The magnitude of moving.

The big move is becoming scarily imminent and with the reality of it all setting in, I'm trying to cherish the moments I have with friends and family that little bit more. Last week I had a little party at my house to celebrate my birthday and to make some more great memories with my girl crew. We didn't take that many photos as we were preoccupied with the festivities (as it should be) but I've posted a few of them here. It was such a wonderful weekend and I hope I have a lot more days and nights like that one, both before the move and after. 

Moving to the states is something I've spoken about since i was a teenager (which a lot of people I know can testify to as they had to hear me talk about it all the time). It first started when I still had dreams of writing and directing my own tv show and saw it taking me to the sound stages of Burbank. That dream lasted quite a while but after experiencing 3 years of the harsh reality that actually working in tv production will bring, my goals changed. However, America was still something I saw for myself. It's so funny how we inadvertently speak things into our lives as I only ever thought I'd move if I lucked out and found a job that would sponsor me to work out there. The one thing I certainly didn't think would be the reason for moving is marriage. I guess that's just the way the universe works.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the move - I don't think I fully realised the magnitude of moving until recently. It hasn't seemed that real I guess, but now that my visa is finally just a couple of months away from being completed, I've had to face the fact that I'll be leaving England soon (and for real this time). I've been back and forth for long periods a lot in the last few years, which has genuinely helped me prepare for being away from everyone and has in fact allowed me to evaluate a lot of my friendships. Being relatively off the radar for a couple of months will definitely reveal who you think about and who thinks about you when you're far apart and it's a great way to predict who you'll still be close with, years after you move away. It basically weeds out the friendships that have the stamina for a long distance relationship and those that don't, so you kind of know what to expect. 

Obviously, all of my close friends are amazing and we always keep up with each other no matter where in the world we are, which makes it even harder to leave all of the beautiful souls that I know and love. I do worry that I might not meet people in the states that I'll be as close to as I am with my friends at home, but I also realise that building good friendships can take time. Although I feel like it was instant love with a lot of my besties, we did get to this point of closeness gradually, so that gives me some hope.

Another thing I've become much more aware of is just how different American girls are to London/UK girls. Obviously that's a very sweeping generalisation, but there's nothing quite like having something innate, like being from the same place, in common with someone else. You instantly 'get' each other and can usually find common ground to make conversation with. Clearly I like and get on with American folks (I mean, I married one, so that says something), but there's always a slight disconnect or a 'feeling out period' that's a little bit longer or harder than it is with someone I'd meet from London or elsewhere in the UK. There are so many interesting sociological observations to be made from the experience of being an expat. Definitely worthy of a few more blog posts down the line. 

I've been seeking tidbits of advice from anyone I know that's moved away from their home country to start a new life and the feedback I've got from them is priceless. One of my friends, Karmen, who moved to the UK from India to study and now lives here with her husband, Tomoi (also one of my friends and ex housemate), told me that a huge turning point for her was when the word 'home' became associated with her place in the UK with Tomoi rather than her house in India with her family. I'm looking forward to experiencing that moment myself and without a doubt I'll think of Karmen when it happens.

If anyone reading this has gone through this experience before or is about to, I'd really appreciate hearing any insight or learnings you'd like to share about it. Please leave a comment :)

Oh and I need visitors from home to come on a regular basis so I'm expecting everyone's next holiday destination to be Phoenix, or you'll all be in big trouble!

28 years.

(My Dad and I in India on my 1st birthday. The first and only birthday I spent with him, actually, as he passed away 5 months after this was taken)

(My Dad and I in India on my 1st birthday. The first and only birthday I spent with him, actually, as he passed away 5 months after this was taken)

It's unbelievable how fast a year goes by. Already, my 28th birthday is today and it feels like not so long ago, Ty and I were in Cali celebrating my 27th. It's funny how so many things have changed in the last 12 months (like getting engaged, getting married, being so close to moving to another country), yet day to day life has more or less remained the same. I do feel completely different, though.

27 has most definitely been my favourite age. Despite a good number of dreams coming true for me this year, I'm actually loving my late twenties for the simple fact that I know myself better than ever now. I feel like I've come into my own and have much more of the confidence I wish I'd had in my late teens/early twenties. Most older people will tell you about this phenomenon at some point in your twenties and they're not at all wrong. I'd love for 28 to bring much more of it!

(My Bua (aunt) and I, again in India, on my 1st birthday)

(My Bua (aunt) and I, again in India, on my 1st birthday)

My family and friends have been asking me what I want for my birthday and I honestly haven't been able to think of anything at all. In a way, it's nice to know that I must be quite content if there really is nothing material or otherwise that I want (except a visa - if you can magically hurry up that process, I think my stance on gifts might change!). It sounds so boring and pretentious but I'd just like to keep having new and exciting experiences, keep travelling and keep learning new things - all of which are gifts I can give myself. The real gift is that I want for nothing and that I know, without a doubt, that I am loved by the people I love. What a thing.

Such is life that we will (hopefully) learn many lessons, big and small, from the experiences we go through. I've learnt from the good experiences and without a doubt learnt from the bad - some things that I remember on a daily basis and some things that I'm still having to be reminded of. I'm hoping I've got quite a few years left to make them stick but I'm glad to have had the opportunity to take them on board, no matter how painful (or indeed how easy) the process has been. 

I guess a little rundown of some lessons that have stuck would be appropriate now, so here you go...

Sleeping with a silk pillow definitely preserves your edges and ends (for those that don't wrap their hair at night). Even the people that are the nicest to you can, and have been, a bitch to someone else. Wear sunscreen, whether you have melanin or not. Sometimes suffering in heels is worth it, but most of the time it's not. Most people are selfish, including yourself, but it's not necessarily a bad thing.  Wax, don't shave. You can convince yourself of anything if you ruminate for long enough. Don't ruminate for long enough. Always moisturise. Get enough sleep (I was the queen of all nighters once). Worrying is futile (still trying to learn this one). Patience is hard to learn, but so necessary (had too much practice at this one). Save money. Self preservation is goodIf you love someone, tell them, even if it feels awkward. It's nice to be nice. Be punctual (slowly getting there). Optimistic pessimism might just be avoiding the truth, but it's better than wallowing (oxymorons are life). Exercise more. Everything in moderation (especially food). Complainers don't usually want your advice. Be a good listener, it's very rewarding. Never sleep in your makeup, it will end badly for your skin and your sheets. Know how to enjoy your own company. Being humble is underrated. Don't limit yourself. Do your research. Be prepared. And last but not least (because I don't want to bore you with more) - If you're determined enough, you'll always get what you ask the universe for. 

I've learnt a lot more lessons than that in the last 28 years (one would hope, anyway), but those are what came to mind first. What are the most poignant life lessons you've accumulated so far? Let's trade wisdom.

Well, there's only one thing left to say now really... Happy birthday to me! :)

Oh, and here's a photo of me as a little golden baby in my birthday suit, on my birthday. Merry Christmas.