Alone in a crowd

My friends mean the world to me. It is so important to have some good mates beside you. To have fun with. To complain to. To cry with. Basically, to share memories with.

With moving overseas and starting a new life, I was eager to make some new friends. I have always been good at it. When on exchange I met some of my besties in my first week. And I was only 5 months there in total.

However, here in Australia I find it mightily difficult to meet some people I really connect with. Even though I try to put myself out there, meet people, go to parties and have conversations.

It is only now I realise how lucky I have been in the past meeting great friends I truly get along with.

My childhood friends, who probably formed me to the person I am today. But also at uni I was part of a great group of people. How lucky was I to meet them, and accidentally getting along with so well?

Here, I feel alone in a crowd sometimes. There are so many young people living in Melbourne. And I am sure there are hundreds I would love to hang out with. I just don’t know how to meet them.

Making friends as an adult is hard. When there is no place you have to be, like uni, school or a hobby, it is difficult to meet new people.

I am tremendously grateful for the friends I have, all over the world.  However, I am sad to be so far away from most of them. And even though I love them, it is hard to stay in touch.

We all have busy lives, and a Skype call is sometimes an effort on both sides. Some of them, even though really missed, I barely speak to anymore.

But I know this will not hurt our friendship. It is just the way it is. Something you need to accept when moving overseas, you can’t keep in contact with everyone.

To all my friends, wherever they are. You are missed. Come over to Melbourne whenever you can, all of you are always welcome. If you want to talk, let me know.

In the meantime, I will meet all those cool, awesome people out there and find my own Melbourne crew.

If you have any tips on how to meet new people and make new friends, or want to share a story, leave a message!

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Arriving in Christmas spirit

We arrived in Melbourne one week before Christmas. Starting our new lives in Australia during the Christmas holidays, it couldn’t be more perfect. And, most importantly, it was the middle of Australian summer.

And yes, it was a dreamy Australian Christmas. Melting in 35 degrees on a horse farm in the countryside, having a barbecue and delicious salads like only Australians can make them.

The holidays and catching up with everyone kept me and my partner very busy the first weeks. However, then the question rose, what to do now?

I did not have much time to think about what to do in Australia before I left. Which, in hindsight, might have been a mistake.

I would advise everyone making a big move, to have something planned for the first months after you arrive, to make transition easier. Make travel plans, arrange an internship, already find a job, anything.

James found a job when still in Belgium and was starting at the National Australian Bank one month after we arrived. I probably should have looked a bit sooner as well, as I did not expect the job hunt to be as difficult and frustrating as it was.

When he started work, it was time for me to find something to do, I have always lived a very busy life, and I suddenly had all this spare time.

I started doing everything I never had the time for in Belgium. Binge watching a whole Netflix series. Reading books for hours in the sun. Going for adventurous walks. Sporting more and starting a yoga class. However, this was not enough.

I needed a job, but I wasn’t allowed to work yet on my visa. I decided to do some volunteering. I always wanted to help people living in poverty.

I searched and found a fantastic organisation, helping people experiencing homelessness, that welcomed my skills in strategic communication.

Having something to do during the day was a welcome change. I was meeting interesting people and doing exciting work in this volunteering opportunity.

The first months in Australia were overwhelming. I always wanted to live in another country, not necessarily as far, but it was harder than expected.

To anyone making a big move. Expect the first weeks or months to be difficult. Especially when you move to your partner’s home town, where he has a million things to do, and you only a handful.

It is when you get bored, you start missing friends and family and getting very upset because you are not able to go to your best friend’s housewarming or your grandparent’s anniversary party.

There will be many ups and downs, however they keep life interesting. The downs go deep, but the ups raise to tops you will never experience at home. So enjoy them, and things will get better. Just wait for it.

Feel free to leave a comment about your experiences moving overseas.

Melbourne by night over yarra river

A little Belgian in Melbourne

A couple of months ago, I made the big move down under. For love, how cheesy, but also change of scenery, new experiences, overcoming challenges, a big adventure.

Six months in, I have absorbed all these different impressions and it was time for me to write them down. I share them with you in case some topics might interest you.

However, feel no pressure to read on, it’s not because something is publicly available it has to be shared.

For those who are interested, enjoy reading my thoughts, my experiences with Melbourne, the places I visit, the food I eat and the people around me.

This is for those who want to know how and what I am doing here, my friends and family. It is for those who want to visit Melbourne and are looking for a Belgian’s experiences. Or for those wanting to make a big move, for love or for adventure.

I am not planning on portraying things better than they are. It will be about all the good, the bad and the ugly of moving far from home. And very personal. So please be respectful.

Views or opinions expressed are my own and not those of my employer or other affiliations.