A year ago today, I found myself sitting on the polished floorboards of the King George V Rec Centre tucked underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge, clutching at my wrist.
Little has changed in the Bay Area since I’d been gone — aside from rents that have increased exponentially, something everyone complains about on a daily basis here. And really, the rents are ridiculous. Getting settled always takes longer than anticipated. But I knew what to expect. I’ve taken plenty of walks, shot plenty of time lapse down by the bay. Started my new job. Mapped out the new projects for 2015. Taken a roadtrip up the coast. Reconnected with old friends. Started to catch up on the overdue obligations. It’s a interesting time. It’s still home. One of my homes. And it’s nice to be back.
Recently, the American and I decided on a plan of action for the next few months: We were going to spend the rest of the summer (and perhaps a little longer) in Chicago. “But why Chicago?” everyone asked. “Why not?” was my response.
Adjusting. Acclimatising. Settling-in. Whatever you call it, it can be difficult and it can also be a very long process. But what I want to talk about in this post is adjusting in the first few weeks of arriving somewhere new.
The emotional stages an expat passes through as they prepare to relocate is best described as a rollercoaster. This time of your life is stressful and tumultuous, and it’s completely reasonable to be a hot mess. It’s a big step, even if it is one you’ve already taken before.
When an expat friend recently remained stubborn on a point at odds with the reality of life and business in the US, I had to throw up my hands. ‘Haven’t you learned this by now?!?!’ screamed my inner monologue. But maybe he hadn’t.