Nine days ago I left home. Five days ago I moved into a new flat, in a new country and met lots of new people (most of whom seem quite nifty but are certainly much younger than me – but that was to be expected). This is my new normal.
I think I like it. . . but other than that I’m not sure how to feel.
Here are a few things I’ve noticed in my wanderings this past week:
- The British don’t refrigerate their eggs…I knew this but it still throws me every time I go to the market or look in my cupboard (where the eggs are).
- I’m definitely slipping into an accent already.
- Undergrads are the same no matter where you are. (Insert sigh here)
- Training myself to look right-left-right instead of left-right-left when crossing a street is pretty hard actually.
- People are amazingly forgiving of and patient with my gaffs if they can see that I am genuinely trying.
- Europe is just much more pedestrian friendly than the States.
- A few comforts of home and familiar items can make all the difference in the world. (I ordered two cookie sheets from Amazon, turns out they are the same ones I had at home – this made me stupidly happy when they arrived this afternoon.)
- If I want to socialize I’m going to have to go to pubs, rather frequently. This isn’t a problem – just definitely not where I normally “hang out.”
- The cars are small. Like wow, small. But you can do a trip to Ikea with three people in a two-door Mini Cooper. #Tetris
Thanks to the Ikea trip my cooking “station” feels a bit more normal. Even found the same cutting board I have at home (see above comment about familiar things). Getting my first reading assignment definitely qualifies as “normal,” though it definitely won’t feel normal to JUST go to school and not work full time. I haven’t been a full time student in well over a decade. Which reminds me . . . I need to DO my reading for next week!
I’m working to find a routine and rhythm that works for me in this new place. The process of building a new community isn’t going to be quick or easy and will require putting myself out there in ways that are fairly uncomfortable – even for an extrovert like myself. I miss my friends and I miss the familiar, mostly because processing so much “new” day in and day out is exhausting work. Thank God for FaceTime and text messages. Those little touchstones are keeping me grounded. I don’t know how long it will take for the “new” to transition to the “familiar.” For the time being I’ll focus on enjoying the journey, and the view.