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Monday, 26 December 2016

No. 68: Into the woods..

“What?!”  I heard my friend exclaim loudly when she heard I was moving to Connecticut.  “But why?” was quickly followed by “I sure hope you can play tennis -- you are going to need it to fit in!”  When I say “heard”, this conversation was actually in text form over the messaging function of Facebook.  My friend, whom I had met during a six year stint in London, had not long relocated to New Canaan was a tad worried for me.  And she was not the only one.  You see, for many, thanks to the movie “The Stepford Wives” aka the land of manicured lawns and ‘artificially engineered’ community, Connecticut equated a town where the women were immaculately glamorous and life revolved around book clubs, bridge, tennis and afternoon cocktails.  All fiction of course!  But in my friends’ mind, I had only lived in bustling cities (Sydney, Kobe, Hong Kong, London and Singapore) and they wondered how I would adjust to life in the ‘burbs.  But I was too busy dealing with everything required for a transatlantic move to dwell on whether or not / how I was going to 'fit in'.  The children were my priority.

Fast forward 18 months and people hearing my accent (apparently a cross between Australian and British) often share how they have always wanted to visit Australia and then ask different variations of “what made you choose to move here?”  If I were to look at my life through their eyes, I guess I would ask the same question.  After all, higher taxes, bigger houses that require more effort and winding roads with no street lights and potential diseases I had never heard of until we landed (ie Lyme).  Meantime, where I once would have not batted an eye if my children approached seemingly placid wildlife (deer, squirrels, chipmunks), now I am like a crazed person warning them of all the potential diseases.  And running through tall grass to watch the fireflies (yes, that was me in the first few months of moving here!), no more.  Call it the fear of Lyme. But I jest.  I am here because I love my husband, our children and our life together.  And so we move where opportunity knocks for my husband. While this is the most ‘country’ I have called home, like everywhere else, the first year is a period of adjustment where you try not to look like a deer in headlights and try to find your ‘village’.  And every year after that, like a good recipe, you tweak and adjust until you feel like you have found your feet – somewhat.

I had written the above nearly a year ago and after hitting a wall, pressed “save” and walked away.  Since then, Matt has left his job in order to start his own financial venture, I took on a role in the clothing business – only to realise it was the wrong fit (no pun intended) and subsequently and organically launched a food business.  Additionally, kismet showed me who my real friends were during these challenging times, forcing me to ‘serve divorce’ papers on those who were not as invested. Meanwhile Faith, my eldest has started driving (another whole new adventure) and is about to graduate from high school and take her first steps into adulthood where she will likely leave home to live in another state to go to university. Cue the tissues for when that happens in a few months time where I will be inconsolable! But it is all good.

Where change, be it a new environment or an adjustment in attitude, can and often is intimidating and painful, once you find your feet – and you always do, it will feel right again.  And you wonder why you were ever afraid to begin with.  Until the next time you have to step out of your comfort zone and into the woods.  By the way, I still have not joined a book club or taken up tennis, bridge or racquet ball.  I do, however, like all good Australians, enjoy a cocktail or two!  Salut!

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