What I’ve learned about myself in my first six months abroad.
Six months ago today we moved into our dream Georgian farmhouse on a working farm in a tiny village about 20 minutes from Tim’s work here in England. I fell in love with the massive 300 year old brick farmhouse when I first saw it online nearly a year ago. Fate was on my side and it stayed empty for six months and waited for us. We fell in love with the house even more when we saw it in person in May and three weeks later, we moved in.
Six months in and we’ve finally made this house a home. Our furniture arrived in August and with the arrival of December, the Christmas season and our plethora of visitors, I’m happy to say we’ve made it nice and cozy. I truly love it here and after long days and weeks of traveling around Europe (I know… rough life haha), I feel blessed that this is home. I’ve learned a lot about myself living in a new country and in the country.
I can make friends anywhere…or so I’ve been told.
Tim’s coworker’s wife was the first to take me out and about in England in our first month here and she would often find me having a nice conversation with a person in a shop or restaurant or even on Fourth of July. “You can make friends anywhere” she said laughing and it never occurred to me that she was right. In fact, I was really concerned about coming to England as far as friends go. It took me a long time to cultivate the amazing friendships I had back home in Corona and before I had them, I went through a really dark period of being very lonely. It’s hard when you work from home and don’t get out of the house very much. So when we moved here, I was determined to not let that happen again and I started trying to make this foreign land feel like home as soon as I could. The first week we were here I was really fortunate to sit next to my now good friend, Courtney at orientation. She and her husband had arrived not more than a week before we did and we instantly hit it off. Since then, we’ve joined a group on base for other couples without kids and have also made friends with Tim’s team of coworkers. And as with California, swing dancing has brought us some wonderful friends too and we go out social dancing more than we ever did at home.
I can explore alone and not have a panic attack
For those of you who don’t know me too well, I have GAD or generalized anxiety. It’s especially prevalent when I’m in loud, unfamiliar places like cities and crowds. I usually like to take Tim anywhere I go and I half-joke that he’s my emotional support husband. But when we travel for Tim’s work, I can’t have him with me as he’s in meetings or the office, so unless I want to spend days on end in strange hotels in foreign cities, I need to put on my big girl pants and explore on my own. And to my surprise, I’ve been totally fine with it. I always take it slow, grabbing a cup of coffee or a pastry in a cafe while working on the blog, or heading into a museum where it’s not weird to be alone anyway. Sometimes I shop or sometimes I just wander and take photos. But I always give myself time to recoup and if I’m feeling too overwhelmed I head back to the hotel room for a mid-day break. It’s actually a wonderful way to travel and I’m learning so much not only about the world around me, but about myself.
I’m actually pretty happy being a homemaker…
most of the time…
I had to quit my job when I left the states since they couldn’t support me working over here and I was devastated. But I was also excited to see the new opportunities that would arise over here. Tim and I talked before we even left California and determined that for the best quality of life, I wouldn’t get an office or day job I couldn’t do remotely because then I couldn’t travel with him for work or take vacations due to limited days off work. And the whole reason we moved to England, was to travel. I had always said that I didn’t ever want to be a stay at home wife unless we could afford for my to go shopping all the time as otherwise I’d be very bored. But to my surprise, I’m not bored at all. I keep myself busy with housework (a three story farmhouse is a lot to clean), cooking dinner, grocery shopping and of course working on this blog and attempting to expand it more all the time. To be honest, I still struggle from time to time with not having a job, but I’m also really enjoying my life now.
I’m totally channeling my Snow White side
“You’re seriously the real life Snow White” my friend Kelsey said to me as we strolled through the 2.5 acres of my yard. I had just told her that I wanted to put a little star on top of the tiny pine tree growing in the corner of our yard with little food presents for the hares and pheasants that live in our yard.
I’ve always loved animals but living in the country has given me a whole new appreciation for them. I love waking up, throwing open the curtains and seeing little blue tits on the bird feeder outside my window, or peering outside just in time to see a barn owl swoop over the front/back yard from the canal on the edge of our property. It’s truly very magical.
I’ve named a west one-eyed bunny that lives in our yard and have named him Onion. And of course my pheasant brood, the most I’ve counted in our yard at once is 34. Yes. 34 pheasants. They’re safe here in my yard and I’m glad that they can congregate here away from the hunters. In fact, right now I can hear them outside the window talking to one another from the trees as they take shelter from the wind in the waning evening light.
Feedback… for those of you who’ve lived over seas, what did you learn about yourselves that you didn’t know when you lived stateside. I’d love to hear.