I know people have transferred their lives through far greater changes than this. Moving from the UK to the US is hardly considered complex by the standards of modern life. And let us be clear, there are people who are, at this very moment, undergoing enormously harder life changes that this.
I understand that, and I look at where I’m at and think I should just relax and enjoy it. And in some moments I do, but I’ve not yet really relaxed into it. Most days still feel like my brain is trying to absorb every single thing that surrounds me.
It doesn’t help that I’ve got a driver’s test approaching, so when I’m driving I keep switching in to ‘driving test mode’ to try and make sure that all the bad habits of 20 years of driving don’t make me fail. I’ve also not yet had any good luck on the job front. Although it is, obviously, Christmas and the New Year period, but job wise I’m still lacking.
And it turns out I don’t particularly enjoy being a ‘kept woman’. I mean, Kathryn is being wonderful, as always. But I really don’t like that I’m not bringing anything in to the household. And yes, yes, it’s only been a bit over a week and a half. And yes, most of that week was Christmas, and I have done some applying for jobs. But still. On the plus side, I’ve volunteered at a clinic, and am going there for induction soon. Which will at least get my skills being used a little and keep me from becoming completely rusty.
It nags at me though, and makes me feel uncomfortable about me spending any money. Which is hard, because there are many nice shops in Olympia. Lots of lovely bookshops, and coffee shops, and eateries.
Thankfully, it’s not actually terribly easy for me to spend money because with no social security number I can’t open a bank account. So I’ve still only got my UK bank account which I’m trying not to really use.
Anyhow, ignoring the whinging, it has actually been a lovely Christmas. It’s been filled with perhaps an ennui, or some degree of melancholy because I’m not going to see my mother – and I think this is the first Christmas, ever, in my life, where I’ve not gone to see my mother at some point in the Christmas / New Year period. On top of which, she’s not entirely well at the moment, making me feel even worse about it than I might have done. Sorry, that was more whinging.
What I intended to talk about was how very, very lucky I do feel. Because from this distance it seems our friends seem to have landed and been more or less dumped into the everyday life of America, without quite the level of support that we’ve received. At every turn we’ve been so generously supported by family and friends. We’ve had more of a social life than we probably ever had in Bristol. Whisked out for dinners and drinks… Introduced to people who might help. Cheerfully greeted by old friends keen to catch up.
Christmas Eve we slipped over to Kathryn’s Dad’s house, spent the evening chatting, eating delicious food, and introducing them to Christmas crackers… Then Christmas day was spent relaxing at Kathryn’s mom’s house with yet more yummy food, more christmas crackers and us breaking out Gubs – which continues to prove popular.
It does all feel odd though. I know, intellectually, it’s not a holiday. And more and more it feels unlike a holiday…as the day-to-day takes hold and the tedium of job applications grips me. It also feels slightly like home, because I’ve visited Kathryn’s family and friends several times over the years, so Olympia is familiar to me. I can’t navigate, because my map of Oly is so sketchy, but a lot of the shops and spaces are places I’ve been.
Which all leaves me feeling odd. Slightly out of place, as it were. Which I assume will settle down. Hopefully soon.