Speaking of Settling. . .

A few weeks in, and I feel a bit like I’ve sunk. I’m not sad per se, or confused per se, I’m just exhausted. The word “weary” comes to mind. I think the whirlwind of the last few months has caught up with me, and I can feel its weight as I go through my days.

I call it a kind of “extreme jet-lag.”

There is a manic cloud that consumes you right before you move, and an international move whips up this cloud to a hurricane. It pushes you from task to task (AND THERE ARE SO MANY TASKS) that you just run and run and run to the finish line.

You cross that line, and the hurricane subsides, and the sun comes out! The glorious sun! You’re through the hard part! Rejoice throughout the land!

And then, reality hits.

A temporary stint in a foreign country is different because it’s just that–temporary and you adopt a vacation mentality (in that it’s all an adventure and you can endure anything for the short-term.)

But when it’s permanent, you’ll realize that your world has shrunk and expanded all at the same time. You alternately are alone on an island of your own making and drowning in a sea of newness. (Note: Symptoms include spending 20 minutes in the cereal aisle at Waitrose trying to choose something for breakfast, not knowing where in the world women in the UK buy mid-range shoes, prefacing almost every question asked outside your family with, “I’m sorry. I may not understand this because I just moved here, but can I ask you a question?”)

This will pass, I know. I will make a happy permanent home here.

Of course, you can feel free to armchair analyze, but this isn’t depression or regret. Even so, it’s still something real, and I’ve given myself permission to let it sit with me for a while.

I think it’s ok to rest after a long, long run.


5 thoughts on “Speaking of Settling. . .

  1. O.K. been there, done that more than a few times. It’s basically culture shock. Even though it’s the same language, it’s very different then where you just moved away from. They don’t do things the same and the food packaging is all different too! Arrgh! 🙂

    You might even have a few melt downs over benign things, but give yourself a break. You DID just move there. it takes a good year (or dare I say two?) to really get some traction under yourself. But each week it gets better and pretty soon you are whizzing through he cereal isle!

    xoxo – Annie

  2. It’s totally culture shock! I think it just took me by surprise because I thought re-entry would be easier this time around having lived here for several months last year.

    The school debacle really hit me hard–it brought into sharp focus the steep learning curve ahead. (Well, that and every time I try to make sense of the editorial page in The Guardian.)

    I remember a similar time from when we first moved to New Jersey (just from Baltimore!) Z was just three months old, and I remember spending a day running errands, where everything was new and unfamiliar. I was shockingly exhausted at the end of the day. I thought then, “This is why Z sleeps so much! She’s exhausted from just figuring this new world. For babies, it’s like you relocate in a new city every day.”

    So, I guess we can conclude: a) I’m pooped, b) I’m like a baby, and c) I, too, will grow up.

    Thanks for your kind words. 🙂

  3. I’ve been there, too, and it *is* culture shock, and it *will* pass. Give yourself some time to do something restful, perhaps by yourself, even. And do something familiar or that downplays the cultural differences. And cut yourself some slack.

  4. And do keep blogging about these things if it helps. Just wanted to let you know I’ve really enjoyed reading the blog so far and especially appreciate your willingness to blog the non-glamorous, day-to-day side of things. It would be really easy just to post fabulous pictures and say “Look at me! I’m in London!” but your blog is SO much more interesting than that! Thank you!

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