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26 February, 2014
My name is Molly, a Brit, and expat in the U.S since October 4th 2013. I write a blog called The Move to America, which is about what led up to my big move abroad (the visa process, my long distance marriage), and what my experiences of life here in America has been like.
It certainly has been a learning curve, and I thought I might share a little bit about what it has been like for me after arriving and adjusting to a new life.
I used to live in Cornwall and moved across the ocean to live in Ohio, USA. It was a move that took over four years to realise, so when I arrived, and was reunited with my husband (my reason for moving to America), it was the best feeling in the world. This was the life I had waited patiently for, and now the business of settling in could begin.
The thing that struck me first, was a really odd feeling, as everything was familiar, but ever so slightly different. I had given no consideration at all to the everyday things like buses, washing machines, ovens, door locks, money, lights at pedestrian crossings (the list could go on) that operate or look moderately different to what I was used to. These things are so small really, but they unsettled me at first, as every time I went to use something, it suddenly felt unfamiliar. For a while, this really worried me and made me feel uncertain or nervous. Luckily, I have a very understanding husband and flatmates who are more than happy to explain something, or show me - repeatedly - how something operates. It did not take long to get things sorted out, but it was an unexpected knock to my confidence.
Once that was overcome, it was time to get to know my new local area. I do not drive, so I was shown where I could walk to get a coffee, and got into a routine of getting out every morning to walk around and stop off for a drink. This was a great way to get used to the sights and sounds, and gave me a sense of accomplishment. It was during these walks, however, that I started to miss home. I missed the familiar (again - like I had mentioned before), I missed the Cornish sea views, and I started to miss my family. Luckily, again, I had my husband to reassure me and a wealth of knowledge and experience from all the other expats I had got to know through my blog or expat forums. Advice was shared and I made sure I had some familiar things around me - this mainly involved food, which gave a real sense of home and comfort - and I sorted out video chatting with my loved ones back in the UK. This has, so far, been the tonic to my 'expat blues' or bouts of homesickness.
Now that I have settled in a bit more, I am able to really enjoy my new home. I love the local wildlife parks that are free to visit, the friendliness of most of the people I meet, the willingness to help others out, the curiosity about me and where I am from (I get quite a few exclamations of 'I love your accent' throughout the week), and the sense of community that comes through, especially as we have been experiencing some extreme weather recently. I enjoy the small everyday differences now, and enjoy sharing them with my friends and family.
I still miss the UK, and the people who are there, but it now feels, after nearly six months of being in the U.S, like things are familiar, the differences are now a source of fun and interest, and I am really getting into a routine I can enjoy. I have also learnt that routines can be flexible, and indeed should be, as new life takes many turns and throws things up you may not have expected. It is something of an adventure, and I for one, feel so blessed I get to experience it.
Thank you so much for reading!
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