Ladies and Gents…
Happy Anniversary to me! Santé. Prost. Saluti. CHEERS.
Whoaah. Exciting time. June 9, 2018 just happened. The day I arrived in this vast continent of North America and call it my “new home” happened exactly two years ago.
I know, I’m a few days late to write a post here. But you can’t blame me, since I have a really good excuse. We went to Wisconsin because my sister in law moved there. For a new and exciting chapter of her life. I also experienced my longest road trip ever.
We were on the road for two days. Had a stopover in Dubuque, Iowa and on our way back in Palmyra, Missouri. It was a fun ride with a U-Haul going to Wisconsin. Speaking of Wisconsin, it was my first time there.
I love the idea that on my second year in the USA, I am in a new state and just near and facing Canada.
I also get to spend the day with my in-laws and of course with my wonderful husband. Feasting on Wisconsin cheese and super creamy Wisconsin ice cream. I am not kidding. Wisconsin is the “dairy state” in the whole country. It’s so cold there during the winter and just like any other Midwestern state, they have abundance of cows.
It didn’t help I am crazy with anything dairy. I love dairy so much.
Okay. Time to stop talking about food.
I kept saying time flies because it really is. It kinda makes me feel old but in a good way. I’m happy for the gift of being here for two years now. The first year was both exciting yet tough. Leaving my family wasn’t easy. In fact, the hardest I’ve ever done. But you just got to.
I didn’t have a choice because it has always been the choice. That’s what Keanu Reeves answered on Reddit once when he was asked if how did he realized he wanted to become an actor.
Something along those lines makes me nod looking at how my life now turned out to be. It resonates strongly to me. It was a whirlwind when I met my husband then I was just whisked away in a different continent with Western culture.
I know I wasn’t the first one. There were so many who experienced this before me. Thinking at that time, it must be five times tougher to them. There was no Messenger at that time, phone calls were scarce and expensive especially if it’s long distance. Just imagine that. I am beyond lucky.
Two years happened really fast because I am enjoying living here. Of course, there are few observations and realizations that I would love to share.
Moving in a new country with four seasons is exciting but very different from someone who came from a tropical country who’ve never seen a snow. The sunset and sunrise are also confusing at first. They happen at different times depending on the season. The seasons with 4 months each makes the year unfold fast.
Previously, in the Philippines. It was the month of December and January that makes me feel “oh, the year is ending… boy, that was fast!” Here: There is a continuous change. Enjoy each season. Individually, they have a lot to offer, each is special and fun in their own way. Do the activities only that season can bring. Changing of clothes are also another way to show “Joie de vivre”.
Gardening is amazing here. Thank you universe for spring. Finding yourself in a western country, again from a tropical paradise will give you exciting opportunities that wasn’t there before. Why? It wasn’t possible to just grow them there under the blazing heat of the sun. Tulips and daffodils would shy away from that.
I fell in love with gardening recently. It was made possible because my father in law is a great farmer. I learned a lot from him. He made it all easy for us and of course gave us a lot of plants to play with in our own front yard. It amazes me until now that I’m growing my very own “dream plants” like lavender, Cherry Blossom tree and a huge collection of herbs like parsley, basil, rosemary, cilantro and thyme. They are in pots so I can still have access to them the whole year round.
I was crazy a few years ago about having my own herbal garden. Who would’ve thought right now that I am living the dream?
I know, this is not a surprise. My English speaking ability also improved. It is smoother according to my husband. I also don’t have difficulty that much anymore when it comes to listening or hearing them. I can pick up and follow every word they say now. I can clearly understand them and can answer immediately. Something that was a little tricky to me at first when I just got here. Native English speakers as you know don’t sound like us who learned English from school.
If you are worried about language barriers. It will help greatly to try to talk to the locals as much as possible or your neighbors, or someone who you can have conversations with. Your accent doesn’t matter that much to them as long as you can express yourself freely. And they can hear clearly or follow your words. Give yourself time to adjust. There is really nothing to worry, period. You will just naturally pick-up the language of your surroundings.
A friendly reminder: The local language here uses simple English words. Just try not to sound like a book or a walking dictionary. The everyday English language here is very casual – relaxed. They will find you weird if you try to sound like a lawyer. If you’re not one, don’t try to be. Just have normal casual conversations. The nuances of the language like sarcasm is something I’m still working on. But hooray, they get it. They will get you. Ask if there is something you don’t understand. They will love to explain it to you.
Homesickness is gone. Of course, it’s not a hundred percent gone. Sometimes I do feel lonely but it wasn’t a big deal anymore. It comes in waves, little doses that a good Filipino food that I’ve prepared and cooked myself can now cure. Or with a funny YouTube video about Filipinos or our cultural idiosyncrasies.Watch the comedian Jo Koy and you will know what I mean. Rice is Rice or why there are so many Filipino nurses out there.
The first year was also kinda stressful when you’re waiting anxiously of your green card. You almost can’t really go anywhere. The entry visa you hold is already expired the second you stepped in out of the airport.
I think I finally started enjoying or felt truly living here when it arrived. It brought me a huge peace of mind. Knowing that I can freely live here and of course doing it legally. That I have been accepted and allowed. Not everyone can have the same opportunities – unfortunately. Of course, another big reason is that I can now visit my home country – my beloved Philippines.
I absolutely did this year. Last January and February, so patience my dears. For those who can’t, we can still show our love in our own little ways from afar. Brave the storm and you will be rewarded.
The first six months was insane. Now, I barely remember it. It will help if you go out and see things a lot more than just being cooped up inside the house. If you know how to drive, I suggest get a car and learn to drive. So you can go and see places. The new becomes familiar, that way you’ll feel you belong in no time.
Not an outsider nor an outlander. A tourist perhaps but still NOOOO!
You really belong here. This is your new home. No matter how different you are.
Time will being the greatest healer of all will keep the homesickness at bay. One day, one morning, you will wake up and finally feel that everything isn’t brand new anymore. All the nooks and crannies in your city, in your house will be something you know like in a palm of your hand.
And just know that if others can, you also can. Beginnings are meant to be hard. They are destined to mold you more as a person.
There are many more realizations I have of course. But I want to keep them to myself for now. I want you to discover them on your own. Experience them on your own. Create your own flavor from your new experiences. Write your own signature. This is the beauty of life. Each of us have our own unique perspectives.
Writing your own journal. This is where I got the idea and so voila this blog was born.
Hoping it can help you in the most surprising yet little ways.
By the way, we will be also celebrating our second wedding anniversary this 23rd of June. This month is really exciting for us. It is also the first half of the year. Summer today but then it will be fall then winter. Okay, I am getting ahead of myself again lol. I think you know what I mean.
It’s better to be moving forward than be left behind, stuck while everyone is moving on. Time is definitely our friend, folks. Every year has surprises for us, just like each season.
If there is one big thing that I have learned from moving in a new country. It is to be open and not be fearful of change. “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change.” – Heraclitus
Being afraid of change is being afraid of live and living itself. So please don’t be. You aren’t alone. We are all in this together.
On a final note, precisely today I decided that my ultimate truth, my greatest motto in life would be: “Simple Living, Higher Thinking!” I will talk more about this on my “Anna’s Unicorns” category one of these days.
Santé. Prost. Saluti. CHEERS.
To two years!
What an amazing ride… I’m also excited of what’s to come. More surprises in the future to all of us.
Thank you for reading my journey and for being here. I deeply appreciate it.