You may have noticed I’ve been MIA for a while. It’s been more than two months since I last posted. So, what happened? Life. Life happened.
In my last blog post, I announced that I was moving overseas to America. Well, that day has come and I am now settled in LA. (Disneyland won out. Not that I’ve even had time to go to Disneyland…)
To say I was naïve about just how hard moving overseas would be is an understatement. I feel like I’ve aged about 20 years in the three weeks I’ve been here! I’m not even kidding. I went down to San Diego last week for Thanksgiving with my family, and in one of the photos my aunt, Penny took of me, I noticed my right eye was drooping. “Oh my God!” I yelled. “Did I have a stroke and not even realise it?!”
See, the thing is, in the weeks before I left Sydney, my life was one big farewell party. Literally. I’d never been more popular. I was out almost every day and night, catching up with friends, laughing, having fun, and generally trying not to think too much about the enormity of what I was about to do. Nobody does avoidance like me! Nobody! I knew that if I stopped and actually considered things, there was a very real possibility I wouldn’t get on the plane.
The only time I cried before leaving Sydney was when my 17-year-old cousin, Sini broke down in tears while saying goodbye to me. And this was probably only because she’s some sort of teen witch who has cast a spell on me, causing me to cry whenever she does.
I flew into LA with my mum in tow, and we hit the ground running. Our to-do list was long, and it kept getting longer as I encountered good ol’ American bureaucracy. I won’t bore you with the details, but it was a long, hard slog, and I may have thrown a tantrum or six along the way.
In just three weeks – with the help of my oh-so-patient mum – I’d opened a US bank account, set myself up with a US phone number, found an apartment, signed a lease, fully furnished an apartment, opened electricity and gas accounts, set my apartment up with internet and moved in. Am I missing anything? Probably. So when my dad asked me over the phone if I’d found a job yet, I wanted to punch him in the mouth. He was back in Sydney though, so, you know, geography prevented it.
“People have no idea!” I seethed to Mum. Despite what you’ve seen on Instagram, let me assure you all – this has not been a holiday. I would have uploaded photos of my bank manager or the girl at AT&T, but I didn’t think it was appropriate.
Still, it hadn’t fully hit me. I was still so busy running around, doing stuff, preparing to move, that I hadn’t even had time to think about moving – until yesterday. Last night, my mum flew back to Sydney, and I finally had my “Oh, shit,” moment. (It took a while, but I got there.)
At the last minute, I decided to go out to LAX with Mum to say goodbye. I sat silently in the backseat, staring out the window and crying, all the way from Burbank to LAX (which is a really long drive, by the way, especially in peak hour/post Thanksgiving traffic). After sobbing through one last hug at the airport, I climbed back into the backseat of the black SUV (yes, I’ve gone full Hollywood), and continued to cry all the way back to Burbank. My poor driver (Hector Elizondo in every role he’s ever played) didn’t know what to say or do to make me feel better, so he kindly offered me a bottle of water, allowed me to choose the radio station, and then told me about how much he missed his homeland, Armenia.
After letting myself back into my apartment, the quietness startled me, and that unleashed the big, heaving sobs. I suddenly realised I was all by myself in a big city, and almost everyone I loved was on the other side of the world. What the hell am I doing here?! I even miss my cat, and she’s a bitch.
I’m trying to stay positive, and I know it will get easier, but I’ll be honest – right now, it’s tough. Really tough. The other week, I was at Nordstrom at The Grove. I was at the checkout, making a purchase, and the sales assistant kept telling me how “adorable” my accent is. “I love the Aussie accent!” she said. “You could be swearing and telling me off right now, and I would just think it’s the cutest thing in the world.” We spoke for a while, I told her I was moving here, and she told me to come back and see her if I ever needed a friend. At the time, I thought I’d never see that girl ever again, and now I’m actually considering it.
This morning I woke up and cleaned my already clean apartment, just to keep myself busy, then I checked my long overdue emails and started looking for work. It’s all about keeping myself distracted at this point, so I don’t just curl up in bed with the jar of Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter I bought and continue to cry.
But, I know that sunny days are coming… Aside from the fact I’m in California (which has been having an unusual amount of rain lately), I’m yet to meet anyone who has regretted doing a stint overseas. Everyone I’ve ever spoken to has found their lives enriched by the experience, and say it’s one of the best things they’ve ever done. I’m not there yet, but it’s still early days.