The dismantling of our life in the UK has begun. The pictures (all 150+ of them!) have come down, the car boot sale is done, much of our stuff has been purged and sorted out, most appliances sold (cannot take anything with a plug due to different electricity in America), the big suitcases and the cat have already traveled to my mother’s place in Germany (where we will spend Christmas), good-byes have been said to some places and those friends we won’t see again before we leave. The house feels empty without the cat and no longer like home. And no matter how often I have done this before and how much this is what we long for, there is always an unsettling sense of melancholy buried in with the excitement.
All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy;
for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves;
we must die to one life before we can enter another.
~ Anatole France
The logistics of an international relocation can be quite challenging, especially when you have no employer assisting you and are also moving a pet and a car and need a new home as well as new jobs. One major piece of the puzzle finally landed in its place a couple of weeks ago: we found a place to live in Bellingham! We actually went down the rather unconventional route of approaching two sellers in a condo complex that we really like and proposing a rent-to-buy deal to them. Because, you know, no job (yet) no mortgage. One of them turned us down but the other accepted our offer! It’s a bright 3-bedroom 1450 sqft top floor corner unit that we had viewed in August during our vacation and it was still on the market now. This condo is a mirror image of the apartment I lived in from 2009-10 and we always loved its cosy yet spacious feel. We still cannot believe that we managed to pull this off and it is a big relief to not only have a place for when our furniture arrive in February but to also not have to move again once we are ready to purchase a home.
My husband is still busy with his current job but is already looking at different professional opportunities in Washington State. He has never left a job without a new one already lined up so this truly is a major leap of faith for him. And I won’t pretend that we don’t have our moments of fear and trepidation in view of the uncertainties our decision has brought forth. But on some level there is also a profound trust that it will all work out and that’s what we’re holding on to.
This relocation is also resulting in a major professional shift for me: I am starting my own business in web design! As my long time readers know, I have always enjoyed tinkering with my website and changing its design with my moods and the seasons. I am a bit of a geek at heart with a strong affinity for technology, something that my employers have also benefited from. When we were in Vancouver last August I met up with my friend Maddie who had just launched a fabulous art studio and asked me to redesign her website and online shop for her classes and workshops. So that’s what I did once we had made our decision and I had left my job. She was thrilled with the result and I thought to myself: If this is the time of big leaps why not take another into a new career, doing something I love and am good at? Phew! Not what I had in mind when I began organising the relocation but like everything else – this just feels so right and I am so excited about this little business of mine! If you are curious check it out here:
My business website http://lattesandmore.com
My friend’s art studio http://luminouselephant.com
My second client project that I just finished http://beccarowan.com
As we are entering into the final stretch of our preparations thoughts about weight loss are never far from my mind. I have regained almost everything I had lost. I am saying almost because I don’t know for sure, I just don’t want to face the scales right now but I can feel it in my body and clothes. Yes, the nerves that want calming are definitely a big part of this as well as the lack of routine and breaking down and packing up of our home. But I am also acutely aware that I am ultimately using these reasons as an excuse to revert to all my old patterns of numbing and comfort eating. As I was mulling all this over and over in my mind the other day I suddenly had a revelation:
THIS IS MY NORMAL.
Tuning out. Ice cream. No meal planning. No exercise. Anxiety. Guilt. Hope. All of this is my normal. Losing weight, being awake and alert and feeling good in my body is not. And then I remembered something: I have always struggled with my finances and especially after I first moved to the UK back in the 90s I went into considerable debt. There was a time, however, when I did have a bit of a windfall from a redundancy, a work incentive scheme and some money that my ex gave me when he sold his flat. I could have and should have invested all this money. But I was clueless at the time. And so I paid off my debts and spent the rest. It took me about a year to go through it all and while I certainly had a nice time it also felt kind of weird and surreal to have money to spend. Eventually it was all gone and I went back into debt. The struggle returned as did the shame and existential fears and I stuck my head back into the sand. Things were finally back to normal. What a relief.
And in a strange way it really was a relief. I know how to navigate the financial and the weight struggles. Tuning out, going with the flow and occasionally coming up for some remedial actions, that is still my normal were my weight is concerned. My finances are much better these days and I have been debt free for a while now. Nonetheless, this still doesn’t feel entirely normal but I am slowly getting used to it and learning to feel good about a positive bank balance. As for my weight loss journey I am not done with it but right now I just don’t have the energy to focus on the changes that I need to make last until they become my new normal. In the end this relocation and all its challenges have become bigger than my desire to loose weight and engage with my demons. They have to wait until we have landed on the other side of this and, of course, they are more than happy to do so!