If you have been a long term follower of this blog you will know that I like to keep a light-hearted tone in most of my posts. I like to post about the times people ask me if I’m Australian or if I’ve been for tea at Buckingham Palace and I like to post anecdotes about the times I have been tripped up by language and different ways of doing things. There was the time I thought I was going to get a cold cider and I got served apple juice and the time I thought a girl in a shop was hitting on me because she asked for my number when I bought some clothes.
The reason that I post these anecdotes of my own incompetence and comparisons between American and British life and culture in what I dare to hope is an amusing manner is because they are easy to write. They are easy to write because I love learning about life in the US and sharing my experiences in a tongue in cheek way and because I am a numpty and I embarrass myself on a regular basis. The well of amusing anecdotes where I fail at life never runs dry.
This post is different so if you are looking for a story like one of my previous posts where I admitted to apologising to a tree after walking into it because I am British then I’m afraid that you will be disappointed. Today I’m going to talk about the dark side: how hard it is to move to a foreign country and feel like you belong there. I know some of you may be rolling your eyes and thinking boo-hoo how hard is it to move from a country with Starbucks all over the bloody place to a country with Starbucks all over the bloody place but it can be really difficult at times.
The hard part isn’t all the times I’ve nearly been run over because I looked the wrong way as I crossed the road. The hard part is convincing myself that I’m supposed to be here. When you are shy, awkward and not particularly good at meeting new people without the aid of alcohol (and I’m not at university any more) making friends is really very difficult. Self doubt confounds that as you are convinced the people you meet aren’t going to like you. When you don’t have friends and family around keeping life on an even keel is much more difficult.
I’ve been in the US for 14 months now and my life after work still consists of putting on Netflix and trying to pretend that watching a series of The Office in one night is a good life choice. Life should be so much better because I have an amazing wife and a job and I live in one of the best cities in the US. So I’ve made myself a promise to work on being grateful for what I have and even more importantly to work on my own happiness. I’m starting to realise that living life under a cloud is not sustainable and that if there is a chance to get away from it then I should at least try.
So why did I subject you to this miserable post you ask? Well it’s so easy to maintain a façade of happiness with carefully chosen pictures on Facebook and Instagram without really admitting how we are feeling even to ourselves. So many of us suffer from sadness, depression and many other things and don’t ever hint at it even to friends and family. So here I’m doing my own tiny and rather crap part towards increasing the dialogue. If you made it to the end without closing the browser then thank you and I promise that my next post will (probably) be full of silly anecdotes and dry humour as per usual.