I still remember the weeks before I flew to Gibraltar: not even pronouncing the name correctly as how locals do, meet ups with friends for dinner who all ask where exactly is it, me trying to explain that it’s at the southern tip of Spain but isn’t really in Spain but a UK territory, my sister expecting me to see One Direction because it’s part of the UK, me getting tired of explaining it’s location to everyone who hears of the news and asks, googling what Gibraltar looks like with the hopes of seeing what it looks like living there and just seeing photos of the rock.
I remember when I said in my interview that my plan was to work for a year or two, save up and go back home to start a business and how I thought that would cost me the interview since they know I was not going to stay long in the firm anyway. It didn’t, I got the job and I was still in Gibraltar two years after with no business but lots of countries travelled.
I remember how it was hard to part with shoes and clothes that I cannot bring. The parting gifts I got from precious people in my life: A coat which I still use now and a scarf that I used to death but I cannot find anymore, a book still unread (it’s still with me and I WILL READ IT!), a poster of me and my friends’ faces with messages at the back which is still in my doc organiser, and finally the two boxes of tissue my sister sent me which ran out after a few days because my nose is still in an identity crisis thinking it’s a waterfall instead of a properly functioning body part.
The airport crying that ensued.
Fast forward to four years and no longer a newbie in moving to another country: I know how to pronounce Paris as how locals do, friends and family know where I’m going and there are many books, podcasts, blogs and vlogs about living in Paris available.
Now it isn’t as hard to part with my stuff. I’ve tried to not buy too much stuff as before (I don’t think I buy too much stuff before anyway) and asked my friends to not give tangible parting gifts. I believe my luggage is full of stuff I actually really like and need. Save for my books, which are quite heavy and will come a bit later. I still have boxes of tissue with me because my nose is still convinced it is a waterfall.
Was there airport crying? Well, technically no one brought me to the airport except for the taxi driver, maybe Gibraltar border crying? There wasn’t either, but I will definitely miss Gibraltar and the people there, the house gatherings with late night charade and hours long card games and of course the home cooked food.
My work ethic has improved in Gib and they definitely know about work-life-balance in audit which is harder to find in a big city. It was where I first experienced strangers greeting each other in an elevator. It was where I think I’ve acquired a bit of motion sickness, because I’m not used to riding a bus or a car anymore since I just almost walk my way to everywhere. There is rarely a bad weather in Gibraltar, even in the winter there is sun and what person does not get giddy when there is sun out. The gorgeous Andalucia is always accessible by bus or train, and from the Malaga airport you can fly just about anywhere. My only regret now is not being able to go to Morocco while I was there. Well atleast my eyes have reached Africa (you can see Morocco from Gibraltar), I will set foot another time.
So far in my life I’ve moved apartments eight times and will have moved countries twice. Both of them not easy (especially if in the former you opt not to use any moving services and if the apartment doesn’t have any elevator) but change is good. You rid yourself of bad landlords and boyfriends, you get cosier flats and a different culture, you learn how to live with people and to leave people.