My place in Columbus, December 2011.
The 28th of June marked my 6 month anniversary of living in the UK. And in accordance with the cliche, time flies when you’re having ______! I wouldn’t necessarily say that these first 6 months have been particularly “fun” or superbly magical, by any means, but they haven’t been bad either. Well, the first two were kind of bad, actually. But it’s been uphill since then! Words that would better describe this time in my life, particularly those first couple of months: frustrating,enriching, humbling, educational, heartbreaking, taxing, love-filled, isolating….
So obviously the number one part of this whole journey, the reason it had to happen this way, has been getting to be with Jon. We have a life together now, and that is something that took a long time to accomplish and which I would never wish to change, not for all the accessible sunshine and Mexican food in the world. So whether I have the perfect job, a high salary, new friends, or not-we are together and that is the awesomest of awesomes. This is why I’m here. And that’s great. And as for everything else…
Well. It’s getting better. It really is. I’ve had a steady job since the end of March, which means the past several months have had paychecks from both of us. Which is great news! And I’ve even become comfortable at my job. It’s challenging and rewarding, at times frustrating, and it always keeps me on my toes. The days go quickly. The kids and adults that I teach are, for the most part, wonderful and funny. And I’m making friends-the other teachers are lovely and friendly and last Thursday we all went for drinks. It was a poignant moment for me-going out with a group of people that I know and enjoy chatting with, and that Jon has never even met. Sitting in a pub with a circle that is my own. I have a little independent life happening again, and I am grateful for that. My soul is grateful for that.
There are still moment’s when I get homesick. Yearning for the hot weather and blazing sunshine of an Ohio summertime. My favorite restaurants. My favorite people! And I don’t think that will ever go away. But I am dealing with it in myriad ways. Just becoming more comfortable here is helping a lot. Making this a real home. But also figuring out what I miss the most and how to make it happen here, or how to get enough of it (whatever it may be) to ration me out over the long term and the yearly visits back Stateside. For example-I hate the English summertime. I’ll admit it. It’s not hot, it’s barely sunny. case in point-tomorrow’s forecast is 70% chance of rain and a high of 60F. 60! What is this??So maybe hate is a strong word, but….I really dislike it most of the time. When it’s nice, it’s still not as nice as I want it to be, and then it goes away. That’s my fault, maybe, the emotional response to weather that doesn’t meet my exacting standards, but I don’t see this bit of my desires changing any time soon. So from now on we are going to try to make one of our annual trips back to Ohio coincide with the summertime, sometime between June and August. This way we’ll have a couple weeks/a month of heat and sun and all that goes with it every year, and I can look forward to that.
As for food-well, the sad hunt for delicious Mexican continues. And I have also found a shop that sells Ranch dressing, when that craving strikes. And an American Diner which I have only been to once but where I have made plans to attend for dinner on the 4th of July, as a good American citizen abroad should do. So I’m doing okay. I didn’t think food would be as much of a homesickness trigger as it is. For the most part I don’t think of it. And then I’m like “I’ll make some cornbread to go with my black bean chilli” and then no store anywhere has cornmeal and I freak out and my head explodes. And I do miss the bounty of fresh summer fruits and veggies! Turns out, the berries and other seasonal produce that grow here just aren’t that big. I didn’t really think of it. And now it’s July and I’ve barely eaten any strawberries, or blueberries, and not nearly enough raspberries…and we’re still getting apples in our CSA. Weird. But England has it’s own seasonal offerings as well, which I plan to get more familiar with in the coming months and years.
So anyway, the past six months have been a real learning experience. I have felt challenged and alone, loved and appreciate, and I have felt my relationships all shift on their axis, some for good and some for….not so great. I don’t know what will happen in the next six months. But I think it will be better than this recent past, and I optimistically look forward to seeing what’s going to happen. Onward and upward, keep on truckin’, all that business, you know? Here’s to the next six months of my fish out of water, American-in-England life.