It's That Time Again...

Parma collage

You'd think I'd be an old hand at this adjusting thing by now, but it still feels like I'm squeezing myself out of an iron test-tube. This little post is a reminder to myself and to the other year-abroadies starting their second placement that there are ways of combatting the newbie blues.

1/ Keep showering. I know that seems obvious, but I'll be the first to admit that when I'm feeling a bit down I'm not very disciplined with washing. If I don't smell I don't shower. End of. However, when I get up and shower in the morning, I feel like a conquerer, I feel energised and I smell damn fine, so I need to keep showering and so do you.

2/ Invest time in your new space. Moving is an exhausting process, but if you don't settle yourself in properly, you're still going to feel pretty miserable and nomaddy after the first couple of weeks. Spend time unpacking, putting up photos, finding a space for everything and buy some smelly candles to get rid of any odd smells (my new room smells like damp). It's the same with kitchen stuff; if you want to drink coffee at home, get a coffee press or a mocha pot, if you are a foodie, spend a bit of money setting up your kitchen space to get it just how you like it.

3/ Get to know the place. Yesterday was so odd and overwhelming, so I hopped on my new bike and just went for a cycle. When I was in Düsseldorf and Florence I went exploring on foot, but regardless of your transport medium, exploring a new city/town/village with all of your senses is one way to get acquainted with the place. I've got a vague idea of places I want to explore, shops I want to shop in and cafes I want to sit in. It was also really helpful to orientate myself and almost make the streets my own. 

4/ Get off the internet. I know this makes me sound like a hypocrite, but what I really mean is use the internet in moderation. Don't wander the streets looking for wifi so you can whatsapp your friends telling them how crap everything is, when you haven't even given everything a chance. I'm a HUGE culprit of the wallowing on the internet phase. I hate it in myself. I'm in flipping Italy, I can get a cappuccino for €1 and I'm working with a super fun theatre company- what is there to cry about? I have actually decided not to get the internet in my apartment as my friend Hodges has wifi and she lives opposite, so I'm just scheduling internet-time into my day. It's very useful.

5/ Be kind to yourself but don't stand still. For me being kind to myself sounds like sitting in every evening watching Gilmore Girls and eating chocolate. This is often counterproductive because I put on weight, start talking really fast and feel like no one wants to be my friend because I'm so anti-social. That is NOT being kind to myself. It's good to bust out the social boldness in the first few days of living somewhere new, but do give yourself time to sleep, eat and exercise properly. This isn't a holiday camp, this is a year abroad semester, you're in it for the long-haul. Find a healthy balance, kick start a routine and if you don't fancy going out on the lash, then curl up with the local radio station and a good italian novel (I really need to do this!)

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