General Question

_zen_'s avatar

Have you ever made an extreme geographical move - and how did you adapt to the new climate, culture and perhaps even language?

Asked by _zen_ (7804 points ) June 3rd, 2011

If you don’t mind saying, from where to where.

Was it easier or harder than you thought?

Did your age, or whom you moved with factor in?

How about financially – was that a determiner?

Do you have any interesting, funny or educational anecdotes about your move – or new dwelling?

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23 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I have moved too many times to count in my life. I moved from the South of the US to Japan as a university student a long time ago. I was intrigued by the novelty at first, but culture shock did set in after a while. I had to adjust. The place is crowded and they simply don’t do things the same way. The experience opened my mind and my heart. It helped me grow in so many ways. I returned home a totally different person.

jonsblond's avatar

I was going into my junior year of high school when I moved from the desert of Las Vegas to the cornfields of central Illinois. Children of the Corn was a big movie at the time. I was terrified. I really hated it.

That was 24 years ago. I now live on a farm with corn, wheat and soybeans in western Illinois. I love it and could never imagine living in the desert again.

Funny how life works sometimes.

Vunessuh's avatar

I’ve never made an extreme geographical move distance wise, but my only move was from Northern California to Southern California and there were some pretty big differences. The climate was definitely warmer year round in SoCal. The air quality wasn’t as fresh and clean, the traffic was a lot worse and the people weren’t as friendly. On the upside, there’s a lot more to do in Los Angeles and there was better opportunity for me considering the career I chose. I moved at 18 and I was fortunate enough to adjust pretty well and I think that’s mainly because I was so focused on my goals. I didn’t allow myself a lot of time to be shocked or homesick. Although, I lived with some pretty whacky people in SoCal and experienced some setbacks and hardships, I also experienced some wonderful things and living out there for 4 years made me a lot stronger, but I sure love NorCal a lot more.

sakura's avatar

I moved from the uk to new zealand we decided we would go in the march and moved everything car motorbikes we even shipped the dog over, that september!! It was life changing. We only lasted 12months though as we missed family soooo much. I will never regret what we did as the experience brought us even closer together as a family unit as we only had each other out there! But when 2 of your sisters decide to have babies and your sister in law joins in too , you crave family and all the good news anda celebrations!!

rooeytoo's avatar

I went from east coast USA to Sydney Australia. The biggest surprise was although we all speak english, aussies have their own version of it and I didn’t know what anyone was talking about for the longest time. Sometimes I still don’t and I have been here 12 years now. I also was amazed at how quickly you could be out of the city and into areas so vast and uninhabited it almost gave me agoraphobia. But I loved it and have done my best to fit in. Then we moved to a small town in southern Queensland and that was a big change. I had lived in or close to cities all 50 some years of my previous life but Brisbane was only 2.5 hours away plus I was living on the ocean which was always my dream. From there we moved literally to the middle of nowhere, the Northern Territory. It was almost a 3 hour drive to the closest city (using the term loosely) so if you needed a dentist or the dogs needed to see a vet or you wanted to buy anything except basic groceries that was the drive I faced. Also during the wet, we were sometimes isolated for days on end, could not go anywhere! Now we could have been choppered out in case of emergency but it was still a pretty unbelievable experience for someone who grew up in an area where you can barely drive 5 minutes before you hit the next town with supermarkets and stores of all kinds! That area was also extremely difficult for me to cope with because the incidence of alcoholism and other social problems was so in my face. I had kids who showed me the scars they bore from drunken parents, kids beg for food and for me, almost equally as difficult to see, starving dogs everywhere, having more pups that would die from starvation because mom didn’t have enough food to make milk. I must say these conditions are not the fault of the government, it does not have to be that way, it is the way some people choose to live. Now after 6 years in that environment we are once again living in a big town or small city with access to everything I could want. We fly to Sydney and Melbourne occasionally for business and live where it is always warm by lunchtime.

My age and family situation (no children, parents dead and only 1 brother left) aided my ability to pick up and move to the other side of the world.

This feels like home now, I cannot see any situation that would induce me to move back to the USA, I don’t really even have a great desire to go back to visit. Too many places on this side of the world that I have yet to visit. (@hawaii jake – one of these days, we will head your way!)

Hibernate's avatar

I tried to move but my health did not approve.
I like to think that I’m able to adapt fast [ a few months or so ] though I cannot know for sure since i did not move completely only trips [ longest lasted 1 year ]

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

I moved from Zambia to Iceland 5 years ago. I was very excited about it because that was my first ever step in an air plane. I flew alone because my mother had already been here and getting my VISA slowed me down from flying the same day as mom. First I flew to London and then Keflavík. And that very same day that I was flying to London there had been a bomb scare either in some plane or the airport I am not very sure.
The move was pretty ecstatic considering that its from a hot zone to a cold one. I was so happy to see the Sahara desert. It was so beautiful. It was so strange thinking about it that this little country is sounded by the Atlantic Ocean. The first time that I saw the sea I was so scared because I am so afraid of deep water. I tasted the salty water and all that jazz. It was quite an experience.
In case some of you don’t know Icelandic is one of the most difficult languages in the word. I think its true, most nordic languages are pretty hard but similar to each other. I am very quick learner so I speak Icelandic fluently; I even speak better than the owners of the country. The first months were very difficult for me in school because the kids at school (mostly icelanders) were not very nice. They are racists. And racism is something that needs to be changed in this country. People are not very open minded.

Again last year I moved to Denmark for 5 months. There is was so much fun, people were different, open minded, nice. Then language itself is STRANGE! If you’ve never heard a Dane speak then you better do so on YOUTUBE they are like the weirdest people speaking of all the nordic languages. I like Denmark better than Iceland because there is a variety of all sorts of different stores to shop at and such. While in Iceland there is no McDonalds or H&M. I dislike Iceland because EVERYONE dresses the same… like literally.
Money wise, we didn’t have any troubles since my mum had already settled in before I came.

chewhorse's avatar

I moved from Texas to Utah.. The weather was much nicer with nary one heat wave (like Texas) but I couldn’t find anybody up here who could speak texonese so I had to adapt to their language.. (still retain the drawl though).

jeleia's avatar

I was born in New Zealand and moved to Australia as a teen. Then in my 20s I moved to London, England for 2 years. There are things that are different about all these places to each other but there are things the same, too. I love travelling and seeing new places. On the not so good side I now find it hard to settle in one place. When I came back to Australia I met a guy from Ireland who was here for a year. After his visa finished I went back with him and stayed there for 2.5 years and we got married. Now we are back in Australia again but who knows for the future! The people in all the other countries were great, in England/Ireland the biggest shock was the weather. It is so much colder there than where I live in Australia. I recommend everyone to travel if you can! :-)

cazzie's avatar

I moved BIG twice in my life. and I’m having such a bad day today I can’t even really talk about it.

SofaKingWright's avatar

I moved from the South USA to the UK to do an undergraduate degree in law. It is cold here, even in June. The weather is very depressing, and for the most part people have a lot less motivation than they do in the States. I have been here for about five years. It has helped me grow as a person, but I am looking forward to going home. Leaving has helped me appreciate the country I’m from.

JLeslie's avatar

I have always lived in the US, but have moved several times. My move from Maryland to Michigan for school was pretty easy, no big adjustment, except I really do not enjoy such a harsh winter. We were on trimesters, and one winter I took off, and lived back home, trading it for a summer session.

After freezing cold Michigan I moved to Florida. I loved it! The first couple of months was like being on vacation. Even once I started working, free time, any free time, was like being on vacation. Palm trees, clear blue skies and sunshine just feel like vacation to me, it never wears off. The people are mostly from the northeastern US, and so I fit in culturally very easily. There are more older people there, and I liked them a lot too. When I was in my 20’s they were very nurturing towards me. But, also lots of us young ones (now I am not so young) going out, having fun. I miss it.

My hardest move was to Raleigh, NC. I never felt like I fit in there, never felt very settled.

When I moved to Memphis, TN the first few weeks were very difficult. I was depressed, cried a lot. I didn’t expect to be so emotional. I had never been so accutely sad during a move. I didn’t hate Memphis, I just was so upset about what I was leaving. My job, my friends, my palm trees, the lifestyle. My biggest dislike of Memphis is the housing and communities. Where I live it is beautiful. My house is in the woods, French country style, all brick, really lovely, and all the surrounding area is similar. But, I hate the floor plan, and basically all the floorplans are alike where I live. The three things of wants on the top of my list for my house I did not get. The subdivisions don’t have pools and gyms and I really miss that (my subdivision is one of the few that does have a pool, but it is crazy small, full off children, should be in someones backyard, not for 400 homes). Also the crime is a little too violent and close for comfort. However, my husband loves his job, and my neighbors to the immediate left and right of me are wonderful. It’s a mixed bag to say the least. If we had built our own house I think I would have been much happier. An annoyance here is some of the cultural differences. I am frustrated quite often by customer service oriented things, I guess maybe I come off abrasive? Or, they are just total idiots, not sure. I never noticed this in other cities like I do here. And, the politics and religion here can be annoying, too conservative.

MissAnthrope's avatar

‘Extreme geographical move’—pretty much sums up my life.. divorced parents, solo cross-country travel at a very young age (5? 7? can’t remember), living in vastly different places every year or two. Really, it’s no wonder I was such a nomad over the past 10 years. Funnily enough, people seem surprised at my lack of being settled down. I don’t really know anything else!

It takes time and acclimation, but I can pretty much adapt to wherever I am at the moment. Sometimes it takes a week or two, sometimes it takes a month or more. It’s all about observation, observation, observation. Then, dipping a toe in here and there and testing the waters. Then, after a while, you just have it.

Anyway, I personally love this, which is why I would love to be a travel writer or, like, an ethnologist. I love being immersed in new places, people, things, etc. and learning everything from the ground up.

cazzie's avatar

I moved from Wisconsin, to New Zealand and now live in Norway. Pretty big moves? Yeah. Easy? No.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie You are American?

cazzie's avatar

@JLeslie not really… just happened to have been born there.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie Got it. I had always been under the impression you were not American, so Wisconsin threw me.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I’ve recently have considered moving to a much warmer state than where I am at now but that has been put on hold.
I eventually will do that though,just not sure when.It will be an interesting adjustment,but I think I can handle it.;)
I will miss the snow.

Jeruba's avatar

I moved from the East Coast of the U.S. to the West, not out of preference but for the sake of true love. Northern California was so radically different from Massachusetts that it might as well have been a different country but for the language (and even that was different in a number of ways). I thought often of Ruth, who “sick for home/ ... stood in tears amid the alien corn.” Until then I hadn’t truly realized how deeply rooted I was in the culture and physical character of the Northeast.

It took me three long years to begin to adjust. Only when I took an interest in a fledgling repertory theatre and began to do some volunteer work there did I start to feel a commitment to my new community. Even now, more than three decades later, my ties to “home” are still strong. In dreams I’m most often back there; I hardly ever dream of where I live now.

Here are some answers to a very similar question.

flutherother's avatar

I moved from the West coast of Scotland to the Southern United States (and back again). The climate in the States is lovely most of the year but too hot in summer for me. I missed the variety of weather in Scotland where every day is different and I missed the cool fresh air. I even grew nostalgic for Scottish rain.

Scotland is hilly whereas Alabama is flat. You can drive for miles without seeing a hill break the horizon. I missed the Scottish mountains.

Otherwise it was a very smooth transition, the people there didn’t seem very different from the Scots and they were easy to get to know. They have the same attitude to northerners that we have towards the English and that felt familiar.

America was very car oriented and I was surprised at just how essential a car is for daily living as doctors, dentists, shops, services, restaurants are widely scattered. I can walk to all these places from my home in Scotland.

mattbrowne's avatar

Moved from Germany to Kansas in 1988. I knew very hot weather from Egypt, but that was without the humidity. For the first time in my life I experienced 104 F with 90% humidity. And realized one cannot study or work without an air conditioner. For the first time in my life I also experience 0 F with a wind chill subtracting another 30 degrees. In Germany the very concept of wind chill in the winter didn’t exist. But I managed. Humans can adapt.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I moved from the beauty and world-at-your-fingertips city of San Francisco to Arizona which is like a purgatory to torture me for all my past deeds.

perspicacious's avatar

I just moved from Alabama to Washington State. I love the cooler climate and am finally with my fella.

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