None of those times had a specific plan in my head, but I knew I had to.2010 – It’s when it all started. Out of the blue, I decided to end 29 cozy years of life in Romania, packed 2 suitcases, and swore to never go back. Ok, I go back every year to see my family and friends. But what’s done is done, and there is no turning back.
Just to highlight – I will never deny my roots and beginnings as I am who I am today (and I am grateful!) because of where I grew up and because of what my parents taught me. 100%. But being connected to my natal land was not an option anymore at some point in my life. There was so much more to explore out there. And If I can, you can do it too, no doubt about it.
On September 6, 2010, I landed in Berlin, Germany. I didn’t know anyone.
It was hell: the first 12 months, I was depressed, angry, and confused, and I had enormous difficulties adapting to a very different culture than mine as German people are colder and coyer. My job saved me as it was very exciting and I’ve met some people because I was dancing salsa and my job was connected to that.
It was also my first time living in shared accommodation.
First time to be kicked out after 3 months with 2 days’ notice because I refused to pay for increased ridiculous rent.
It was the first time I learned how to use a washing machine (I was 29!!!), change my bedsheets, and pay bills. You can laugh. I am, and I thought it was a big deal at that time … at 29, I was finally growing up.
After being thrown out from the first apartment, I slept for 2 months on the couch of a girl that I met at the salsa studio.
Fell in love with one of my salsa students who had a girlfriend but promised me the world. He dumped me after a few months, and I couldn’t leave the bed for 3 days.
Shortly after, I moved and shared a lovely apartment in an “altbau” (old building dating from the first WW period) in West Berlin with a super nice Russian girl. Unfortunately, after 2 years, she told me she wanted to live alone, but luckily I found my own amazing place where I stayed for another 2 years before the next big move.
In 2013 due to the fantastic job in Germany, I traveled with my wonderful boss, who is still one of my best friends, to Abu Dhabi. One of those days, we visited Dubai for a couple of hours.
We didn’t have time to see much: we went to Palm Jumeirah, Burj Khalifa, Souk Madinat for lunch and a bit of shopping in Dubai Mall.
I was mesmerized by the beauty of this city, the magnitude, and its sparkle.
Coming back to Germany, there was already a seed planted in my brain that slowly but surely brought me where I am today. Initially, my mind only found obstacles. I was thinking, “What could I ever possibly do in Dubai”? “How could I find a job there”? “Who would ever hire me”? – like, omg, our mind can be our best friend or enemy at the same time. Another year passed, and I didn’t think about it much, even though Dubai was still in my heart.
At the same time, even though I was traveling a lot due to my job, it was difficult to bear if I was more than 2 weeks in Berlin. With all the nice friends I had, I was bored to death. That place where I imagined staying forever and building a life well, I was releasing more and more that was never my cup of tea.
In May 2014, I traveled back to the UAE, and my boss and I booked a whole week.
4 nights were allocated to Dubai and 3 to Fujairah to promote our work at a salsa festival there.
In a few words, I had the time of my life. Due to my salsa job and global community that I was already in for around 6 years, I already knew some people and met more while I was there, and the time spent, especially in Dubai, was unforgettable.
When I had to leave, I had tears in my eyes.
The truth is, and I will not talk much about it, I also met someone that twisted my mind.
So we started some sort of long-distance dating. I went back to Berlin, and he was in Dubai. I came back 2 times to see him, and whenever I had to leave Dubai, my heart was broken. In August 2014, we also broke up.
And right after it clicked – I was like ok – This is it – I am moving to Dubai anyway. Not for him, BUT for me.
A marathon of finding a job started for the next 3 months. Nothing worked, and no calls back, only several written rejections and plenty of unanswered emails.
In Nov 2014, I said to myself, If I don’t buy that ticket, I will end up in a place that makes me feel miserable, and time will just fly. I was 33.
That was the second time that I confidently bought the second one-way ticket. And I didn’t think about it much, and I just knew Berlin it’s a closed chapter for me and that Dubai is a new one that waits for me to start fresh.
I had no idea what I would do, but all that was going through my mind – “I have some savings, I will sell my furniture, and I will figure it out.”
My ticket was for April 18, 2015, and perhaps the Universe has a way of settling things because, in January 2015, I found a job and a place to stay. By the way, that job that I had for 8 months was the worst ever. I am laughing when I think about it now, but I was crying and being in physical and mental pain at that time.
And here I am, living in Dubai for the last 6 years+. I got to know this country to its core. I have been through hell and heaven. But I am still here, and I love love love it.
And just for the record, wherever you live, it will always be plus and minus, no matter what. Dubai is not perfect, but it’s special and so unique.
I have just reached my 40s now, and I sometimes wonder If I could buy another one-way ticket. My brain says no, and I would not start again from zero and go through all that hassle again, plus Dubai is literally “home away from home.” But you never know …
My Advice For You
Don’t Overthink. Once You Feel That You Have To Move, Just Buy That Ticket. Really.
And If you don’t feel it or are in doubt, there will be a right moment if it is meant for you to do it.
I guess doing what I did was my own personal way of conquering my fears and pushing me to the limit. And I am proud of it.
If you do it, is it going to be hard? Hell yeah! Especially if you will be on your own. Will you survive? Oh yeah! Worst-case scenario, you can still go back home, but for me personally, this was never an option.
Will you test your limits and grow as an individual? A lot, you have no idea.
Have you ever bought a one-way ticket and thrown yourself out there?