Well it seems to be a week for anniversaries, the most significant being, exactly 3 years ago today I moved to the USA permanently.
I left Gatwick Airport on a jet plane, with a couple of cases and my wedding dress to hand. I kept a good old Brit' stiff upper lip as I said goodbye to my mum and brother, mainly so we'd all get through it without dissolving into tears. I received many well wishes and smiles in the airport, when my very conspicuous and large Pronuptia wedding dress carrier was spotted over my arm.
I sat back in my BA World Traveller seat (I had splurged for the quieter cabin, knowing I'd be a little emotional) and as the plane left the ground and England disappeared from sight, I shed a few quiet tears.
Yes I was sad and a little nervous, but I was also at the end of a very long journey to finally be on the same continent as the man I loved. The closer I got to the USA and my new very different life, the more excited I became. I had made a huge life changing decision at 39 years old, and then followed through on it. Many people dream of starting over in middle age, but I was one of the few who had actually done it. I was kind of proud of myself and a little shocked!
I have never for one moment regretted that decision. Many hear 'internet relationship' and dismiss them as bound to fail. But I knew the Hubster better than anyone else I had ever known. Being in a long distance relationship puts unimaginable strains on you both and the relationship. It forces you to really talk for hours on end, you end up knowing every little thing about the other person. You fall in love with the person inside, not the face the world knows.
Within the first 2 months we shared a house move, our wedding and suddenly getting used to living together for more than 2 weeks at a time. Life wasn't always perfect, but I was very sure of my decision and made every effort to integrate.
At first I felt like I was 5 years old again. Just for a moment, indulge me and imagine moving to a completely new country.
You don't know what to dial for local and long distance calls, you don't know any street names, directions are given with north, south, east, west - not left and right. You have no idea where to go to shop for certain things, most of the store names are alien to you. Everybody you meet is new to you; your brain rapidly goes into overload with new names and faces to remember. You're driving on the wrong side of the car and the wrong side of the street. The food is very different, products are different, some things you love you can no longer get at all. All the measurements you have known all your life have been thrown out the window; whether it's shoes, clothes, cooking or weight. Everytime you open your wallet you are faced with different currency and coins are very confusing.
I either had to be guided by others, or ask to know just about anything, it was extremely frustrating for a previously highly independant woman. It was also a huge amount of new information for my brain to compute and despite being generally happy, in January 06 I had a big old panic attack and ended up in the ER for a few hours!
I got over that and continued adjusting to my new life. Gradually I learned most of the essentials or made adjustments to accomodate the new stuff into my way of thinking/acting.
Looking back 3 years down the road, I can honestly say I have never fought homesickness, this now feels like home and did so very quickly. My quality of life has improved beyond measure and I am a much happier, less stressed and calmer person.
There are times when I miss family and old friends, but it doesn't happen often and they're just a call away. All in all there's nothing I would do differently, I can't ever imagine returning to the UK, this is home now and I have totally embraced life in the USA.
Now if I could just get the immigration finished!