Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Get out your mini-violins.

Growing up as a military brat meant that we moved every few years.  I was in the comfort of my family for the early moves, so life just went on.  But, the move to Texas the summer after 8th grade was different.  My junior high friends had become as important to me as my core family.  And the move was so much more difficult. 

We were all settled into our new house and waiting for the new school year to start.  I’m sure it was magnified by the drama-hormones of a 13 year old, but I still vividly remember the feelings of isolation that I experienced that summer.    

I spent a lot of time alone in my room listening to records (I’m aging myself), gazing out the window and sighing dramatically, I'm sure.  My brother (aka my bubba) was younger (and cooler) and quickly made friends on the playground.  But, for an awkward, moody teenager like me, it wasn’t that easy.  

I’ve been thinking about that summer a lot since we’ve moved to England.  Suddenly, I am that young girl again and walking through a bustling neighborhood that feels completely deserted to me.   

It’s difficult to explain the feelings.  It’s not loneliness, but more a feeling of isolation.  

I have my husband who I absolutely adore by my side.  I have his parent’s love and support.  And I have the love of family and friends from afar that keep the feelings of loneliness away.  I have FaceTime, phone calls, emails and texts from home and the promise of visits coming up.   But, something major is certainly missing from my life right now.    

It’s about connections, isn’t it?  

I think some of the isolation comes from the lack of shared experiences.  When I speak to most of my family and friends at home, I can plug into what is happening in their world.   I am familiar with the context of their lives.  I know where they live, work and shop, and I know the people they love.  So, as they share the events of their daily lives, I get it.  

But, it feels weird to speak of what is happening in my life because the context is missing.  They don’t know what my surroundings look like or who the new people are in my life.  So, it isn’t as easy for them to plug in to my daily experiences.  My life has become foreign (pun intended).  

I often find myself seeing or doing something that I desperately wish I was sharing with someone I love back home.  It’s a regular thing to think “Sugar Bear would love this” or “We have to bring bubba n’ em here when they visit.”  (My inner voice has a southern twang, ya’ll.)

I miss being with my family who know me, know the life that made me and love me, even with my many quirks and flaws.  (I’m sure there is an official list somewhere.)   I miss the relaxed comfort of time with an old friend over a glass (or six) of wine.   I miss the shared inside jokes and the comfortable silences.  I miss the hugs and touches that I often took for granted.    

 I knew it was was coming and, as expected, 
I’m finding the isolation the hardest part of relocating.  

I am displaced.   

And I am spending way more time inside my own head than is healthy.

Yes, I chose to make this move.   And, yes, I am on an exciting adventure.  Please don't get me wrong, I am very happy and have no regrets.  This was the right move for us.  And I do feel silly when I whine about it and everyone rolls their eyes and grabs their mini-violins to play a sad song on my behalf.   

But, it is still an emotional journey and the feelings are real.    

Some days I experience profound sadness and  some days are really difficult.   

And there may or may not be days when my behavior would put any hormone addled teenager to shame.  

That lonely summer before 9th grade quickly turned into one of the best times of my life as I entered high school.  The friendships that I soon made are still dear to me all these years later.   And I know that new friendships are in store for me here in England.   

But, no matter what new connections I make, 
I will always be thinking about the one’s that I am missing today.

Can't you hear the violins?


PS.   The picture was taken with my iPhone and tweaked via Instagram and iGoogle.


  1. Hi Selena,

    Sorry to hear that you're feeling homesick but you hit the nail on the head by saying it is normal and to be expected, though as you know it doesn't make it feel any better!

    Have you tried sending friends and family random shots of things you find funny / interesting? Maybe it will give something to put things in context to when you talk about it on the phone /skype?
    Your blog is lovely and if they read this it'll feel like they are right here with you!!

  2. Selena,
    Please come join us at the American Women's Club-the best way in town to make friends and enjoy a lot of fun activities. It was a lifeline for me when I arrived! All the information is online and you can attend a couple of events before deciding to join. I think you'd love it!

  3. Hello! As a fellow expat but in another country - it gets better. I agree with the comment above, the more chances you have to connect, the better. Finding my comfort zone was gaining connections, realizing that nothing has to be forever -- even it it's a lot of work, you could eventually make that happen and importantly and last: it's not an "or." (can I only be happy here OR there) it's an AND --- I can be happy here AND there. Being content took me deciding that one could be happy in more than one place but, that those places are different. Good luck!

  4. I hear you! Totally get how you're feeling! Six months in and I'm still having 'those days' where nothing clicks and I wonder what the heck we're doing here ... and that's okay. Blogging helps. ;)


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