Its reported daily in the news about the mass immigration that's happened in Britain, but emigration is rarely spoken about, but its on the rise. A little over a year ago I clutched my one way plane ticket to Prague. Ever since, practically on a daily basis I am asked why I decided to move here. The problem is, I don't really have an answer.
But what I do know is that I wasn't enjoying life back in Britain. As the recession took hold in Britain things just seemed to get worse. I was made redundant from a job I enjoyed, and to add to the insult, it took 6 whole long months to find another job. I'd had several jobs since then too but nothing worked out, I wasn't happy. Also, I was living near my mother who had moved there 2 years before me. She loved it but I was in no way convinced. It was a very pretty but strange town, about 40 minutes drive from Manchester, with rolling green fields, and It was difficult to make friends. Most people in the town had lived there all their lives and their friends were all from childhood, I had literally nothing in common with them. I made a remark one day to an old friend, which is when it all clicked into place, I felt like a foreigner. Rather odd considering I am British but nevertheless, that is exactly how felt.
I got talking to another old friend with whom I hadn't been in contact with for 10 years. We shared similar views and got on rather well, in fact much better than we had 10 years previously! The most important view we shared is that we felt we needed to get away. In the following months we spoke endlessly about moving away, what we could do, all fantasies really. But then one day, something changed. It had occurred to me that this could be more than just a fantasy, I could make it reality. After all, I had nothing to stop me and no responsibilities. So one night, it was decided. We moved to Prague a week later. The next day I handed my notice in at work, and my boss was surprised. "Have you got a job to go to or a place to stay"? "No"! But nothing could change my mind, I had booked the ticket the moment I decided so that I wouldn't do just that!
The next week was spent going through my belongings and throwing away or selling everything I couldn't take. As time flew I soon found myself on that plane, landing in Prague. It was a pleasant early September evening. We got the bus into the city centre and decided to go and find a hostel to stay in for the night. We would find somewhere to live the next day. Well that was the plan anyways, but shortly after the hostel idea was scrapped and a very kind person offered us lodgings for the night. The next day we found a flat and several weeks later we had jobs. And I can say for sure, making that move was the best decision I ever made.
So, over a year later, my life had drastically changed, and for the better. I still feel like a foreigner, but the difference now is that I actually am one! I have ultimately matched my internal feelings with my external surroundings. But I have a job I love (if sometimes stressful!), a string of friends from many different countries and I lead a much more fulfilling life.
The strangest thing is going back to England to visit my family. Even though I go for only a few days at a time, it makes me extremely anxious and agitated and I honestly could not tell you why. I have thought in great depth about this for a long time now and still I have no logical answer. I even joke that Prague is my bubble, my safe place! I feel a sense of belonging here that I never felt in Britain.
After all this, I still cant think of what to say when I am asked that dreaded question, but maybe if they read this article they may understand a little better. I'm quite sure I'm not alone in having these feelings, although most people I meet usually have a concrete reason as to why they left their home country. But for now, instead of pouring over the unknown, I shall concentrate more on how happy I am that I made that important decision to move here.