A year ago I moved from my home in NYC to live in the paradise of the Cote d'Azur. I was keen on the idea, welcoming the change. I had been doing well in my career but was open to finding a new passion to pursue. And getting away from the winters to live along the sea was a big sell!
Well, during this year, I've been struggling a lot with finding my new happiness. In such a paradise I feel I have no reason to feel unhappy, but I do. Doing a little forum searching I see it's not uncommon for Expats to go through a bit of unsettling, a little depression, some confusion, etc., while finding their feet in the new environment. With the language barrier, the customs barrier, the lack of familiarity, the distance of family and long standing friendships, and the lack of career fulfillment, life can be tougher than one perceives it will be.
I feel like I've been contemplating the "new" me for months. But, I've finally started to really feel like I'm making a list of things I want to include in my life, from possible professional activities, exercise and sports interests, cultural activities to pursue, even volunteering opportunities. The list is currently in pencil and gets rearranged, erased, and added to from time to time.
The main problem I run up against, or maybe that's my excuse, is the language barrier. Say I decide I want to return to school and become a child psychologist. Well, I'd have to be really fluent in french to be able to communicate with the children well. To understand the nuances of what they were saying and to speak back to them with such nuances to say what I want in a way that isn't so direct. The way good psychologists talk in circles, questioning and directing you without you realizing. This darn language issue even keeps me from pursuing a true love of mine, horse back riding lessons. I'm afraid they'll only speak French and I'll constantly be lost. Again, most likely just an excuse, but it keeps me from diving in all the same. None of this would be the case if we had moved to London. But it rains there alllll the time. Heck, right now as we're sunny and 90ish, they're cloudy, rainy, and 65ish.
And then there's the realization that some of my sadness is because I don't have my "wine therapy" friends. Those friends that you can sit on the couch with or go to a good margarita bar with and spill all and vent and feel comfortable with doing so. You support each other and let each other have a good cry when it's needed without any judging. The ones that know your crabby side and still love you. Let you take two weeks to finally get around to returning their call and still love you. I miss you girls!
Anyway, my list keeps getting worked on and soon I hope I'll be brave enough to start tackling it in reality. And maybe I'll find a "wine therapy" friend here, someone who actually stays living here longer than six months, and feel a little more at home. It's not as easy as I thought to start a new life in a place so different than the one I've know for over forty years. But I'm still willing to give it a try.
We'll look back on this post in a year and see where I've gotten to....
(all pics taken from my terrace by me, and maybe the husband)
***After writing this I found an article I would like to share....http://www.mondaymorningmemo.com/newsletters/read/1981, it's sort of about finding your passion or better yet, doing something about it. Enjoy.