Thursday, November 03, 2005

Getting comfortable

I have drafts of other blogs I plan to write, but I'm not inspired to work on any of them right now. Instead, this is the explanation, and possibly the excuse, for not writing them more frequently.

Having never moved internationally before (welllll, I sort of did when I went to study in Germany, but that was for a short period of time with a known ending), I can't say as I know what to expect in terms of how long it takes to get used to the whole situation. Many people ask me if we're settling in, and it's really hard to say.

You see, at this stage of the game, we're not yet in our own home. Most of our things are in boxes. We're living in a house where there is exactly one table (unless you count the attic, which is cold, but where Richard has set up an office of sorts). This table is where we eat, prepare food, do crafts, write, and work on the laptop if we don't want it on our laps. When there are 4 people, and it is a relatively small table, that's high usage.

Bottom line is that I'm not accomplishing that much and don't feel like I'm getting anywhere. I am a little reluctant to start establishing community ties here, only to move a ways away. By the same token, certain things must happen, and should happen before I find there's no time once I start working. Things like finding the doctor we want, registering Lauren for pre-school, taking Lauren to swimming lessons, possibly taking some courses. It would help to know when it is we will get jobs and move, but becoming a psychic is not on my list of things to do. Perhaps I should go see one.

Some folks might thrive in this sort of environment, where you can't find what you want and you know you have just the thing "in a box somewhere". Where to get anything you have to move several other objects out of the way, because we're so packed in here. Where you hesitate to buy something as simple as a can of food, wondering where you'll put it when you get home. Where you're always sidling by and stepping over toys. And sharing the table. Richard gives me a hard time, saying I should go work in the attic, but that's not all that comfortable for me either. It's his setup, not mine. If I want to do something to a machine, I have to ask, and it always seems like he's never there to ask when I need to.

I think I don't mind moving around, so long as I have the opportunity to set up my own space. But until we have a home of our own, that's not a possibility. So I pitch around, trying to figure out what to do next, wanting to make a phone call but noticing it's the wrong time of day (lunch break or after 5PM for local stuff, middle of the night for overseas stuff). And to make matters worse, my Palm ran out of battery life, the last desktop sync I had seems to be corrupted, but I can't be sure because I can't get the desktop software to run (don't have a machine to run it on that I'm able to really play with), and the later Palm desktop software doesn't read the old format files. So I don't really have people's addresses and phone numbers. It's all very disconnecting.

That is why I haven't really blogged much. Don't get me wrong, I'm not plunging into the depths of depression, I'm more out of sorts or out of sync. But there's so much to discover that I'm not at all bored or depressed. I've been able to spend loads of time with my daughter, which is great. I've read many books. I've completed some knitting projects. I'm getting in better shape, and taking on a new exercise discipline in addition to trying to improve my Pilates. I've gotten to know a few people. We done a little travel and sightseeing. And most importantly, we haven't all shredded each other into little bitty bits, which would have been my fear had someone told me that we'd still be living with my mother-in-law 4 months after arriving.

So, no, I guess we are not settled in, and I don't expect we will until we get a place of our own. And keep those emails coming.


At 2:41 PM, Blogger mtpostediting said...

Hints for living overseas:

1. Buy the following book: Survival Kit for Overseas Living: For Americans planning to live and work abroad. by L. Robert Kohls. 1984. Intercultural Press.

Kohls is an well-known expert in identifying and describing American values. The book is well-written with about 25 small bite-size chapters in a short 100 page book.

2. summary of the book and related articles

I provided a summary of it in the following seminar:

"Values that Americans live by" (May 1993) presented to French members of the Association France-USA in Lyon.

3. sequel article on Working with the French

Working with the French. By Jeff Allen. In the "Guide to Europe", published by MultiLingual magazine. Jan/Feb 2006. Pages 18-21 (Introduction to authors on page 2).

available (4 Mb) at :

These might provide you with some ideas to ponder on in your new adventure overseas.

At 7:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Post more! I enjoy reading about your experiences in "internationalization" in a non-technical setting. You write well!


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