8 tips for settling into a new place when you’re unemployed and bored!

Make the most of what you’ve got. One thing I’ve always wanted to do but never could before was to open our home as a BnB!

Thinking of moving overseas but get a bit scared at the thought of actually doing it? You have every right to feel that way – it does take guts!

You just have to accept that you’re going to have some hard times, and to find ways of dealing with uncertainty and being the ‘new kid on the block’.
I hate doing nothing when I have no other choice. Don’t get me wrong, I actually love doing nothing sometimes, but I prefer to call that relaxing (in a bubble bath). I also detest feeling helpless, which is easy to experience if you don’t understand the common tongue. I really admire those people who move to another country to begin a new life, not knowing the native language or English. Uncertainty. Stress. Fragility. These were the feelings I knew that I would experience but wanted to contain as much as possible when moving here.

It’s difficult to manage sometimes, though. I’m under no illusions about my circumstances. I’m no longer a uni student on exchange. I have a ‘real life’ to lead!

So what have I done to settle in so far? I’ve entered combat mode. I still look outside my window in wonder of the gorgeous view, but one can’t just keep looking outside forever! I’ve chosen to share my experiences because I know that I’m not the only one to go through what I’m feeling. This is how I’m coping so far with the newness of all, and if you have more tips, please share.

Things to do when you’re unemployed in a new home and bored. (It could also be called tips from a lonely expat housewife…which I hope never to identify with! haha). 

  1. Write a list. Cross off the list as you complete it. Lists give you a sense of purpose and drive for your day. Don’t know what you’re going to do today? Write a list out and include washing clothes, buying groceries and researching for two hours for employment everyday as a to-do. Accept that it’s ok to feel satisfaction for having achieved these mundane things, because not every day can be filled with life changing moments.
  2. Make your home cosy. If you’re going to hang around home for a long time, you might as well make it nice to live in, right? Put that personal touch in that says that you’re here to stay, not here to visit. It changes your mindset completely. Get unpacking. Now. My sweet gave me frozen pizza as a welcoming dinner, but he did manage to make the home more stunning than I had ever hoped for.
  3. Do something you’ve always wanted to do when you never had the time or opportunity. Make this time you have NOW worth it. For example, I always wanted to set up a BnB for travellers passing by before. Something cheaper than an expensive hotel, better than a drunk hostel, but with the homeliness of living with real people. I couldn’t do it in Sydney as I didn’t have the space before, but now the opportunity arises! AirBnB, here I come. The first in Nuuk, too. It probably won’t work out, but that’s not the point.
  4. Network with your network. I asked a Danish guy called Mikkel where one could meet around town if they wanted to get to know other people. He said your workplace was probably the easiest way to meet people, and if not, a bar was the next option. Funny thing is that Nuuk only seems have one or two real bars, and I haven’ t gone there yet =). I’ve got the partner network at least, so that’s a nice start. But start asking the right people about social clubs to join, and you’ll soon find things you want to get involved with.
  5. Volunteer somewhere. Sure, that won’t help you with the finances, but it will help with your sanity, especially if you actually believe in what you’re doing. Whether it’s cleaning puppy cages or helping with a community project, you’ll be creating positive enzymes for your body and you might also learn more about the city you’re in. I’ve just started volunteering with the Red Cross on a fairly large and complicated youth project, and I hope it works out. Only their Facebook page is live at the moment.
  6. Go for a run. Or do any sport. Sport is not only social, it’s healthy. Your body needs exercise. You’ll feel better for it. Not least because you can then eat chocolate with a good conscience.
  7. Set a pattern. Every Thursday, I hope to play volleyball at ‘Mini-Hallen’ in Nuuk. Despite immensely sore arms for days after, it felt great. I played with four capable guys and I was clearly the worst of the lot, but I got to also meet two sweet Inuit Greenlanders. I haven’t really had that many chances to actually talk to the Inuit locals here. Everyone is welcome to join.
  8. And finally, take up every offer you get. If your friend of a friend introduces you to someone over the internet and that local suggests that you meet, don’t be afraid that you’re not going to get along. Just arrange a time and a place. Chances are you might even like them 😉 If not, you will probably learn something you didn’t know anyway.

Two weeks and counting on, Nuuk is feeling more like home now. I’ve gotten into some sort of rhythm, made a few friends, and have become more familiar with the city. But really… it is only two weeks. I’ve got a long stretch ahead of me…

 

6 thoughts on “8 tips for settling into a new place when you’re unemployed and bored!

  1. Pingback: On rainbows and relocating to Greenland | The Fourth Continent

  2. Pingback: The rollercoaster ride that was 2013 | The Fourth Continent

  3. That’s a really good list! You’ve done this before 🙂 The only 2 things I can add is are 1) explore as much as you can. By the time summer comes you should have seen all of Nuuk. Go on tourist trips, like those up the fjord or across to the abandoned villages on the other side of the fjord. Just walk around. And go to any local events, fairs, markets, cultural thingies…whatever.

    And 2) enrol in a language class or classes. Nothing is more important to settling in to a place than speaking the language. Over the years I’ve seen many people come to Sweden from abroad and “bounce”. The problem is almost always one of two things – their partner couldn’t find a job or their social network entirely comprised ex-pats who spent most of the time pining to go home. By learning the language(s) you can break out of this group.

    But beware the ex-pat network. People who move on a 1-2 year contract have a very different attitude to those who are making a new home. They usually spend their leisure hours bitching about the locals and organizing activities that don’t include locals. This is obviously no way to settle in and build a local network! So no matter how tempting it might be to hang out with people who are going through the same thing as you – if they aren’t committed to making it work in the long-term then they are going to only make you unhappy.

    Finally, don’t forget this is new for your partner too. Not just Greenland, but you being there. If he’s doing his job he’s worried about you, in addition to learning new job and a new culture. So look after each other. It is genuinely hard – but entirely possible.

    As for places to meet I had the distinct impression that the cafe in the NW corner of the new shopping centre (ie next to the Cultural Centre) was used for rendezvous of all sorts. In my two visits there I saw people meeting for business chats and others just working on laptops.

    • 8 tips becomes 10! Can I add your two tips to my list? The language one I’d thought about but it slipped my mind. It is a definite must-do, and there are evening classes for fairly cheap too that should be investigated further.

      Thanks also for the reminder that it’s also new for my partner. Greenland is in many ways a strange place for a Dane because of the whole colonialism/localisation thing. I’ve met a few Danes who consider themselves a local of Greenland, and many Greenlanders ready to embrace the Danes and would rather speak Danish. Especially with the election just past, there was a nationalistic fervour which is quite different to the style of nationalism you would see in Australia. All in all it’s very interesting to dig deeper…

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