10 Lessons I Learned in My First Year Overseas

I’m finally home! It’s been 8 months since I left DC, two weeks after getting married. I’ve learned so much about myself these past months. I’ve been stretched, shifted and pushed to my limits. I’ve made friends, gotten lost numerous times, bought the wrong thing in the grocery store and tried foods I’ve never even heard of. I’ve cried, I’ve laughed and I’ve been homesick. I’ve lived through experiences I never thought I’d be exposed to and I’ve made lifelong memories. Cheers to the next season and to the 10 lessons I’ve learned in my first year overseas!

living overseas

10 Lessons I Learned in My First Year Overseas

  1. You have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. I got stared at everywhere. The grocery store, basketball games, walking down the street, you name it. At first I was so uncomfortable but I learned to embrace it. 

  2. Growth is inevitable and necessary. I’ve grown so much as an individual, as a woman, and as a wife. You grow, and you grow some more. You must be willing to accept that growth and change within yourself. My mental health was tested when I felt like a burden to my husband because I wasn’t working and couldn’t even crack a smile some days. My marriage has been tested. I’m growing into a woman that I’m falling in love with more and more and I couldn’t be happier.

  3. It’s ok to be homesick. This was the first season where I was in Europe for the whole season. I had visited before but never for this long. I got homesick many times and missed my great-aunt’s funeral whom I was so close with. I missed Thanksgiving and Christmas. In fact, Jon had an away game on Thanksgiving. But, you make it work for you. We had all the American players over and we made a huge feast the day after. It was amazing.

  4. Do and try everything. I can’t even begin to describe everything I’ve seen and tried while being here. I went on a road trip through Eastern Europe, flew to Oslo for a concert and experienced a literal winter wonderland. I’ve tried beet soup, boiled potatoes, eel, hot wine, and fell in love with cappuccinos. I’ve seen the insides of breathtaking churches and visited a Holocaust memorial site. Don’t ever be afraid to try new things and new experiences. The memories are worth it. 

5.Keep an open mind.If I was closed-minded, I would have missed out on so much. I got to judge a dance competition, attend an International Women’s Dinner with some amazing ladies and try amazing foods. Living in a country forces you to go against the norm. Be open to how other cultures do things. You’ll learn amazing and new ways of doing things.

6. Get into a routine. For the first 3 months, I didn’t do anything. There was nothing to do or see really. The major city was a 2 hr drive away on a one lane road with no lights and speed cameras. I became a major homebody, until I finally started my blog. I found an amazing coffeeshop that reminded me of Starbucks and started coming here almost every day. I made a routine for myself where I would workout in the morning and then spend my day here writing, researching, or planning.It really helped improve my mood and I’m going to miss this place so much.

7. Be grateful always. I’ve become so much more grateful of the things and relationships that I have, even more than just material things such as a dishwasher and an oven and a million food places within 2 miles. I’ve become more grateful of my friendships and my family. Being away from home caused me to cherish them more and appreciate the conversations I had with them.

8. You’re not going to like everything. Every place is different and there were some definite things I didn’t really like such as the grocery stores and mostly everything shutting down at 10. I’m used to things being open super late and even 24 hrs. There were also certain things missing in the grocery store that I’m used to having and our wifi was always pretty bad. But, we dealt with it and just made it work..and learned a lot of patience.

9. Living overseas will be very different from home. I know this is an obvious one but I don’t think people realize how different it will be until they leave. From the way people drive, to the food, to the living situations, everything. It’s going to be different. For me, we were in a beachtown so there was literally nothing to do. I definitely learned to be grateful for the little things but it also allowed my husband and I to really spend a lot of time together.

10. Make at least one friend.  This one was the hardest to do for me because I wasn’t sure if anyone would speak English. It’s also the most important lesson. To my surprise, the other wives/girlfriends of the players spoke good English. It made my experience here much better. I had people to talk to and look forward to seeing. I was able to witness Jon’s first championship thanks to my friend Agija driving us 6 hrs to Estonia. It’s important to have at least one friend when you’re far away from home. Of course, Jon is my best friend but it’s nothing like having one friend or friends you can talk to and sit with at games!

Being overseas has been nothing short of amazing. I have learned, grown  and become a better individual because of it. I’ve experienced a wonderful culture and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next season! Hello summer! 


K. Marie

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