Go here for more on the O&B initiative.
And here for the Journal Jars.
When I moved to the US, initially some things were highly annoying. I had to change the way I said things, I had to change the way I wrote. Nothing kills more than seeing my perfect spelling with a squiggly line underneath it. Damn you MS Word, this is the British spelling. I know how to spell ‘organisation’ very well. It’s also annoying when people seem to have no frikkin idea that what you just said is an alternative way of saying the same thing. Seriously how hard is it to figure out that ‘zed’ is another way of saying ‘zee’? Or that physio-therapy is another way of saying ‘physical therapy’? Why must the faces look back at me so stupidly blank? Why can’t I call my cell phone a mobile? The place where you go to watch films is indeed a cinema. Get over it.
I have had to change a lot of things in the course of my life as I moved city, country or even school. I have tried to hold on to the previous way but eventually most of the things I let go of. There is no compromise in this kind of marriage. In French school, I had to give up writing the American ‘7’ as it looked too much like a 1 to them. I had to put the dash in the middle. I had to adapt the beautiful cursive writing I learnt in the US as it was decidedly too weird. I gave in on the Gs. I was a stubborn kid; I didn’t want to listen to the teachers and students who didn’t understand. How hard is it to understand anyway, I wondered. I put commas instead of dots in the place of decimals and apostrophes for commas. If you switched back and forth from studying mathematics in English and French you know what I mean.
With this particular new beginning and new husband came new country, new job, new career path, new friends, new apartment, new city, new views from the window, and then new aspirations and expectations from life. I was looking forward to starting over and I certainly over-estimated my ability to change. A Parisian living in Houston told me that the whole first year of moving to the US after marriage, she was somewhat depressed. She was trying to explain to me the emotional stages one goes through. In some way I do get what she means. I had over-estimated small town living and I had over-estimated my ability to cut off from the past. It feels like there is a part of me that still thinks that I am back in Europe, that I must go back there soon. I must figure out a way to be a part of that old life still. Hold on to the old friendships, keep up with family just as much. An exercise in futility if there ever was one. I feel the love still. I just want to ask my parents, “Are you okay, are you really doing okay? You’d let me know right?” I still dream of old lives and loves. Life is good and not at all empty. But it lacks depth sometimes that skype doesn’t fill.
I can be busy with a full day’s to-do list in my head. And then I take a break, a nap even, and wake up to a feeling of losing something, a chasm widening to the size of the Atlantic, and there it is that sadness again.