Keeping up a blog while starting a new job, moving to a new country, and trying to find my footing in an entirely new world without my support system was near impossible. I told a coworker of mine that I'd meet his challenge to finally add to the blog again last week. I didn't keep my promise. I had a case of the blues. Unfortunately, the blues can be hard to shake. So I figured I'd write about it. That counts, right?
Let's catch up a little, first. I live in Bath now. Have been since March. I live in a Georgian flat with huge sash windows overlooking the Lansdown area of Bath. It's a steep hill with a road so tricky, even the grocery delivery driver could be heard shouting obscenities while parking here. My place has two bedrooms (one is more like a little office area with a loft). It took a long time to get situated, but I feel like I'm nearly there. My housewarming party is scheduled for Saturday.
It's been a hell of a summer this week. You'd think I hadn't left home. The sun has been bright well into 9 PM. I sit out at the park a lot in front of the Royal Crescent. I like the warmth, I just wish this country were better equipped for it. My office doesn't have air conditioning. Neither does the bus. Neither does the .7 mile walk in direct sunlight back to the bus stop from work. Neither does my 1.2 mile walk home uphill on uneven stone pavement that doubles as a hibachi grill these days.
I don't have a car, by the way. Obtaining one was an entirely more complex situation than I ever would have anticipated. Leasing options? Not a chance. Financing options? Forget about it. Not for an American. My U.S. credit is as useful here as Monopoly money. I can't even get a Debenhams card. That's like being rejected by Kohls. Anyway, I'm waiting on this leasing option to go through. God only knows if and when that will happen.
I've gotten used to some things I hate, like drying my clothes on a hideous rack instead of putting them in a dryer. And my gross hessian carpet. And walking. I like walking now.
I have a favorite restaurant. It's Rustico Italian Bistro, which has the best lasagna ever. It's down the street from my house. I also like Thai Kitchen in Frome.
I have a favorite coffee order. It's the coconut flat white at Costa.
I have a favorite tea. Tick Tock's Red Bush tea. And I top it off with my favorite almond milk by Rude Health.
I have a favorite grocery store. Sainsbury's. I've been told that I sound very American by calling it "Saynz-burries" instead of "Saynz-breez". My dad was calling it "Saynz-berry" :D.
I like Bath a lot. There's so many little shops to explore and buildings to wander around. I'm always finding new parks and bookstores and cafes. I'm glad I picked this city to live in. On warm days I sit outside the Royal Crescent at the park and watch the hot air balloons fly overhead.
I also finally achieved my dream of having a little cat around the house. I could write an entire novel about her, but it's so much easier to express in pictures. She's been a huge help in making me feel better when I'm lonely. She's the goofiest ball of fluff I've ever met. My phone is basically just a tribute to her existence. Meet Piccadilly.
But the blues I've been feeling-- let's come back to that.
I thought it would be easy to make friends here. Before I moved, I was texting a friend(?) I used to work with who was English. He gave me the impression I could basically just show up here, say some American words, and have at least ten friends by EOD. That is absolutely not the case. In fact, even he never talks to me anymore and I have no idea why.
"He never talks to me anymore and I have no idea why" could be the theme of nearly every encounter I've had here in the UK. How have I been ghosted? Let me count the ways.
- I've been stood up for third dates (which is an absolute first).
- 9 out of 10 people I text will take at least 24 hours to reply, even if I was responding to a conversation they started.
- I tried holding a TV night at my house three weeks in a row, since multiple people had expressed interest. By the time Friday would roll around, most people invited would all go silent, cancel if contacted, and only one person (or no one) would still want to come.
- I've been ghosted by multiple people after seeing them nearly weekly and/or talking to them nearly daily for two months.
- I often get very enthusiastic "we should do _____" remarks, so I make plans with whoever enthusiastically said it, only for them to go radio silent on the day.
If there were an award for social rejection, I feel like I could at least pull a silver in the UK.
Do I smell? What social sin am I committing? Do I need to move to a leper colony and leave all the cool kids alone? In all seriousness, though, it's painful. I don't know if anyone realizes how it feels to be on the other end of this. It's not like I'm in my hometown with some backup friends to make plans with. When I get stood up, canceled on, ignored for days on end... I don't have anyone else. I don't have other plans. Those plans were hard enough to find.
It's impossible not to crawl into bed early and lay awake theorizing all the reasons people might not like me here. I already just said it's painful, but I'll say it again anyway, because I feel like it can't be said enough. It's really, really painful.
All in all, despite the car situation and the cooties I'm clearly giving off, life is actually pretty good. I'm glad I moved. I think this place is beautiful and I feel like I have a lot of opportunities here. The few friends I do have are great to be around. Did I mention how awesome Piccadilly is? :)
I miss home, but not the place, just the people. I miss you, people.