Living in a new place sparks many feelings. Feelings of excitement, empowerment, nervousness, and adventure, all wrapped into a couple of suitcases and shipped off to a new and unfamiliar home. It honestly didn’t even hit me that I was leaving my family and friends until the night before I was actually leaving. I’m not sure why this was the case, and I couldn’t quite put my finger onto why this time was different from all of the rest. I thought that maybe I’ve just done this so many times before that I’ve become numb to the feeling of being afraid, and instead have become open to the feeling of new beginnings.
Time for some honesty:
When I stepped off the plane and walked out of the airport into this new city, I still had little feelings. That first night being alone in my new home, everything that could go wrong went wrong, and it left me near tears. I decided to take a shower to make me feel better, but when I got out my house was freezing. I couldn’t figure out how to get the heater working, everything was too complicated and I was frustrated! I went to plug in my hair dryer (you know, so I wouldn’t wake up with icicles on my head) and when I turned it on, fire shot out.
Yes that’s right, fire. I’m sure the image you have in your head of this is probably like a flamethrower, I admit I am being a bit dramatic; but it was enough to completely fry my only converter, which in turn ended the battery life of my laptop. No Skype or e-mails with family for me tonight. I decided to write in my journal instead (because you don’t have to plug those in), and after a few sentences of me describing how scared I was, the only pen I could find ran out of ink. Needless to say, that first night was one for the books.
I woke up and the sky was blue. I almost forgot where I was, and was taken aback. I was told I would never see the sun while living here, and incidentally had prepared myself for the worst. After a horrible day of rain and mishaps, it was hard to continue feeling sorry for myself with such a perfectly clear blue sky, symbolic of my fresh start in my new home. I decided to start over, leaving that first night behind me and laughing at my bad luck. I went for a run and chased the blue skies in an attempt to explore my new neighborhood. I got lost along the way, but I didn’t care: I found my way back again.
The past few years for me have been a roller coaster: I’ve had very high points, and some extremely low points. To be fair, I think I’m more grateful for the low points as they have prepared me for adventures like the one I am currently on now. Each time things seem to fall apart a little bit, I find myself feeling more at ease with putting the pieces back together. Rebuilding ourselves through the high and low times in our lives is what makes us who we are in this moment; and I have to say-I sort of like the person I am becoming.
Everyone keeps asking me how I’m finding Liverpool, and I can honestly say now that I have never been happier. However, when I say that, people laugh—so I’m thinking maybe I need to give it some more time! All kidding aside, my teammates have made this transition to the unknown easier than I had ever imagined. It has been a long time since I have been surrounded by such an amazing group of women and instantly became friends. The fun-loving atmosphere of this team, and this entire city for that matter, is so endearing, it makes it hard to not feel welcome. Leaving my friends and family hurts every single time I am forced to do it—easily my least favorite part about this lifestyle I have chosen. But making the move to a place where I am finding a new family (disguised as a football team), all the while experiencing a completely different culture, proves that making the move here was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I’ve come a long way since my first night here when I was crying alone in my cold house because I was afraid of this new place. I’ve realized since then that it’s much easier to just laugh, relax, and trust life!
Amanda DaCosta recently signed with Liverpool Ladies of the FAWSL in England for the 2013 season, where she joins fellow American Whitney Engen. She will continue her blog on The Equalizer and provide insight into life abroad.