I leave for Beijing on Thursday, and the packers came last Friday. Immediately after they left, I freaked. A friend on Facebook commented, “Jeri, it wouldn’t be a move if you weren’t freaking out before you left!”
This is my fourth international move, and I suppose it’s easier in that I’m not freaking out as much, but still. You’d think it would be old hat by now, some 13 years later. But it’s not. This move I’m worrying about rent, worrying about the dog, worrying about pollution, worrying that in going to such a top school, I’ve finally “met my match,” and will not live up to their expectations.
The thing is, I hate change. Hate not knowing how to do basic things like shopping for groceries, hate not knowing how to get around, hate the uncertainty and self-questioning. It’s a physically uncomfortable feeling for me, a queasiness in my gut that lasts for weeks, and I just want to be over and done with.
Of course, it only disappears with time, and the irony is that that very discomfort is the main reason I keep forcing myself to do this. I hate change, but I think it’s good for me to be kicked out of my comfort zone on a regular basis, that I grow as a person each time I confront these issues.
That’s the belief, anyway. Whether it’s true or not? Certainly to some extent. It’s almost legend by now that I cried myself to sleep every night for 3 months when I first went to Turkey. I wouldn’t finally break down, admit I was staying and settle in until January that first year.
Mongolia, while it was touch and go all year, I had pretty much settled and stopped the sobbing by the end of three weeks. Progress, definitely!
But I’m not very proud of my response to Mongolia. Rather than admitting it wasn’t for me, but embracing the experience for the time I was there, I went into a two year pout–refusing to learn any of the language, and basically just counting down to leaving day. It was my version of a two year temper tantrum.
Of course, it was pretty darned difficult and expensive to get around; still, I could have done better.
Live and learn, right?
Thus, here is my vow for my new journey:
1. Learn the damned language! : )
2. Whatever your response, embrace the experience! It’s friggin’ China, for Pete’s sake! Get out and explore for the time you’re there.
3. Be the intrepid adventurer everyone thinks you are. I’m sooo not! I always kind of laugh to myself when someone tells me how “brave” I am for doing all this. Far from it! Not for me, those journeys to unexplored villages, living in dodgy huts and eating insects with the locals! I like my creature comforts! Half my excess baggage contains Starbucks coffee beans, quinoa, maple syrup and other “necessities.”
So, despite my current state of vague, low-grade nausea (and I haven’t even left yet!), I shall persevere! Let Mongolia be a lesson in how NOT to react, and learn to develop better coping strategies
Gerald told me the other day, “You never bother with the small changes; you go right for the big ones.”
This move, I aim to be the kind of person that suggests I am.