Mixing It Up

In my last entry I started out by saying how I couldn’t believe I had been in England for almost a week. Now I’m sitting here wondering how it’s possible that time can fly by so quickly because as of tomorrow, the 4th of July, I’ll have officially been on UK soil for a solid month. One month!

During this last month I’ve done my best to get settled in and stay busy. So far, I’m up and running with a new car (a shiny red VW Bug), a new phone, and I’m even registered with the local doctor’s office. I’ve made a few attempts to reach the director of a local ASPCA chapter to volunteer and I’m doing my best to get to know the area and really just get comfortable with this new chapter in my life. Currently I’m learning to navigate my way around on these rather narrow roads which leads me to the FAQ received most often from my fellow Americans; since driving over here, ‘How hard is it to drive on the opposite side of the road?’ In all honesty, it’s really not that difficult. If you didn’t follow the flow of traffic, you’d cause accidents left and right so yeah, driving on the opposite side of the road is a breeze. It’s the whole driving on what is supposedly a two-lane road when there are cars parked along each side and you have to hug your side in order to fit your car down the street without hitting another vehicle that poses a bit of a challenge. But I’m getting there, growing more comfortable the more I drive and I’m confident I’ll get the hang of it in no time. Though if I’m being honest, there have been a few stressful moments that had me rethinking the whole driving idea (lol) but in reality, I know it’ll become old hat in no time. One thing I will say for driving around in England, people use a Sat Nav for nearly every long distance journey (read: outside of their home town) and I totally understand why. The streets here are not labeled like they are back home in the states and to give a good example on here would be difficult but let’s just say that having some computer generated voice tell you where and when to turn is one of the best inventions ever when you live here. No joke.

I’ve also been able to get out and see some of the countryside over the course of this last month and as far as exploration goes, Si’s mum was a gem and took me to Bolsover Castle during my second week here. That place is amazing and if ever you’re here for a visit, it is a must-see. The views from the castle alone will have you reaching for any photographic device you have nearby and if you’ve forgotten such a device, no worries, it’ll be engraved in your brain for all eternity. Speaking of exploration, Si and myself have joined the National Trust as well as the English Heritage; two organizations designed to preserve this country’s history as well as grant us free access to virtually any historic site, castle, abbey, and beyond. Of course you pay an annual fee for them both, but when you think of all there is to see and do, it’s worth it.

Some photos of Bolsover Castle as well as the views from the top overlooking the countryside.

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I’ve been touring a bit more this week and will share photos from those escapades very soon. Mainly I feel it’s important to continue venturing out into the area, both locally in our neighborhood as well as beyond. Not only does that get me out of the house and keep me busy, but it also helps me engage in my passion of photography. I’ve always felt a deep connection with nature when photographing landscapes and well, you just cannot go wrong here, the scenery is magnificent. I look forward to the day when I’m able to show friends and family these wonderful places so that they too, can experience what this incredible country has to offer.

In other news, I’m going crazy without a job. Per the guidelines and rules of the Fiance Visa, I’m not allowed to work let alone look for work until after we’re married and after the Spousal Visa has been issued. I’m finding it to be a bit of a challenge and although I knew this would happen, I don’t think you can ever really fully prepare for something like this. Of course I miss my friends and family and not seeing everyone on a regular basis only heightens these anxious feelings I’ve been experiencing. I just need to feel like I’m contributing, not only to our household but to the world in general. Do you know what I mean? I need to feel like I’m doing something to earn my space here on earth, to show my worth (which, when typing that out sounds a bit cray-cray but just go with me on this). We all knew it would be an adjustment, moving so far from everything and everyone familiar to me, but I need to find a way to overcome those sad feelings of missing the familiar and turn them into productive feelings of creating a new familiar. Now don’t read that as me wanting to forget about everyone back home because that’s just nonsensical crazy talk, but what I mean is, this is home now, here in Derbyshire, England and I need to find a way to turn the anxious, sometimes sad feelings into positive, productive ones. I need to embrace my surroundings and begin to bloom where I’m planted. It’s time. Now the trick is finding a way to bloom whilst still making sure that my friends and family back home in the states know I’m still in their corner, cheering them on in their endeavors and loving them every step of the way.

It’s a tricky mix, this thing called life.

One thought on “Mixing It Up

  1. First, read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_shock

    When I moved to TW, I was like, Yeah, culture shock, I know what that is, whatever. Then I was depressed and anxious and altogether not myself, and when I read that Wikipedia article, I felt a lot better.

    See if you can’t find an expat group to connect with. Hanging out with Si and his family and friends is great, but you need to have people you can talk to about your culture shock. Fellow Americans who’ve been there and can help you pull out of the doldrums when they hit.

    1 month will become 2 will become 6 will become a year, and you’ll experience an absolute rollercoaster of emotions, but you’re going to thrive and shine. Just allow yourself the opportunity to deal with how you feel – don’t suppress it. See a therapist if you need to. Very few people will actually understand how you feel, although most will try or pretend to.

    And hey – I’ve been told on multiple occasions that I need to write a self-help book about culture shock and reverse CS. If you want to join in and make millions and get on Oprah’s Book Club, let’s write it together 🙂

    Like

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