I’ve been under the weather for about 3 weeks now and after a while it really starts to get to you. Normally I’m in fairly rude health and this most recent stint of illness has made me realise how much I take it for granted that I’m healthy. It’s also made me think about how I really do need to take better care of myself.
This year has been busy, work has been intense at times, good but with no let up and I have travelled a lot. I’ve not had a holiday where I’ve had an entire week off since last Christmas when my in-laws visited. I really need a break to relax properly and give my body a little love.
I’m contemplating a cleanse, I’ve never done one before but with the illness has come very few gym visits and comfort eating so that of course means a slightly more relaxed waistline than I would perhaps like… The next few weeks are crazy busy though, we fly back to the UK for a few days to try and find somewhere to rent, then I have a work project for a week, the following week we head to San Francisco for a few days and throughout this time we also have to sort everything out to move. Fun times.
Still I can’t complain, I’m feeling better, things *are* happening and slowly but surely we’ll get there, one way or another. As a wise friend said recently you have to eat an elephant one bite at a time.
With the move is coming a lot of change. We’ve done this before, admittedly only once, but this time although the same some things are slightly different. As much as change is exciting it is also unsettling. I’m mixed, one day excited the next mildly panicked. Work, housing, friendships, finances all of these things are whirling around and around. I know it will work out in the end somehow and things are falling into place slowly. Things will work out. I’m learning again that I need to bite piece by piece and work on things a little bit at a time. I’m also learning again how important it is to talk about everything. Poor J is having his ear chewed far too much. I process by talking, it helps me work out what I do or don’t want, even if it means I go round and round in circles far too often. Lots to write about once I organise my thoughts.
At church this morning the priest gave a sermon about listening. Really listening to what others are saying and it made me think back to a post Cate had written which to me hit the spot and again made me think about how I listen and how it really is a skill I can continue to improve on.
Part of the reason it struck a chord was because we’re in a situation where we’re having to make decisions and there are a lot of variables and therefore different approaches. I can see myself being guilty of not listening to what I don’t want to listen to. I don’t want to do this I want to listen and then to work through the issues we disagree on and hopefully come to that point where we share the idea going forward.
One suggestion this morning was this technique:
#1: Says what they think
#2: Repeats what #1 said they think
#1: Says what they think
#2: Repeats again
And so on and so forth. When #1 stops talking #2 asks ‘Is there anything more you want to say’ If not then #2 describes to #1 what #1 was saying. It is then #2′s opportunity to say what they want to with the same process, #2 speaks, #1 repeats. I was intrigued by this, intrigued because it sounds like a good idea of a way to talk about a difficult subject without reacting. And by having to repeat back what the other has said really listening to remember and think about what they’re saying rather than thinking about your counter argument.
It’s something I might try but until then I’m going to think about Cate’s bowls and trying to become a right way up no holes bowl. Hopefully in the process achieving a decision and less uncertainty, uncertainty being one thing I really really hate.
One of the things I have struggled with most being here has been making friends. The close friends who you can cry to, who will accept your drunken ramblings and laugh about them later, the friends who you share with, good, bad, inbetween and everything else, those ones. I have met lots of lovely people who are wonderful but it is the leap between acquaintance and friendship which I’m finding really tough right now.
J is a great support, the move has made us closer but sometimes I don’t want to moan to him, or sometimes he’s not quite the right ear for what I want to say, I need a sounding board, someone who is different, gives me different perspectives. I also need female company and women to talk to.
I feel like as a child becoming friends was easier, you naturally met more people, were possibly less set in your ways and you would just ask ‘can I be your friend’. Whereas as an adult I feel like I have been dating friends, to see if they like me and if I like them. There seem to be more mines to avoid, more veneers to crack*.
I think the biggest leap is who to phone. Emailing is fine, meeting for a drink is lovely, a quick text not a problem but having a shit day at work and wanting to tell someone, that I haven’t got (yet, hopefully). So how do I do it?
Probably, I should just take the plunge and call someone. Dive right in and see what happens. So we’ll see, hopefully time will have its part to play in this whole merry-go-round.
*I feel like Americans tend to put on more of a veneer than Brits. They’re friendly, welcoming, sweet and kind, but then beneath that, who knows. I feel like it’s been a hard job cracking through those veneers. But then this is probably a whole other post.
I am a planner, I like knowing what will happen, when and how. I like organising things and being in control. I don’t therefore like when things are beyond my control and I can’t plan. Hence when we were waiting for the visa decision it distressed me not to be able to plan things and have my life being decided by someone else.
I came to terms with it though, even managed to roll with it a little and after however many months of having it hanging over me, relaxed.
The thing is we’re going to get to that point again soon. We have to reapply for visas and so therefore have to try and make decisions now about things we cannot confirm and with variables we have no control over. The truth is that we don’t *have* to make the decisions now, more that I would *like* to feel like I am able to make the decisions now. So I am struggling, struggling to let go again and relax instead of trying to plan the unplannable.
I think perhaps the best plan for now is to focus on the closer things, the new job, a visit from a wonderful friend soon and not being so damn cranky because I can’t plan things, oh and toning up for summer. Now to plan for all of those…
As of yesterday I am officially allowed to work in the USA, woohoo! This is both exciting and terrifying news. Exciting because I can meet new people, get out of the house, earn money and hopefully really experience what it’s like to live here.
Terrifying because that actually means getting a job. Finding something I want to do, can do and in a company that will employ me will not be an easy feat but never say never.
Wish me luck! (or even better if you know someone in Washington DC who is looking for a lovely Brit to come work for them, do let me know)
What do you do?
I’m a wife.
Or at least that’s how I feel the conversation seems to go these days. Which is odd. I hadn’t realised quite how much I took my identity from my job and being able to feel valued because I did something. I’ve been surprised that not having something to answer the question ‘what do you do?’ with has knocked my confidence in myself.
It’s odd confidence, how it manifests itself. At first I started looking more and more critically at my body, the bits I didn’t like, the bits which need to be changed. Squidging parts of me to see how much I could squidge. Then I slowly realised that it wasn’t really my body which I was not confident about but me.
It’s made me think a lot about how we define ourselves, how I define myself, how we let others define us. There is no reason I should feel less confident in who I am because I don’t have a job, can’t have a job, yet I do. In part because I think it’s that nasty feeling of guilt hanging around again.
Guilt that I am not doing anything, not being productive, not contributing financially. Guilt at relying too much on J for all my support.
I know this will change, it already has a little, the heavy guilty feeling on my shoulders is no longer quite so heavy. I’m also hoping that I can feel more confident in telling people I do nothing, I am being a supportive wife to my husband, and hope that that will be enough for me and them.
I always knew the move was going to be a challenge, that with it would be emotions I’d not previously experienced and it would be an opportunity to grow and to learn about me, my husband and my marriage. So far that’s proven true. Since the moment we learnt that this whole idea was real we’ve discussed it and worked out how it would work.
One area which I’ve always been concerned about was finance. Let me give you some background here, J and I have been together 8 years, of those 8 years we have been living together for 5, of those 5 years we’ve had a joint bank account for about 3 years. However our salaries were still paid into our bank accounts and then we paid for shared household expenses into our shared account and it worked. It worked because we were both earning, we’re both good with money, we don’t fritter or spend when we shouldn’t and we both had access to the joint account. This seemed to me a great solution, we earn our own money from which we both contribte to the household account and then everything else we buy for ourselves and you don’t have to worry. If I had spent too much one month that was my problem to sort out and I could go into my savings or pay the credit card fees. Or I didn’t have to feel guilty about buying some news shoes…
Then it changed, I moved to America out of choice, to take advantage of an opportunity I felt it would be foolish to miss. And I therefore gave up my job and my earnings. It also means that due to visa restrictions and bureaucracy I have to wait 90 days from this week for my application for employment authorisation to be processed. That’s 90 days from now having stopped earning on 30th September 2010. And so now we come to the crux of this post, how does your marriage change when your finances do?
Admittedly J has been wonderful, I have a named credit card for his account and can spend on it, we speak about all his money and how much there is and how we will work it out. He has told me not to worry that his money is mine. But I can’t help it. It’s different in my mind, spending his money, so instead sometimes I spend mine, of which the pot is rapidly dwindling. It has changed how I think about money. Perhaps for the better as I now think longer about potential purchases be they joint or otherwise. I feel like I have lost my financial independence.
I don’t know what would make it better, partly it’s probably just me coming to terms with this fact, that it doesn’t matter if I have lost my financial independence we are still financially viable as a household and I have a husband with whom I can talk about these things (something which I certainly don’t take for granted). But it also alters the balance, does this make me less equal? I know stupid question probably but I feel I have to ask for things and that I bring less to the table. Which is kind of tough. I used to earn a lot less but at least I earnt, at least I contributed.
And back to the change in the relationship, will it change how we are as a couple? Right now I don’t know, I also know this is a temporary time without my income which will hopefully be no longer than necessary but in that time will we have a different way of interacting. I hope not and I will work at it being not but you never know. Thoughts and overanalysing can do funny things.
This move thing has got me thinking about many things, one of which is the communities and villages we create in our lives. It’s a topic which has been talked about in lots of different contexts on various blogs. As I was sat in church this morning I started thinking about it for me and J. London has become our village in some ways, full of communities we’re part of, we have our colleagues, our church and our friends to name a few.
This morning got me to thinking about how we can find new people and develop new relationships. It’s taken eight years of being here to get to this point and that’s eight years of having connections made for you through University and work. So how do we do it over there. How do we create our new support networks.
Something which I think will be one of the challenges of relocating. I’m sure we’ll get there, it’s just working out how. I do think though that if nothing else the experience of going through this will make us appreciate even more all we have here and perhaps make us better at meeting people!
In brief, and hopefully in answer to some of your questions:
Next week the shippers come and pack our flat up to move it all
Then J flies in just over a week
I go on October 12th, after hopefully closing everything down here
We stay for a year (our visas are only for a year) and then we decide what to do depending on jobs, life etc
And when I get there, who knows what I’m going to do, which is one of the exciting and terrifiyng parts!
There is so much whizzing round my brain right now that I don’t really know where to start and what to tell and what to do, I’m currently suffering overload inaction. But hopefully a weekend of sorting things out with J will start to formulate the list of what needs to be done and then I can really really get going.
So any more questions let me know, and thank-you truly so much for your wonderfully supportive response to this. I’m so excited to have finally been able to share and talk to you lovely people about it all!