Yesterday I wanted to make fajitas. It's a comfort food thing, it's a "home" thing, and I think it's important when you move country to enjoy some familiar things because constant "different" makes you tired.
Not only was I going to the store solo, but I was going to drive for the first time to get there. With a manual car. In England.
Veggies: easy to acquire.
Sour cream: looked... different. Runny. Did a quick internet search and decided on creme fraiche instead (I should have asked someone there, been a helpless foreigner, but sometimes you don't want to be one).
Tortillas chips (crisps!): store brand for 89p or Doritos unflavoured for 1.99. I went with store brand. Choosing between 2 was somewhat of a shock, considering in Idaho with a large Mexican population there are a couple dozen options usually.
Tortillas: Legit looking flour tortillas, check. One problem though. Those suit everyone else, but I don't eat gluten, so I had planned to get corn tortillas. The only corn tortillas I found also had flour in them.
This is the point at which I start to think: What's wrong with this country? I'm just trying to be honest here. I love England and I know that corn tortillas is not a big deal. But I was tired, out of place, and just wanted some corn tortillas. I wasn't expecting to be able to get tamales or anything like that, but this came as a surprise. And I absolutely wanted to cry.
Nothing has gone like expected.
Starting from scratch
What is it like to start over? Many of us might have dreamed romantically about selling everything and moving where you know no one and doing a complete do-over.
We're only just starting to find out what that's like. And let me tell you, it's not as romantic as it sounds. Is it good? Well, yeah. So good - if it is something that you're called to. We're not running away from anything, we are running to something.
Or walking. Maybe sometimes more like crawling.
We landed in England 15 days ago and it's that weird place of feeling like it's been ages since you got here, but you only left yesterday. In a lot of ways it's gone slower than we thought, but there is progress. You just have to adjust your expectations.
It turns out that when you have not lived in your home country for 12 years and have had no bank activity, no bills, nothing to show for anything, it's like you're a teenager again. It doesn't matter what our credit score is in the US or that we owned two houses previously. It doesn't actually translate. Jonathan has to bear the brunt of all of the reestablishing because he is a Brit, and because I (Sarah) am only a visitor here until March at which time I'll return to the States to pursue a spousal visa. Sorting out the bank account, the car, the money transfers, finding a house to rent, getting the references and proof of income and all of that stuff has been a full-time job for Jonny.
Once we're set on those things then we will be working on finding everything needed for day to day life - we have nothing here and a limited budget to work from.
There's those practical aspects of things, but there's also the emotional, physical, and mental parts of it as well. It's strange to leave your home place, strange to do the shopping (of which we haven't had to do much, thanks to the tremendous generosity of the Griffiths Srs), strange to be somewhere so familiar (we are currently staying where Jonathan is from and where Sarah spent a year in total previously at age 18-19)... But so different. A lot has changed in 12 years. And so have we.
We can all get bogged down by the details. We can get frustrated by the things that don't go our way or upset over the things that discourage us. But we're called to something more. All of this is a very temporary part of why we've come. If we get focused on the difficulties of this part, we lose the joy of what we're here for.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
When we look to Jesus, not only do we gain perspective about what hardships we are actually facing (small), we are reminded of how great a sacrifice he gave (huge) and we are revived in our hearts, minds, spirits to run with all that we have and that it's actually for something - I want that joy.