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!