Monday, 31 May 2010

Bracing for change - moving back to the USA

In two sleeps we'll be in America, which is hard to believe. It feels like we're just going for a holiday, the fact that we'll now be living there is sinking in slowly.

I've been attempting to mentally prepare this week. Since I have a robust track record of international cold moving (ie moving somewhere with no job - I don't necessarily endorse this), I've learned  some tips to make the shock less traumatic. Because even though it's exciting to move and I am so looking forward to being back home after 8 years abroad, showing up to a new place and carving out a life is hard work. I know this and I'm bracing myself. 

My tips for myself, and anyone else leaping into the unknown, are as follows:
  • Don't try to sort everything at once. If there's one thing I've learned from living in the UK and Japan it's how to be patient. Things come when they come, so don't expect too much at the start.
  • Keep pushing. I've also learned a lot about perseverance - not something I desperately wanted to learn, but hey, it's useful. Things come to people who keep showing up, knocking on doors, applying for jobs, talking to new people and being in the right place.
  • Focus on what I've got vs. what I don't have. I know it will be hard to go back and not have our own apartment, jobs, income, car, etc. There will be a lot missing, waiting to be filled. But if I just think about all those things I'll be missing out on what I've yearned for for such a long time now - being home, being surrounded by old friends and family and not being foreign anymore. On a shallower note I've also dreamed of Mexican food, Target and Sephora. I fully intend to enjoy America and not let stress steal that joy!
  • Set mini-goals and try to have a schedule. I know, I LOVE goal setting, so it had to creep in. But honestly, I've got these mini-goals for Seattle to help me settle in. Things like, contact 5 people for info interviews and meet up with 5 of my friends. Or check out 10 coffee shops in the next few weeks. I need to feel like I've achieved something so nothing too difficult to begin with. 
By the way, I LOVE the vintage suitcase picture I found. And yes, I noticed it's made in Canada, which is fine because I like our neighbor to the north. But I did think it would have been more fitting if it was American made, like me, for my returning home image. We can't always win though, can we?
    Anyway, what about you? How are you with change? Are you the type of person who thrives on change or fears it? How do you make it easier when you jump into something big?

    {Photo from flickr to be inspired}


    Melissa said...

    Tips for acclimatisation (sp?)...I was never so good about that. For me, the two best things were finding a perfect coffee shop and finding a couple of great little chinese mini malls (it was in HK)....Eat the food you have missed! I was crying when i got my first pie in nz - you cannot beat our cheap, perfect service station pies. You have an equivalent? hope that helps.....

    Rachel H. Evans said...

    Great tips. Great photo. Great post.

    I find that I'm growing less comfortable with change the older I get - which is why Dan and I try to throw in spontaneous adventures here and there. We don't want to get "stuck."

    Jess Fouche said...

    yay!!! I'm SO EXCITED to see you again!!!!! Do give me a ring when you are feeling up to it after you get here!:)

    I love change. I crave change. Andrew knows if he said 'let's move to {fill in the blank} tomorrow' I'd start pulling out suitcases. I love the idea of making home wherever we find ourselves with whatever is available. Not that too cramped living quarters or the like is always fun, but definately a good challenge. For now my challenge is staying content and focused on what we feel called to right now!

    Rachel Womelsduff Gough said...

    Your advice on setting mini-goals is a good reminder. I'm staying at home with my daughter, and often the day goes by and I feel like I've gotten nothing accomplished, even though I have things to do. If I do a little bit at a time and cross it off my list, I will make progress.

    I'm looking forward to seeing you again when you get here. Safe travels!

    Nadine said...

    I never deal well with change, but I love all the goals you've set for yourself.

    When I have to make a big change, I try to do it without looking back. Too many times I've left one place or situation with a toe still in the water and it makes it much harder. So now I try to focus on the new situation wholeheartedly.

    We'll see how I do with my own upcoming change. I'm going to use your goals!

    Rachael Randal said...

    With a big change, I tend to dive straight in, trying to do as much as possible as quickly as possible to build my new nest and get my new life going. Some might say I'm inpatient, definitely overambitious. I do think I manage to achieve quite a lot very quickly, but inevitably, I end up not achieving everything I set out to, which means there is a sense of failure, inadequacy and dissatisfaction. Much better I think to follow your plan and set yourself SMART goals, to keep you rewarded and motivated on an ongoing basis. Good luck with it all!!

    Well done by the way on bashing this one out after the pub quiz! Really nice post.

    TheLadyWhoLunches said...

    God, it's so true that you have to remember that it doesn't all fall into place at once. That's the biggest thing for me. With every change, it takes months to truly get settled and its hard to remember that when you're in the midst of boxes, trying to make friends and trying to find a job. Good luck with your trip back home!
    I'm not too far behind, and I'll be re-reading this post along the way.

    How did the week off the internet go?

    alisha said...

    Thanks for the encouragement and tips everyone!

    Jess, I love your readiness to go and totally know how it feels. For people who want to go it is a massive challenge to stay and take root and be faithful to what you've been given in the season. I'm really proud of you though and one day I'm sure you'll get to pack the bags when it's the right time.

    Rachael, thanks for the reminder to set SMART goals. It will be much harder to do that without a line-manager checking up on my so maybe I'll ask Dan to keep me accountable!

    Lady, I'll be offering you tons of tips, advice and empathy when you re-cross the pond! The week off internet was good, though I must admit I didn't go cold turkey. I'll do an update on the book in a few weeks too. :)

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