Like the beginning of any romantic relationship there is a honeymoon period when moving abroad; you can’t wait to get there and when you do you spend all your time getting to know this new place, everything is an adventure, everything is a first and you can’t wait to tell all your friends about it.
Our first three days in Philadelphia were definitely just like that however I think the weeks following were quite different to what you would expect. As we were unable to find an apartment that was available straight away we moved on to live in an Extended Stay Hotel until our new home became available. Our temporary accommodation was located in Delaware as this was significantly cheaper than Philly so the exploring and discovering of our new city was put on hold.
Living in a hotel with a free breakfast, an onsite gym and someone to clean your room each day is pretty cool to begin with but four weeks in and you’re waiting in line for the toaster every morning (wearing your pyjamas under your clothes with matching bed hair. Ahum.) and still living out of a suitcase rotating the same pair of shorts and five t-shirts – not so much. As I waved Ian off (that’s a lie – I merely grunted from under the duvet) to his first morning at work it was my first day of being alone in this brand new place, excited to discover Delaware and share with Ian what I had found I walked to reception asking for any recommendations on where to go. The receptionist replied with a few words/sentences but I think what he actually meant to say was “nowhere”.
Unfortunately I found the only walk able ‘attractions’ from the hotel was a supermarket, a couple of discount shops, a bank and some restaurants. Another problem I faced was the lack of pavements (or side walks if your American). The hotel was located on a main road and to get anywhere I had to run across four lanes of traffic, walk on the grass alongside it and proceed to dodge my way through car parks whilst getting questionable looks from people in their cars…walking? You fool! There was an OK mall about a 5 minute taxi journey away but there’s only so many times you can wander around pottery barn drooling over Chenille** throws and reclaimed wood coffee tables you can’t afford before being labelled as suspicious (let me tell you, Rachel Green must have been rollin’ in it).
I was feeling a little embarrassed as friends and family back home were asking what exciting things I was getting up to whilst Ian was at work and that they were looking forward to seeing my photos… I don’t think they were expecting a photo of four magnolia walls and whatever re-run was showing on E! Entertainment. This was not how I pictured the beginning of our new life.
A short break (for me)…
After being in America a few weeks Ian was due to travel to Dallas for a conference and luckily I had the chance to tag along – he spent the days working whilst I was free to explore the city and sunbathe by the pool. I would then meet him and his colleagues each evening for some seriously good food (steak, steak, burger, steak) and equally as good wine. After a few weeks of only speaking to myself, Ian and answering endless questions from strangers about where I was from it felt great to socialise with other people, finding out about their lives and what was happening outside of our current bubble.
Returning to Delaware we were back to our new found routine within the four walls of the hotel room but the thought that we only had one week to go before our new home in Philly was ready kept me feeling positive. Weirdly, as we checked out of the hotel on our last day we both felt a little sad and realised we had grown a fondness for the hotel and our lives there.
And then I remembered the time I found a beetle in the bed and a spider crawled on my face. Game-CHANGER.
**I don’t know what this means either – I’m just pretending.