6 months ago this week I moved to the US. 5 months ago yesterday I married the love of my life. 2 years ago last month I began my journey as a freelancer. However, I am learning that timelines are purely just measures for growth. 2 years ago I was getting ready to board a plane alone, to a place I had no knowledge of. 6 months ago I did the seemingly impossible, left my family, friends and entire life and business behind to move to a new place. 5 months ago I went into marriage thinking I loved my partner at the ultimate capacity. Yet, I have exceeded all expectations of myself and broken any bounding thoughts on what it has meant to exist.
I get asked frequently how it felt to move countries. I am asked how the transition was, how it felt getting thrown into so many things at once; marriage, moving cities, moving countries, leaving my family, rebuilding a sustainable business. My answer is usually; "it was tough, but I'm doing okay now". I usually emphasise how I'm feeling now, because the last 6 months have been some of the hardest and most beautiful months of my life. I just transitioned out of both a very amazing season of my life, as well as a very difficult.
I moved to the US on November 16th. I dreadfully said farewell to my family at the airport and choked back tears, without looking back. I wheeled my luggage cart with 5 suitcases (everything I owned) to find my gate to board my plane. I was so disoriented and emotional I thought I had gotten the times and dates mixed up because I couldn't find my gate; I was too early to board. The process boarding the plane, passing customs at Honolulu Airport, rechecking in my bags, knowing everything I owned was in a few bags and I waited in the airport for a 6 hour layover. Flying in LAX to meet David at the airport was one of the strangest feelings. I was saying hello with no more need to say goodbye to him. But I had just experienced one of the biggest goodbyes, and that was to my mother, brother and other loved ones.
When we moved back to Portland on January 1st after spending Christmas in Los Angeles, I felt this huge weight both lift off my shoulders, and this deep sadness seep in my soul. FINALLY, David and I had a home. Together. In the same city. We secured our dream apartment in our favourite neighbourhood, finally started the process of furnishing a house (we both had literally nothing), but the lack of sunshine and the endless rain really made it harder to do anything, and I missed my family and my freedom. The first two months were hard. Most of my days were spent inside our house, cooking, cleaning, entertaining the kitty we adopted, and sleeping. I was depressed. I had little-no close friendships in Portland, I knew very little people in the creative industry, I wasn't allowed to drive a car, work, couldn't even have my own bank account; the restrictions of immigration were weighing in on me hard and most days I struggled to get out of bed.
At the same time as this, I was explored the new world of being married and living and settling down in one city after traveling and being unsettled for so many years. I was experiencing SO much happiness. Having two completely juxtaposed feelings weighing on me 24/7 was taxing on my body and my mind. February ended and March rolled in and my year suddenly went from almost completely empty, to almost completely booked with wedding work. The sunshine started slowly making appearances and I met a few creatives and started the journey of redeveloping friendships from scratch (something I have always struggled with as an introvert); my 20th birthday finally rolled around and I was starting to feel more like myself. The months prior then seemed like a blur.
The winter rain is a tease. Talk to any Portlander and they will tell you this winter was the worst we've ever had. I had nothing to compare it to. Friends and family kept telling me I was feeling sad because of the weather; seasonal depression. I used this as an excuse to avoid what my heart was trying to process and what it was telling me. After spending a large portion of every afternoon in the bathtub trying to process my feelings, it hit me; I was healing. I wasn't sad, I was processing. The tears, the sadness, the happiness, the disarray was my hearts way of healing from the past 20 years of my life. I was finally in a safe place, I had security, I was with someone who was kind and who treated me with respect and showed me I was safe with him. All things I had never truly experienced, and my heart was cleansing itself of all of the hurt it held inside. The nightmares, the anxiety, the tears, all signs of my healing. David would hold me for hours, until I would be okay again, then we would both continue our day. God was using this transition time to heal my heart because it was finally time, and I was finally safe to do so.
The healing process finally slowed down and my productivity levels increased, energy started increasing and I had friends. Months had passed, and I was able to look back and use the time as a measure for how I was doing. I could literally see myself getting better every day. 6 months later, and I still have my moments of missing home and the place I have always known to be my home, but not only now do I have a home, but I have a place of rest (and it has taken me 6 months to learn that those two definitely do not always go hand in hand). The sunshine has started sticking around, I can feel warmth in my skin, I have real day to day things to look forward to. But more-so than that, it now feels normal to be safe and secure, as opposed to feeling uncertain of security.
I don't know how I made it through the last 6 months. I feel like an entirely different person to who I was when I landed at LAX 6 months ago. Every single day, God shows me that I set limitations on myself and don't ever see what I am capable of. I am learning more and more to humbly approach my day to day struggles with patience and trust that I am in good hands, and that I am protected by people who care for me and most importantly, that my capacity for growth and excellence is far beyond my expectations.
Here's a friendly PSA to you and a note to myself; you are capable of far beyond what you limit yourself to. I genuinely didn't know how I was going to settle in to a new life overseas, and although it hasn't been easy, I am finally thriving for the first time in my life. I have used my day to day life as a measure to look back at and see my progress.
Transitions are definitely not easy. Someone once told me that Summer & Winter are both stable seasons; predictable even. The transition seasons Autumn & Spring are just preparation for summer & winter. Summer isn't a transition for Autumn and Winter isn't a transition for Spring. Summer and Winter are on two ends and Autumn and Spring just aid in those seasons. Autumn means the life starts to fade away, there is wind, the nights are brisk, and it helps us acclimate to colder weather. Spring brings new life, the days become warmer, and it acclimates us to warmer weather. Without the Spring and Autumn, our bodies would go into shock. Just like the seasons we go through in life, sometimes the transitional seasons are just designed to prepare us for the future and for the season to come. And seasons don't stick around. And I am ready for whatever this next season is, because I've finally acclimated.