This article was submitted as part of our writing competition on “What scares or excites you about the future?”.
As I stepped off the plane in Manchester, United Kingdom I realised that I had no idea what I was doing. I felt the need to flee my own country, but my choice to enter the very expensive education system in the former British Empire was quite a spontaneous one. Once again, I did not think things through. I took a bus and found myself in suburban Manchester carrying 4 heavy bags with a mobile phone telling me “Your battery is empty. The phone will turn off in 30 seconds”, but that wouldn’t matter because I didn’t have anyone to call to anyway. I had once again left my country, but this time for a longer period. I promised to myself “I will not make any rash decisions any more”.
One thing you must learn about me is that in order to prove my existence in this absurd world, I love to be spontaneous. These kinds of deeds might lead me to creating dance moves using a broom in a popular nightclub (the security removed the object from us in 20 minutes. Slow, eh?), a pseudo-marriage ceremony with a stranger in front of a Russian orthodox church at 4AM, continued by meeting another crazy bunch of people who then dragged us on to a sauna on the river followed by a competition to see who could jump the furthest from the roof of the sauna into the freezing waters. Then again, the same spontaneity might result in being lost in suburban Manchester.
I am originally from Estonia, a small country in Eastern Europe characterised by cheap booze, blonde girls and drunken Finnish tourists in the capital city. Estonia is one of the Baltic states and I believe (and hope) that people know that we were occupied by the Soviet Russia for 51 years. This meant the people were not permitted to go abroad unless it was for a week of vacation in Yalta or some other resort that was considered luxurious at the time (the hotels were probably worse than in Sochi). When the borders were opened, some people fled to other countries, others returned to their homeland after years of exile. After opening
the borders in 1991 the emigration is so vast that what Hemingway once said about finding two Estonians in every port in the world became an even more common thing to say. Right now, a lot of us are building up our futures in other countries.
Starting your life abroad is a tough decision because not only you are moving to a new country, there will also be a multiculturalist aspect to it. The cultural differences might close many doors. I had to make new friends, get acquainted with the area, find cheap accommodation, find a job, not get absolutely lost all the time, study in another language …I had to prove myself so many times, not only to myself but to others, as I am a foreigner. And yes, it will be tough for some time when the feeling of being scared, alone and homesick strikes. But then I think for a second – I made it, I took the risk and I am moving onwards, gaining new experiences.
The fascinating feeling of being like an alien when going to another country is something that keeps your senses awake. I feel restless when I have stayed in one country too long. I am excited to not only see the world, but to feel it with all my seven senses. I am taken out of my comfort zone and put in situations I have never encountered before. Being scared is actually good for you. By using both our imagination and previous experience we evaluate risk; being scared is the result of this. Fear is essential for our survival; so to avoid danger we must be afraid. I am not going to think of money because I feel that there are more important things than just climbing up a career ladder because you may slip soon. The world is unstable and I will do as much as I can as an active member of society looking into voluntary programs in pursuit of sharing my knowledge and helping those in need.
Right now, the future seems fascinating and full of everything unexpected. I am in my second year in a country other than the United Kingdom or Estonia and I am enjoying my time, although I had to start from the beginning for a second time. I am not going to restrict myself in making rational decisions, as I promised myself before, I’m just going to see what the future brings. I will be scared and excited at the same time. And in the end, there is always a solution – in a couple of minutes standing hopelessly in the suburban area in Manchester a woman was walking nearby so I asked for directions to the nearest bus stop and easily found my way back to the city centre.
Picture 1: Timo, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Picture 2: Nottingham Trent University, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0