Rajini Manian, Founder and CEO, Global Adjustments
What could be more exciting than moving to a new city? Or more confusing? You've got a million 'To Do' lists and a zillion grand-aunts and cousins, friends and neighbours offering advice. You've packed your your curry leaf powder and your clothes; you've googled to within an inch of your new apartment and you've even e-met your colleagues. But are you really ready? Our checklists often cater only to physical needs. So here's a heart and soul checklist.
Find A Substitute 'Blanket'
Only when we're plucked from familiar surroundings do we realise what we took for granted. When I moved to the US, I was strangely disoriented. It took a while to realise I missed my Sunday visit to the Datta Mandir near my Mumbai home; it gave structure to my week. So I looked around for something similar and found a Buddhist gathering. Figure out what your comfort blanket is before leaving and try to find a substitute in your new world.
Word It Right
No matter where you're headed, memorising phrases in the local language takes little time. I was in Malta this year, and knowing to say "Bon jo Saha", a greeting for "good health", was a great connect. I learnt the trick from an American who memorised "shudh Hindi" phrases before visiting India. Locals scrambled desperately to decipher his accent but they appreciated his genuine attempt to blend and he won brownie points for it.
Celebrate and Participate
It seems truly baffling to us when someone doesn't know Shah Rukh Khan even after living here for two years. When you move, learn the local sports talk, figure out what they discuss at parties, read about upcoming festivals. You'll get drawn into their world.
Be A Boy Scout
As a vegetarian I knew Japan would be hard. So I psyched myself into thinking I enjoyed raw leaves and rice with no spice! How pleasantly surprised I was to discover udon noodles with Japanese powders and chutneys. John Nicholson a New Zealander has a similar story. "When I was moving to India I multiplied the sheep with people times several in my mind's eye and now I'm not overwhelmed even by crowds at VT Station!" The moral of these stories- be prepared (for the worst)! Moving to a new country is about focussing on similarities and appreciating differences. Pack a sense of humour and laugh at yourself; it chases away the darkest of relocation blues.