We have been in America for six months, Beyonce still hasn’t called, and I’ve gained half a stone. What are we even doing here, really?
We have been in Philadelphia for five of those months and time is flying by. I feel like I have been a bit slower than most at settling in, making friends and just doing ‘things’, but I think I’ve finally got it together. For the most part, anyway.
If I’m honest, it is only recently that I have started to feel settled and happy here. Before moving we were warned by a friend, who had once been in a similar situation, that it would be exciting and fun, but it would also be very hard at times, particularly for me as I was not working. Ian was told to watch out for the twelve week mark, when realisation would hit, I would want to go home, and tears would probably be involved. And we all know how much men hate a crying woman.
As predicted, this is exactly what happened. Once all the jobs that come with moving home/country were complete I wasn’t sure what to do next, so I decided crying was the way to go. I repeated this every few weeks, I told Ian I wanted to move back to Leeds, I moaned I didn’t fit in, that I missed home, and all I wanted to do was console myself with a king size bar of Dairy Milk chocolate.
One Saturday morning after my scheduled cry Ian asked me what would make me happy, what would my ‘ideal’ be. My automatic response was I wanted to go back to Leeds, back to our safe normal lives, however I realised ideally I wanted to be happy in America. I wanted to make the most of this opportunity, enjoy being here, and most importantly stay with Ian. We agreed that if I felt the same by the time Christmas came around, we would think properly about what we wanted to do.
I knew that I wasn’t going to leave America and move back home early, I wouldn’t let myself do that, but I wasn’t convinced I’d be loving life by that point either. However, I was wrong. I still have the odd hissy fit, but they usually end in laughter rather than tears (or both if I’m feeling particularly hysterical), and I’m definitely less of a moody cow to live with. I think. I wouldn’t go as far to say I love everything about our lives here, but I do love parts of it, which I think is very normal and healthy.
I love that we get to travel and see new places, I love the variety of things to do close by, the large number of bars and restaurants to try, I love the weather (so far), I love the food, I love the relaxed way of living, I love the cheaper clothes, I love American Netflix, and I even think I’m starting to love not working.
I also love that we are going to New York in less than a month and it is only a two hour drive away. WHAAAAAT.
Not being able to work has been one of the biggest changes for me, admittedly sometimes I love it, and sometimes I hate it. I think it will always be this way for the two years we are here, however I am starting to realise the things I do like about it.
I like that I can sleep for that extra half hour, that I can go to the gym classes in the morning, that I can go for a run before breakfast, I like that in the winter I will actually get to see some light during the day, I like that I have time to do things I want to do, I have time to draw, cook, write, plan our wedding! and I like that if it’s raining I don’t have to go outside. Simple. As. That.
I know that I spend too much time on my own, and there is no doubt that I am losing a brain cell a day. I still have days when I don’t know what to do with myself, I get bored, I feel fed up, I miss home, I feel lost and like I’m not really contributing. Sometimes I just can’t be arsed to motivate myself, and want to be paid to get out of bed and not watch Friends re-runs, but those days are few and far between.
I still find some of the cultural differences difficult to adapt to, particularly the social side of things. It is common knowledge that Americans are generally much more forward and direct than Brits, but I’m not sure I was prepared for it to be so obvious. I am used to being asked how I am by strangers in the street, being told to have a great day, and being openly complimented on my hair or clothes by passers by, these are all very nice things about living here. However when in a large group of people, I sometimes find myself feeling overwhelmed and like I don’t fit in.
I think in some ways me and Ian have experienced living in the US from two very different perspectives. Whilst we have both experienced the cultural differences and the overall changes together, I have not experienced what it is like to adapt to working in a new country, and he doesn’t know what it’s like to be the ‘trailing spouse’, as it is called in the Expat world.
That is why this post is written completely from my point of view, I can’t tell you what it is like to take on a new role at work, in a new country, working with new people, and then return home to a women who will not shut up because she hasn’t spoken to anyone for a good nine hours.
But he seems to be doing alright, nonetheless.