February 02, 2013

2 years in America

Today is February 2nd and that marks my 2 year-anniversary in America. My, oh, my how time flies! I can still reenact that weird feeling in my stomach as I was packing and saying my goodbies. I remember being so anxious and scared about flying Dimitri and terrified about how my dad would react once we hugged for one last time (for those who don't know me so well, he had a stroke years ago, so he's not quite the person he used to be and gets overtly emotional). There were so many different feelings involved, but overall I was beyond excited and happy. I knew I was making the right decision and even though it was hard to leave everything behind, I'd do it again and again. I moved to start a life with the man I love, my soul mate, the best man I've ever met.

Before you leave your home country, you know it's not going to be easy in ways that you can still not imagine. I know you, expats, can totally understand what I mean! There's a lot of anticipation and you want to be prepared to face the music, but how if you don't know what's to come? All in all, I can say I've dealt with being away from my family and friends quite well (like a champ, actually, if I may say so, haha). I also got used to my new environment and home in no time and felt a part of David's family right away. My biggest challenge was to be jobless for so long. I was used to being a bread-winner and having a challenging job I really loved. I've always been independent and when in a pickle always figured things out and managed to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Being jobless, though, took away my self-confidence. I didn't feel like myself anymore and was completely out of my element. Don't get me wrong, not having to go to work and having time for myself to do whatever I wanted was great, at least for a while; but once I felt ready to go find a job and was unable to get one, it sucked; it sucked big time! I didn't know where to aim my job search at; I was willing to do pretty much anything, but nobody seemed to be interested in hiring me. 

I kept thinking about Steve Jobs' commencement speech (I'm sure you've all seen it, right?), in particular the part where he talks about connecting the dots and how what you did and do will be useful and work out in the future. I was a volunteer at a library (I started volunteering a month after I arrived in California) and I thought that could come in handy at some point. I'd applied for a couple of positions there to no avail, so I didn't have my hopes up anymore. I started filling out applications to wait tables, to do dishes, to do whatever. I went to 3 job interviews and although my interviewers really liked me, such jobs were not for me and I didn't get them. There was only one position I felt I could probably get, but the job was in New York and involved supervising professionals; it was too far fetched. Time kept passing by, I got more impatient and anxious. I was so stressed out that I stopped volunteering as often (from 3 days a week to a few days a month). I should have mentioned before that this issue took a toll on my health, too; I put on about 15 pounds (7kg). In the end, it all worked out perfectly; I finally got a job at the library and although it's not the greatest thing in the world, I love it. I love the place, the job itself and the people are really cool and friendly. It's funny how life works. When you feel absolutely defeated and hopeless, something comes up and all of a sudden your perspective of the world changes 180 degrees.

In this 2 years I've learned a lot of things! I've incorporated vocabulary, I've tried foods I'd never tried before, I've gone to the mountains, lakes, cities, even another state (Nevada), I've put on weight and lost even more weight that I'd put on, I got to meet some pretty rad people, I've come to understand some of America's idiosyncrasies in more depth, I've gotten older ... In sum, I've grown. I can't wait to go to Argentina and visit all my loved ones there and see if my view to my old home has changed at all. I haven't traveled too much, but every time I stayed in a foreign country for over a month, my home didn't look the same anymore when I was back. Has that happened to you, too?

To all of you who are about to leave your country (wink at Cori), I say it's true that it's not always easy to be far from everything you know and love, but it's also a very enriching experience. Try not to live in the past and miss what you no longer have, but rather live the right-here/right-now and embrace what you now do have. No place is perfect; you always gain and lose when you move. And bear in mind that if worse comes to worst, you can always go back to a bunch of people who I'm sure will be waiting for you with open arms.

I think this is a suitable post to recommend some neat blogs run by awesome girls who live (or have lived) abroad ;D.

Katrin - a sweet German girl married to another American David ;p. Vegan, animal lover and just amazing!

Roville - a fellow Argetinean currently living in Italy. She's a talented photographer and beyond cool! ;)

La Fleur de Boedo - another fellow Argentinean who lives in Belgium. Her all natural recipes look really good :p.

Chrissy - is now back in her home country, Germany, and wants to go back to Chicago. I've known her for a long time and love her guts!

Do you live or have you ever lived in a foreign country?
If so, what did/do you miss, love, hate the most?
I'd love to hear your stories! ;D

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Tight hugs!


uncustomary said...

This was a really awesome post, Miki. I'm so glad you feel so positively about your time here and I'm so glad that you've gotten a job that's fulfilled your self esteem. <3

Chrissy said...

Wonderful post! Congrats on 2 years in the US! So happy for you! Hugs xxx

seelvana said...

Feliz cumpleaños Miki! me alegra tu mirada positiva de las situaciones, sé que este post va a ser de lo más inspirador para quienes se encuentran en tu misma situación :D

Y sí, a mi me pasa que cuando me voy de casa un buen rato, cuando vuelvo todo me parece más chiquito!
Estás por venir de visita?


Roville said...

Miki, me encanto este post especialmente porque me siento muy pero muy identificada con todo lo que representa cambiar de vida! (ah y super gracias por la mencion!!! :D)
La verdad que a mi tampoco me costo mucho el tema de acostumbrarme a estar en otro pais, más bien me costo adaptarme a vivir con alguien que habla otro idioma y que tenia otras costumbres! :D pero por suerte esas diferencias se fueron amoldando y otras ya quedaron en el olvido!

Me encanta lo que decis sobre saber apreciar lo que uno ha logrado y no vivir mirando hacia atrás, me siento identificada en eso, porque para mi es fundamental, siempre digo que no se puede vivir con un pie aqui y el otro en tu pais natal. O te adaptas a tu presente, el que elegiste o tu vida se vuelve insoportable.
Me gusta como afrontas las cosas, y este post es super inspirador y bueno para quienes tengan intenciones de vivir en otro pais.
Que creo como vos, que es realmente una experiencia maravillosa con sus pro y sus contras!

Bueno, y tengo que armar mi carta, contandote un poco de todo esto, y algunas otras cosas mas! pero primero espero la tuya!! :D

un abrazo grande y feliz aniversario y que sigan llegando muchas más cosas bellas!!! ;D

abrazos cariñosos! :)

Laura L. said...

Happy 2nd America Anniversary to the loveliest library page I know.

I'm so glad that you can look back at your experiences and can fully appreciate how much you've grown and learned over the past two years. It's a great reflection of how awesome of a person you are.

Katrin said...

Congratulations, Miki! And what a wonderful post! I totally feel you, Miki! I feel absolutely the same way about so many things!
And thank you so much for mentioning me! I can't tell you what it means to me! You are soooo sweet!
Love & hugs!

Marisa Noelle said...

All along I never realized that you have only been in the US for two years! Wow, Miki, you are a champ! I moved 2 hours away from my family last year and that's been hard at times (but also very good), so I can't even imagine how difficult the transition was for you. I'm so happy for you and all that you have accomplished since you've been here. Happy 2 year anniversary :-) Oh and that photo of you and your Mr. is adorable!

xo Marisa

Suki said...

Hi Miki,

Congratulations on your 2-year America-versy! And for making such a success of your move.

I've only lived abroad once for 10 months but my husband moved from France to the UK (aged 18!) to be with me when we met and has lived here ever since. He finds it hard sometimes to be away from France, but has now lived here so long that *this* is his home. He's a hybrid Franco-Englishman now! Not always easy to be two things like that - but always very cool. He listens to the radio & music from France, reads French websites and magazines etc. to stay in touch with the French part of his identity (and maybe it helps that we speak French at home, too).

Sandy a la Mode said...

congrats on 2 years!!! :)

Pam said...

What a wonderful post Miki! Thanks for sharing this. I have never lived abroad, but my husband lived in England for 3 years, and he still misses many things there. We went back so he could vist (22 years ago!), and we'd like to go back again. Congrats on 2 years!

vero mariani said...

eeeey linda! feliz cumpleaños de vida USA :) me pone muy contenta verte así de bien, bien plantada y siempre con la mirada más optimista para salir adelante!sos un ejemplo de buena onda, yo me hago una remera con tu cara y la paseo feliz por la ciudad :p jajajaja!

beso enormeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee y a por muchos años más de felicidad!

Kirsten Renz said...

a commend your bravery! i'm glad you've found a home in america :]

Courtney said...

Happy 2nd year anniversary in the U.S. girl! So adventurous! I can't say I've ever lived in a foreign country. Only visited one for a week and I missed speaking English and not being able to communicate well at all. And I missed U.S. money! lol

Oh, My Darling said...

Miki, this was such a lovely post! You took quite a leap, and it sounds like the roller coaster experience that has ensued has brought all sorts of wisdom and peace your way. I'm proud of you and excited to keep reading your adventures!

lisa said...

What an amazing adventure! Congrats on your 2-year anniversary here! I've never lived in another country but have always kind of wanted to. I love traveling though, and look forward to visiting as many places as possible. My best friend is American and lives in Italy (8 years now!) and both times I've visited it's so fascinating to see her in her new culture. Thanks for sharing your story! I'm off to vote for the cat shelter- thanks for sharing that too...

lisa said...

What an amazing adventure! Congrats on your 2-year anniversary here! I've never lived in another country but have always kind of wanted to. I love traveling though, and look forward to visiting as many places as possible. My best friend is American and lives in Italy (8 years now!) and both times I've visited it's so fascinating to see her in her new culture. Thanks for sharing your story! I'm off to vote for the cat shelter- thanks for sharing that too...

Blue Eyed Night Owl said...

What a great post! And I'm glad that you always felt very welcome in David's family. I bet that must have made it a lot easier:)

I've always lived in the same city(which I love!), but I don't rule out the possibility of ever moving to another country. We'll see...

P.S. Yes, I hope to go celebrate Chinese New Year this Sunday:) Have you got any nice plans too? Hope so!

Maria said...

miki, this was such a beautiful, touching post. i loved reading it. happy two years in the usa. <3 i'm so happy you're loving life and enjoying everything around you. i wish you many many more wonderful years ahead. big hugs! xoxox have a sweet weekend.