Missing friends and family

Missing friends and family
Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Not so long ago all I ever wanted was so far away. It was within my reach, but far - in distance, and in time.

For three years I coped, and struggled with being in a long distance relationship, after my now husband moved across the planet for his job. With the help of Skype, email and other social media platforms, our relationship survived - and we married in April this year.

To get to where we are now, something had to change. One of us had to give up something, that 'thing' being home - or wherever we happened to be at the time.

I always thought it would be him giving up his adventure in America, to move back to England. Even up until the moment when decision time came about - March 2013 - it was most likely he would come back.

Alas - company buy outs hindered the plan, and the ease of him returning to work in England,  so the decision became tougher. I was in the middle of studying my degree, but he faced a high chance of redundancy if he came back.

So he asked me to join him for a minimum of two years, and go from there. I said yes, gave up my degree in journalism, and for me living in Chicago began a week ago. I actually arrived sooner, on a vacation to hunt for schools, and houses before returning to England for our visas.

To move 4000 miles across the globe, away from everything I have ever known has to be the most daunting thing I have ever done. There are some days when I get so overwhelmed by how enormous a step it was. Often I freak out and panic - how will the children settle? What if I don't like it? What if I still don't like it in a year? Could I make my husband give up his job to go back, if I still couldn't settle? What, and where, would we go back to?

Before my trip back to the UK, I got homesick. We had the stress of moving house only for it to flood a week after we moved in - all of which was on top of my misgivings about pretty much everything about living here.

I didn't miss home - who would miss that town? I missed people. I still miss people. My husband and children are my world, but there are other people that I needed to keep me sane. My Mum, Dad, siblings, friends - they all counted - no matter infrequently I saw them.

It's very different to know you can just hop on a train, a bus or boat (depending on location) to see those people dear to you. Now, while it might take just as long to reach my mum in Guernsey by plane as it does by boat from my hometown - it's just not as simple.

I can't say I hate living here, but I find it very isolating. I was never a person to surround myself with lots of people, preferring to be on the edge of a crowd rather than in the middle of it. My H4 visa won't allow me to work, and even if I could it would only pay for me to run a car to get there.

I can't drive. That's a thing here. God, do I miss being able to get to places easily by public transport. In Algonquin, where my husband lived, before moving to Morton Grove - they didn't even have a bus service. The nearest park was a drive away too. Luckily, we now live in walking distance of three parks.

The being unable to drive impacts upon socialization quite a bit. I joined a moms club in Algonquin, but when I moved house, was told there was no way I could be a member now. Was it because I couldn't drive? I guess so. They had events all over Chicagoland, so it's not like I couldn't join in something.

It stung, but hey ho. That put me off trying to find friends for a while, as it did little for my irrational fear of what people think of me. But I need people. I can't just sit cooped up inside all the time. Meeting people here feels like one of the most challenging parts of moving here. How will they take to me?

There are many aspects of England I miss, but we are on an adventure. I guess we are lucky to have been given this opportunity, and there are things to explore. I can't say one way or another whether I like being here, or if I even want to be here. I miss England, but if I wasn't in Chicago with my husband right now - I would miss that too.

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