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So here's the thing:

I have no idea if I have made any of the correct decisions regarding this move. Perhaps I did this whole thing too fast. I mean, I had the idea to apply for a visa to the UK and then sent my application and money in three days later. I ended up sitting in my flat in Seafield less than two months after that. Considering the amount of paperwork involved in not only moving myself to the UK, but also moving a puppy, that did not leave a lot of time for second thoughts. I don't really know what I expected moving away to be like, but the one thing I was counting on is that "Travel Jenna" would arrive in spectacular fashion. That has not happened. Maybe she is still wandering around Rome, I'm not sure, but she is definitely not in Scotland.

I have tried to make a decent start. I found a local soccer team that invited me to practice with them; I got a job; I figured out the transit system and ticked off the final administrative things I needed to do for my visa. I even bought vegetables at the grocery store. So how come it is 7:40am and I have been awake for several hours because I am so anxious about going to work today? Sure, it's a new job and that is scary, but that doesn't account for all of my feelings. I did not go to soccer practice last night because I just needed to go to bed, and I am jealous of my dog right now because today his only task is to lay on the floor.

Let's just be honest here. I am sad. I am very lonely and I am second-guessing every decision I have ever made. I have learned a lot about myself and how to be happy over the last couple of years, and this is not cutting it. I want to quit this job, and I want to come home and hug everyone and go sit by the ocean. However, I am also terrified of looking back on this later and feeling like I did not use this opportunity properly. So that means that I am just very very confused.

And here's another thing: I feel guilty even typing this out, because on paper I have done exactly what I wanted to do. I took my puppy and moved to the UK. How many times, whenever I was stressed in Victoria, did I say "I could just move away and work in a coffee shop or something". Well, guess what? I moved away and got a job at a coffee shop. Now what? But am I even allowed to say that? Sure, this all happened quickly, but as I kept saying, Scotland was a pretty "on brand" decision for me. And I spent a lot of money to make this happen. Therefore, I feel like I am obligated to enjoy this experience and definitely not complain about it in blog form for the whole internet to read.

Here is what I want to do: I want to take Jasper for walks around the Scottish countryside. I want to test all the coffee shops in Edinburgh and find out which one is the best place to read a book. I want to explore little towns in the UK and take a trip to Germany in December to visit the Christmas markets. But, those are "travel" things and not "living somewhere else" things. Living somewhere else means working a minimum wage job so I can buy Jasper dog food, right? But does living somewhere else mean coming home from said minimum wage job and immediately going to bed, and then waking up in the morning to do that again? In that case, I could have saved myself a lot of money and done that at home. So if I am being slightly more realistic, but also trying to accomplish what I had in mind for Scotland in the first place, here is what I want to do: I want to take Jasper for walks around the Scottish countryside. I want to enrol in a photography course at the college nearby and document my time here. I want to write a book. I want to learn how to live on my own and be self-sufficient, because I don't want this experience to have been a waste of time. But regardless of what I do, I don't want to have Scotland, or living abroad, or being on my own tainted by being miserable. And I definitely do not want to feel like I am wasting time or opportunities.

I want to make it very clear that I know how fortunate I am. Not many people have the time or the resources to do what I have done. I was able to work around my one major fluffy responsibility by bringing him with me. And I know that a certain level of anxiety and loneliness is unavoidable under these circumstances. So I am sorry for sitting here and ranting about this, but I needed to stop these thoughts from swirling around my head.

So here's the thing: how do I make this better? Wearing my Harry Potter sweater and buying a mug shaped like a whale are not doing the trick. Maybe I just need to suck it up - I don't know. Who has suggestions? Who can mail me a hug? Who knows if I will delete this when I get home from work today?

I am out of words and I need to make coffee. I hope everyone has a good day, or at least sees a cute dog. Sorry for complaining.



Posted by jennamiller 03:55

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No apologies needed. Be concerned? Sure. But there is perspective fir everything. Change involves challenge. I know you are up for this. But give yourself some time to adjust. Go for shorter walks. Check out your own coffee shop. Start writing the book, but in bullet form. And keep your eyes open for opportunity. Go find a beach and start journaling. Jenna - live in the moment. Victoria will always be here. Don’t hurry back. I think you’d regret it.
Give Lassie a hug for me.

by Griff

Good morning (evening?) to my favourite west coast niece! Sorry for the lapse in communication but I have been moving (wait until you see my new pad!) which has also left me with an aching back. Aging is not for the weak, let me tell you!

Jenna ... the first word that comes to mind whenever I think of you (besides the obvious 'smart' and 'strong' and 'beautiful') is BRAVE. Oh my, what a brave girl you are. Take pause for a moment and think back on the things you have done by yourself and for yourself. Travel and university, to name two major ones. If you think that both those things are just average and normal, you are so wrong.

You are a mere 22 years young, and yet you have faced your dreams and your demons and hit them head on. Oh, to have had the courage at your age to head across the world and check those boxes off my bucket list. It is such a challenge for me to be brave enough to do that at 40(ish) ... haha ... never mind half a lifetime ago.

Sometimes when we have dreams and we follow through with them they don't turn out exactly the way we envisioned, but that doesn't mean it's not a worthwhile experience. If absolutely nothing else, you will always know that you were brave enough to follow through and find out. I commend you for that. I admire you for that.

(This post is too long so I have to do a second one)

by Auntie Wendy

Now for some practical advice. Stay. You don't need to stay for two years or even one year. But just stay for now and put all your energy into figuring out how to give it a really good go and to have a happy experience, however long or short that may be. That means it is all on you ... you need to not skip soccer practice. And after soccer you need to straight up pick a player and say "Hey, I'm a wee bit tired of hanging at home by myself all the time. What do you do in your spare time? Care to go for a hike with me on the weekend?" Then you do the same thing at work. Those friends will introduce you to more friends .... you know the drill.

There is one thing I have learned for sure in my lifetime ... Happiness is a choice, not a feeling. Sometimes it takes more work to find it (join a club, be the one to ask others out) but it is always there. You just need to be persistent in finding it. Also, it is almost never found at home alone in bed except for the occasional days where it is dreamy to just rest.)

Anyway, Jen .... stay for awhile and pursue happiness with all you have. Home is always here for you. You are never really alone because we are all here loving you just as we did when you were living here. There is always a place to come home to, but for now ... follow your dream with everything in you. Give it a solid shot. And when you come home (and you will) you will look back on the time with pride and fond memories.

I love you. I admire your courage. xox

by Auntie Wendy

Big hugs Jenna! There is no reason to apologize for sharing your feelings - you are 'allowed' to feel anything you feel, and 'allowed' to share those feelings in any way you want. Give yourself some credit for what you have already accomplished, and remember that a new place is exhausting in ways that you may not even have fully realized. How much harder is it to go to the grocery store and make a new decision on every little item, if you can't find the brands you know you like and enjoy? You may have had to make changes for everything from the breakfast cereal you eat to the brand of cookie you relax with. It can take a lot out of you, even if it seems trivial.

My suggestion, as already mentioned by others, is to throw yourself into activities, and be the one that initiates hanging out. You already have an advantage - you are the interesting foreign woman with the weird accent. If it helps, treat a commitment to soccer practice as another 'job' where it is mandatory to attend - it may seem a silly suggestion, but it means you will be out with people you already have something in common with. Eventually it won't be a 'job' but will be something you look forward to.

Also, what about other activities you may never have considered at home? An agility class with Jasper? Creative writing classes or workshops (community based, not university classes)? Touch rugby? Cooking classes? Rambling clubs where you can take Jenna and explore the countryside? You can try so many new things, and although not all of them will be winners, you will make new contacts and friends, and they will have their own suggestions.

Don't hesitate to ask people what they would recommend you experience in their city - ask everyone from the soccer folks to your workmates to someone you may chat with at a coffee shop. People love to show off their city, and they may have some very unusual suggestions.

Remember - you are already succeeding because you are already there!

by Auntie Diane

Hi Jenna,
It looks to me like writing about this, as you have done, was exactly what you needed to do. In the process, you have already decided on a "slightly more realistic" approach. As you said, travel and living are two very different things, but with your weekends off you can still plan all sorts of little adventures and you will always have something to look forward to while you try to decipher a Scottish accented velvety flat white or rich cortado.

by Brett

You took a big step out of your comfort zone to attempt something like this and you have to remember that you’re brand new to the country/continent and that it will take a little more time to adjust. It helps if you establish a routine to get through your day-to-day activities - you’ll fall into a groove at work and then can spend your time looking forward to the weekend/time off where you can have some “me time.” Whether that looks like exploring Edinburgh with Jasper, jetting off for a quick jaunt through the rest of Europe, or simply watching Netflix, you’ll find what works for you in that current week and have something to look forward to. Try not to think too far ahead and enjoy some time in the moment - before you know it, you’ll have a group of travel/drinking buddies and you’ll think back on your time of feeling uncertain and laugh! Set some goals/milestones for yourself and concentrate on those. You don’t need to conquer the whole world right away, take everything week by week and I guarantee you’ll be on your way to feeling better!


Brendan Miller #15

by Brendan

You and I have already talked a lot about this - I second everything your very smart family members (I'll include Griff :) ) have put down here. Life is accomplished in pieces, not all at once. Make memories. You can only do this by giving yourself more time. Do things you enjoy - work is just there to facilitate the fun times :). Initiate friendships and explore the countryside. Before you know it you'll be posting about how hard it is to come home. xox <3

by Mom

I know we haven't talked in a very long time so this is out of the blue, but as someone who has definitely not travelled as much, but who has lived in another country for four years, and is now starting to live in the UK for another four years (at least) I can very much sympathise with how you're feeling right now. I don't know if I have practical suggestions but I can sympathise so hard, and offer lots of love/support (and if you ever wanna send me a message just go for it!)
It is so terribly, terribly lonely when you start out someplace new. Even I have the luxury of going to school for meeting people but I'm definitely questioning how I ever managed to make friends in the past with how utterly incapable I felt these past two weeks (three weeks? how long have I been here??) starting in Oxford. I don't even have real classes to make friends in, just an office and a lot of 3D bird bone models.
It's gonna be a slow process no matter what opportunities you give yourself to accomplish goals or make friends or feel not-tired. Ranting about it and also maybe crying a little seem to be the first steps to seeing the light at the end of the Big Move tunnel. I think I've learned that I need to allow myself a certain amount of time to just be stupid at basic life things, like buying groceries, or finding ways to exercise, getting a real phone plan etc. I've also allowed myself time to just hole up in my room and not do anything the least productive. Dude, and the fact that you have a dog with you too is the most impressive thing I've heard in a month, it couldn't have been easy and I'm very proud!
I think it's good that you're making general but feasible plans, like going for walks/exploring places around the area. Getting truly comfortable with your surroundings, so that you feel more confident in yourself and your own knowledge is Great and walks are so perfect for that. There's nothing like being a tourist in a town you're technically living in! Go for it. (1/2)

by Brigit T

I don't have much else to advise on, other than stressing the importance of taking pride in any step forward, no matter how small it may seem. Cooking a new recipe, buying a ticket to a local christmas concert, finding out which granola is good in the weird UK grocery stores-- all are things to be proud of oneself for, no matter how silly it feels to begin with.
Anyways I hope any of this helps, I'm (still) here for you if you ever need me, go hug your dog for me he's so adorable wtf <3 (2/2)

by Brigit T

You should be proud of yourself!Such a big decision!Coming to Scotland and leave everyone behind, can be very hard! I know we just started to work together but I can give you a hug on Sunday,when you are next in😊❤️

by Veronika Cserhati

This is the awesome lady your Mom and I saw this morning. Her basic messages - love yourself. You are enough. You learn the most by falling down and getting back up again. You, sweet Jenna, have already proven that you know how to get back up when you fall and you've seen some of the amazing things that await you when you are back on your feet. You are enough. You are resilient. I love you and can't wait to see what adventures you find you as you get on your feet in Scotland. xx

by Caroline

Thanks for finding that link, Caroline. Jenna, make yourself a cup of tea and settle down for a good watch...there are so many things Candy says that will resonate with you!

by Mom

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