Friday, March 2, 2012

Beating The Homesick, Boredom Blues...

It's been said that alongside getting married and having your first child, relocating to a different country is one of the biggest adventures a person can face. I'll account for that. When we first got engaged my husband and I threw around a few ideas about where we wanted to set up house; London, North Yorkshire or Tennessee. Now each has it's benefits and with an equal amount of family and close friends in either country, for a while there we were tied. After weighing up our pros and cons though we ultimately decided that the US had more to offer us during this particular stage of our lives; cheaper housing, more frequent and varied job opportunities and more options for varied travel within the country. Once we settled on our choice of homeland we were able to familiarize ourselves with the immigration system and where, when and how we needed to marry in order to meet all the requirements. We married on a beach in Georgia, just the two of us (but with heavy family involvement) and off we went on our road trip honeymoon! We were set. 

Fast forward 5 months and in my opinion I have acclimated rather nicely to my new slower paced, rocking chair on the porch kinda lifestyle, here in east Tennessee. The only drawback that I can tell so far is that along with the hoopla of various visa applications, is the waiting period for an EAD (the document that allows you to legally work in the States). Well, that and the fact that no where seems to have a decent imitation of Yorkshire fish and chips. Even if you're like me and prefer to idle along in the slow lane of life, this is a pace that can proof challenging and at times pretty disheartening after a while. I received my precious EAD last month and have since launched myself full pelt and brimming with enthusiasm into the world of job hunting, yet I am still technically residing in the no-mans-land of temporary (here's hoping!) unemployment. And I am bored.

Image: Paul Popper

Five months in I find myself well adjusted to my surroundings; I know my way around, I am used to driving on the wrong side of the road, I always remember to tip my servers and I never forget to mentally factor in tax before taking something to the cash register. So the natural next step is beginning a career right? Right. I am freshly graduated from a London University with a 2:1 BA (Hons), plenty of practical work experience under my belt and I am ready to rock and roll into the working world. Only thing is it's taking a little longer than I hoped (I'm an idealist) and while the days remain a little emptier than I would like, homesickness can often set it. Back in the day when I was employed as a summer camp counselor, we had a few little tricks up our sleeves to alleviate homesickness in the kids that we cared for. The main one, the tactic that next to always worked like a gem, was distraction. If you're not stewing about home and focusing on the real and psychological distance between you now and all you were comfortable with before, you won't miss it. So how did I distract myself continuously and effectively for 5 months? Well here's a few examples:
  • I have patiently reworked my hopeful CV (resume) more times than I can count. 
  • I have read many many books pertaining to the line of work I hope and pray I will land a kick butt job in, so my mind will be fresh and my understanding up-to-date, once the interviews roll around.
  • I watch a heck of a lot of documentaries (as well as the odd cheeky trash TV series!). I also favor a few televised reminders of back home, namely; Stephen Fry In America, An Idiot Abroad, Three Men Go To New England, Panorama (to keep abreast of all the breaking social issues in the UK that no longer apply to me, yet interest me just the same!) and many more that the internet and my friend's recommendations throw my way.
  • I started a stay-at-home hobby (or 5)... crocheting, blogging, creative writing, baking and amateur photography to name a few! 
  • I volunteer... Through my wonderfully active Church here in Knoxville and other local charity organizations I can give a little back each week, brush up on my and teamwork and communication skills plus keep busy and motivated.
Ultimately, the things that get us through these times of change and stress are having the ability to adapt and to see the lighter side of life. Find peace with your choices, keep in touch with those you love and stay positive and creative! What an adventure we are on! 

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