn’t have a lot of responsibilities. I don’t get to spend a lot of family time as I would have wanted and the city and people may not be as lively as Brazilians. It sounds bad but the good side is that I’m not constantly having my personal space invaded.
Being with my family and the feeling I know everyone on the street. Being able to see my old friends, and the way Brazilian people are in general. Brazilians have the ability of making the best out of a bad situation and I miss that a lot.
Tell us about your blog.
My blog started in 2012 when I was going through a very rough patch in my life. I felt like my life had no purpose and that I wasn’t in touch with the person I had known myself to have been all my life, I felt like a stranger to myself. I started it as a way to get my head off certain thoughts and to keep myself busy. It turned out to be one of the best forms of therapy I have ever encountered!
What does living a creative life mean to you?
Finding inspiration in the littlest things. Observing the world, people and things around you with empathy in order to be able to get to the real essence. It means letting things flow and not forcing myself to like or do anything I don’t truly wish to.
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I’m trying to work my way up as an interpreter. I am also a travel agent, so it means that I’m also juggling those two things at the same time! Personally speaking, I’m trying to improve myself and my thoughts as a person, and being more in tune with the world around me. I’ve recently started learning how to meditate and I’m loving it!
Any advice you’d like to share with those who dream of creating a new, happier life?
Accept who you are and go after the things you wish deep down. Dedicate a little bit of your life to others who are in need. Look after your mind and be in peace with it.
This was lovely, thanks Babi! :)
Are you living abroad? Please share your experience!