Sep 25, 2014

Learning as we go

(Today's post comes from Dani, a new bloggie friend from Disowned. Please stop by and show her some love! )

"Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay"
Ruth 1:16

It's been two months this week since I left New York. I had a career that I had built for myself, I had an apartment that felt like home, and I had friends. But I also was a newlywed with an English husband who wanted to visit home. And then wanted us to stay there.

One of the hardest parts for me was letting go of stuff.  Deciding to leave my life behind in America has taught me several really important lessons along the way. First, I don't need stuff. No one needs "stuff". You need to clothe yourself, and maybe you need a few nostalgic momentos. You need a bed to sleep in and a roof over your head (most of the time). I've been a bit of a pack rat, to be honest. I always felt that I needed every little gadget and thing - and a back stock of it - to have a functioning home. But it's ok. I don't have a stash of 8000 types of tea, every tool or gadget imaginable, and piles of clothes that I never wear, and I'm happier this way. Removing the weight of stuff from my life removed a lot of the stress from my life. Waste not, worry not. Something like that.

There were a variety of factors involved in the decision to settle down across the pond; this wasn't some hasty ill-planned (ok, maybe we could have planned a little more) conclusion. For one, we want a family some day. Maybe some day soon. But in NYC, I was the breadwinner, and stopping working for any amount of time just wasn't an option; we'd never be able to support ourselves with such a high cost of living, and my company didn't offer paid maternity leave (most don't). Second, neither of us grew up in cities, so we didn't like the idea of living in one, at least not permanently. Third, and the nail in the coffin, is the difficulty of getting my husband a green card so that he can work. The process can take years, and after hearing horror stories from colleagues and friends - the amount of money it cost, the years without legitimate employment, the heart wrenching interviews where you're accused of having a "false marriage"... time on his temporary visa was running out. We decided to use some cash from our wedding gifts and travel to England to stay with his family and do some traveling as a bit of an "extended honeymoon". I took a leave of absence from my job, and we packed up and waited a month for our lease in Brooklyn to be up.

Then he got a few job offers here. It started looking like staying might be the way to go. I've been enjoying the difference in lifestyle, and the quality over quantity mentality. So I agreed, let's do this. And here we are.

Life is a constant learning process, and this event in our lives has been like a crash course in humility and patience for me. I learned that I can adapt. I can be flexible. I can accept that I'm not in control. I can rely on faith, because I have to now.  When we made "the big decision", I was kicking and screaming and reluctantly agreeing. I didn't want to have to change my whole life. I didn't want to have to learn the ins and outs of a whole new place - that would be way too hard, right?

Taking it out of my control, and putting the future - OUR future as a husband and wife - in God's hands... it was an eye opening necessity to move forward. I had to accept that I was far too weak to do it on my own. Only by giving up control was I able to to release my anger about the whole situation.

That being said, the homesickness (if you want to call it that) is starting to sink in. I'm not sure it's homesickness, though, because I never really called NYC home - at least, that's what I thought.
I miss my family, of course, but I am used to being away from them for extended periods of time, because I've lived hours away in a different city for years.
I do miss knowing  where things are. I miss knowing my way around. Knowing the subway weekend schedule like the back of my hand, and where to get the best bowl of hangover cure noodles in Chinatown.I miss knowing what was coming, what was down the street, how to get where I needed to go.  I miss all the places where I was a regular.  I MISS REAL COFFEE. And I miss my friends.

But I know that at one point in time, I had to build all of those things from scratch, by myself. I moved to New York with an air mattress and a suitcase. Over time, things fall into place. Nothing worth having ever comes easy, as the old saying goes.  So we do what we can, pray when we can, and never forget to be thankful for what we've had, what we don't have (like a cramped apartment in a scary neighborhood), and what we do have - love. 

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