Sunday, October 25, 2009

(No astrology).SUNDAY SUPPLEMENT ~ Remembering a life change.....

It's exactly 5 years since I arrived in the USA to live here permanently. Looking back, I realise that it was one of those situations where I'd had to switch to mental auto-pilot. I do a similar thing sometimes at the dentist's or doctor's office, a useful habit of blocking out peripheral stuff, and thoughts in the subjunctive, about things that could possibly go wrong; retaining focus on a time in the near future with awkwardness gone. I stayed that way for a while, then, one day the enormity of the move hit me. I was worried. My husband was worried. Adding even more chaos to an already daunting situation, we decided to move house from my husband's home of many years. That occupied my mind and blocked out the nerves for a while. I took two brief visits back to the UK in the spring and fall of the next year, which helped a lot. I haven't been back to England since.

I've now got the hang of light switches being "up" for "on"; it's the opposite in the UK. I no longer go to the driver's door to get to the passenger seat, because for my hardwiring, in the US the driver sits on the "wrong" side. I'm still, even now, finding it difficult to use American terms for things like taps (faucets), car boot (trunk), footpath (sidewalk) and so on. American spelling comes and goes in my writing, depending on where, when and to whom it's directed. I'm not going to worry about stuff like that - I kid myself that it'll all add to my (ahem) old world..... charm.

Much cursing and complaining accompanied a four-year, very frustrating, trek through the US immigration process to citizenship. I'm thankful the trek is behind me now. If I'd known in 2004 what I know now, would I have tried to persuade my husband to stay in England with me? I often think I should have done. I'd have missed such a lot by so doing though, even if I could have succeeeded. The USA is a vast and beautiful land - can't help but love it. I've left my shadow among the petroglyphs in Arizona's Painted Desert, stood inside The Alamo, explored the Anasazi dwellings at Mesa Verde, explored the wonderful Rocky Mountains National Park, beautiful Santa Fe, travelled in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming. Who'd have thunk it? And there's still more adventuring to be done.

Some attitudes here continue to rankle though, and I still have to perfect a way to ignore what irritates me most. "Take the rough with the smooth" the best advice for me I guess.

Emigration from my homeland was probably my destiny - my fate. A fortune teller told my mother, when I was still in early teenage, that I'd marry a foreigner and end my life abroad. I remembered it, but didn't ever really believe the last part. Marrying a foreigner wasn't difficult - I did it twice! I'd toyed with the idea of spending my retirement in Spain, but deep down knew that was not much more than a pipe dream.

If I could, would I go back to England? I ask myself this sometimes, then realise it's all hypothetical and hypothetical questions can be dangerous and misleading. There's nothing there for me, my family and loved ones are all gone. My family is here now. I can't go back, and that's good.

Scuffling through an old purse the other day I came across a card bought just before I left England. It bears this piece of prose by Vicki Silvers; I read it over and over then, and again in my early days here in the US. I'll copy it. Perhaps a passing reader who is also on the brink of a big life change might find it helpful:

"There comes a time in your life when you realise that if you stand still, you will remain at this point forever. You realize that if you fall and stay down, life will pass you by. Life's circumstances are not always what you might wish them to be. The pattern of life does not necessarily go as you plan...

Beyond any understanding, you may at times be led in different directions that you never imagined, dreamed, or designed. Yet if you had never put any effort into choosing a path or trying to carry out your dream, then perhaps you would have no direction at all.

Rather than wondering about or questioning the direction your life has taken, accept the fact that there is a path before you now. Shake off the "why's" and "what if's", and rid yourself of confusion. Whatever was - is in the past. Whatever is - is what's important. The past is a brief reflection. The future is yet to be realized. Today is here.

Walk your path one step at a time - with courage, faith and determination. Keep your head up and cast your dreams to the stars. Soon your steps will become firm and your footing will be solid again. A path that you never imagined will become the most comfortable direction you could ever have hoped to follow.

Keep your belief in yourself and walk into your new journey. You will find it magnificent, spectacular, and beyond your wildest imaginings."


anyjazz said...

It's a good insightful piece, Twilight. It took a lot of courage for you to take the direction you did. I'm proud of you.

Who is your marvelous photographer?

pbb said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your thoughts on this Twilight, having been through some of it myself. It's made me think about my own experiences again - the US still haunts me - i often dream i still live there. I think you're right about staying. I'm glad i wasn't able to to visit the uk after i'd left it - that must be so hard. I'm back in the UK now for good i expect, but i feel like part of me will always love and feel right in Chicago.
Lovely to hear your thoughts on it. I will follow them :-)

Wisewebwoman said...

Thanks for this post, T. so heartfelt and well written. Recently, I, too, have questioned my move across Canada to NL. But bottom line is I wouldn't have it any other way.
I love the prose you quoted. What is life without giant leaps into the unknown?

Kaleymorris said...

I have one very selfish reason for being glad you made this change, but I have often wondered about the price you have paid and where the balance is. For as happy and better-kept as Himself has become, you have suffered woefully from the effects of this foreign air and the bumpkins who live here.
I worry about you and hope the positives continue to outweigh the negatives.
I admire you. You have made an enormous change that hasn't always been fun, persevered in a process that seemed determined to outwit you.
I am delighted that you are here, hope you never change the way you speak, spell or think.
I hope the next five years are smoother.

Twilight said...

Anyjazz ~~ Well, I had the right person holding my hand - that's the secret! :-)

Oh! - I forgot to mention the photographer - the first one was from my own camera (I think), the second was from my husband's fancy Nikon - yours.

Twilight said...

pbb ~~~ Hello there! I'm glad you found it interesting, and do appreciate your kind comment.

I've only been to the airport in Chicago, but I often think that if I had to live in a big US city, Chicago would be good and something akin to British northern cities where I always feel at home. :-)

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Glad you liked it, and that you can relate!

Yes, those life leaps can be disconcerting, but without them we'd stagnate and cease to grow, I suppose. :-)

Twilight said...

Kaleymorris ~~~ Hi!
Thank you for your lovely comment.
It's partly thanks to you and the rest of the clan that I've survived here. Had I found myself part of a different clan, I suspect the story would have a very different ending!

The allergen-filled air and the "bumpkin" input can't be changed, so it'll have to be lived with - that's the bit I still need to perfect. Maybe over the next 5 yrs. I'll grow an immunity to both. ;-)

Dunyazade said...

End your life abroad:

- do you have the IC in Aquarius, I wonder?

And what's the sign in your 8th house cusp? Or the sign of your 8th house ruler?

I ask too much, sorry.

Twilight said...

Dunyazade~~ Hello again!

Natally my Aquarius Sun was in 8th house. Relocated to Oklahoma USA, Aquarius is on the ascendant. :-)

As far as I know though, the fortune teller who gave my Mum that prediction didn't have access to my natal chart, other than, perhaps knowing my birthday. I think she was a psychic, or maybe a tarot reader or palmist, but certainly not an astrologer.

anthonynorth said...

Those are inspiring words. You've been on quite a journey. As I see it, what is right for the person at the time is right.

Twilight said...

anthonynorth ~~~ Yes - I guess so! :-)

R J Adams said...

I began a comment on this post, but it got too long - so I turned it into a post on Sparrow Chat:

Mark said...

Greetings! Interesting. Where's your Sagittarius &/or 9th house to account for this?

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~~ I'll be on my way to read it in a mo! Thanks. :-)

Twilight said...

Mark ~~` Hi there!
I have Venus in Sagittarius, in 6th natally. Jupiter in Pisces in

I suppose that kind of fits astrologically, doesn't it!

I'm still amazed at a fortune teller getting it right so long ago, without benefit of a natal chart. :-)

Jo said...

Hi Twighlight,
I've come over from Sparrow Chat - thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, and also that wonderful piece - I am on the teetering edge of a major life change (my husband and I emigrate from the UK to New Zealand next week), and it sums up so much more eloquently than I can the feelings that I have and the reasons for me wanting to move.
Do you mind if I borrow it to put on my blog?

Twilight said...

Jo - Hello there. Nice to "see" you!

Oh - please, yes do use it. I'm so glad it was helpful to you, I'd hoped it might strike a chord with someone else.

And my warmest wishes for a smooth journey , hitchless move and very happy future in NZ.