Moving abroad for the first time can feel daunting. It's common to worry about the little things before we go. Often, it's the little things that distract us from the big things that we feel more apprehensive about. However, once you've lived abroad for a little while, moving abroad again doesn't seem so bad. For many who have been teaching English abroad for a few years, "last day moving abroad rituals" become a way to settle those last minute nerves. These rituals are a great way to prepare for the latest instalment of your personal adventure.
Just as the last of the cake-bearing relatives began to disappear over the horizon after another unexpected farewell gathering, I made an unconvincing and short-lived pact to myself, to never again eat another bite of chocolate sponge.
I closed the door, and the realisation quickly dawned that I would soon be turning the page on an enthralling new chapter on the other side of the world. The excitement - peppered with an odd hint of nervous apprehension had been building for weeks. It can be somewhat of a bittersweet feeling waiting for the last of the remaining few hours on home soil to tick on by.
I have found that a sort of final day ritual has developed as a consequence of spending the latter part of my 20's living and working abroad. I like to try and make the most out of every minute of those final few hours pre-departure, so that when the time does come to set sail from the shores of my wonderful homeland, I can do so in the right frame of mind.
Of course, I was tremendously excited to board the plane for Pudong International Airport, but before embarking upon this incredible adventure, there were some things I needed to take care of.
A visit to a treasured place
It's funny how time spent abroad makes you appreciate the simple things from home - things that you probably would never have thought you would miss. Whenever I return I make it my business to pay a visit to that treasured place, and it always leaves me feeling rejuvenated.
Coffee with loved ones
Accompanying my parents to a nearby cafe is less about the coffee, and more about the chat that unfolds. It's something that no amount of Skyping or Facetiming can substitute for presence.
Time to ponder and reflect
I always find moments of solitude in the lead up to departure to be empowering and energising; being afforded time to reflect on all that has been and gone, and to look ahead and envisage what exists on the other side of this restrictive comfort zone. How exciting.
And in the spirit of reflection, 3 weeks have passed since landing in Shanghai, at the time of writing. A lot has happened - and much has changed in a short period of time. Ah, change. You beauty. I am eager to share in the journey with you as I navigate this marvellous city, and look to make the most out of this life-changing opportunity afforded to me.
Watch this space.
If you're thinking of moving abroad to teach English, make sure you fill out an application today. A new adventure could be on the horizon.