We were told in one of our first meetings at the school that moving to a new country has phases. First is the honeymoon period. Everything is fresh and new. Everyone is a potential friend. You have this feeling of euphoria. I must say that the period was long for me. I really walked into this situation with rose-colored glasses. I had needed a change from the monotony of daily life back in the states and Uruguay offered the perfect solution. The people were amazingly kind, the weather wasn’t too terrible and weekends were filled with one event after another. Each week I waited for the honeymoon period to subside and each week I was more and more infatuated with my new country of residence. I started to think that maybe I was the anomaly. I was the one person who would skip right over the downward spiral of shock and move straight into settlement.
But little by little the honeymoon chipped away. The rose became a grey fog. There wasn’t one experience or one person responsible. I didn’t soar into depression or stop participating in activities. If anything, more and more activities kept me more occupied than maybe even my body could handle. And although some of the seasonal spring rain put a bit of a damper on my days, the weather was actually getting warmer and prettier. Nevertheless, I found myself lacking motivation to write. I started watching more and more American television over reading and studying. My habits of listening to my daily Spanish podcasts subsided. And I found it harder and harder to fall asleep at night without any form of outlet. My honeymoon was over.
So before you all call me and try to convince me to return back to the states or ensure that I am not trying to jump off some ledge, let me assuage your worries and say I am still very much in love with my new country of residence. I am still very much content with my decision to move abroad. I am still ecstatic over my professional move to teach at UAS. None of that has changed and nor do I anticipate it doing so.
But there is a tiny little cloud creating a tiny little shadow on my sunshine. And that cloud makes me miss my people back home just a little bit more. It makes me a little more nostalgic for old hangouts and live bands and sitting on the smoking porch with my roommates discussing my day. It makes me yearn for my favorite Thai restaurant, happy hour at Carrabas with Rich and Carmen on Fridays after a long week of school, and Sunday friend dinners at Neel and Terra’s house. I miss nights of fun with my Nashville boys and bon fires in the back yard with Smores. God help me, I even miss the long road trips for basketball and staying after school with my Interact kiddos. And most daunting of all is the fact that my family (both blood and chosen) were once only at the most a three hour flight from me and now are a whole continent away.
So yes, I am beyond grateful for my new friends, my new students, and my new memories. And I know that the pings of sorrow for what once was will subside with time. But for anyone moving abroad, know that the stages are real. They are valid and they come in waves at different times for everyone. So validate those feelings. Call home a little more and continue to put yourself out there in your new home. For me, I’m back to writing. And that is enough for now.