Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The other side to emigrating


I actively try and keep LOTS a carefree happy place especially considering all the stressed out posts with regards to the visa and moving process. Nevertheless the whole act of emigrating itself is a huge deal and sometimes I find the outcome of moving hard to deal with. It's not that I regret moving - I love being with Joe it's the trying to fit in part.

Once upon a time I had confidence in both myself and my body - since moving I've noticed this sense of confidence has drastically vanished. Let me tell you why - I've always been shy but I've normally been able to overcome it and dealt with getting myself out there and being me regardless of what people think. In America as soon as I open my mouth with my English accent it feels like people know I'm an outsider. People always remark on my accent and mostly probably mean well but more and more it makes me want to loose my accent. I've come to hate standing out rather then embracing it because I'm often asked to repeat myself. 

American heatwave's have really messed up my body confidence issues too. With the exceedingly warm weather people wear less and less clothing and the people my eyes focus on are the really skinny really pretty girls. I get body envy and wish my body was skinny too. It's even putting me off ever visiting a water park because I just couldn't pull off a swimsuit or a bikini ever. I'm starting to hate my figure more then ever.
My lack of confidence is hindering me in reaching our for opportunities - I've not overly actively looking for employment because of the accent and additionally the assumption that my university name means nothing in the US. Americans are assumed to have some of the best universities in the world so how does my Russell Group [Newcastle University if you're interested] degree and Masters rank up? That and not really knowing what job/career I want bugs me too and I have no idea how to sell myself. 

While it might be a few years off I daydream about which side of the pond would be best for raising children. The UK with the free health service or the US with their overpriced university education? If you're in the UK and you think University fees are high look at American university prices and you'll be gob smacked. Do I want my kids to have a little or a lot of debt? Would I want them to grow up in a country with a huge gun culture - I think not. It's still a hard thing to work out at times.

I guess that's all I have to say for now.

28 comments:

  1. Thanks for a very honest post, Rachael. I've been in Canada for two weeks now, after moving here from Scotland to be with my boyfriend. I'm sure it was the right choice, but with him out working all day and me not being able to work yet, my big adventure is starting to lose it's shine. I tend to get a bit depressed when I have too much time on my hands so I've put myself out there for volunteering, and have joined a gym. Although I'd never want to lose my accent (and you shouldn't either!), I do get a little frustrated with having to explain myself to everyone I speak to, especially as they usually claim to be Scottish themselves and want to ask a million questions! I've been following your blog with interest over the past few months, given that I knew I'd soon be in a similar situation, and it's been so helpful. I hope you start to feel a bit better about things soon x

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    1. Thanks for your comment sweetie, and i'm glad my post makes sense too. I think that's half the problem, the boys out all day and i'm stuck inside, it's too warm to be outside for long so I feel like I do the same things day in day out. Moneys tight so we don't have that extra cash to go out and do loads of things either. I'm kinda sick of the way people double take on stupid things like how I pronounce tomatoes! It's like aaaahhhh. I just never use to be this bothered about what people thought about me before.

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  2. I can't massively relate but I moved from Bristol to Manchester with my boyfriend and I understand the feeling of not fitting in. I was mocked a lot by his friends and at work for being southern which made me feel stupid, and I could only find a part time job and with no friends I tended to sit in the house alone a lot of the time. Massive hugs to you. x

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    1. Yeah I know people probably only mean well then they are joking but constant digs about my country or Uk history gets tiring after a while.

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  3. I am also a fellow newbie to the other side of the pond. My fiance and I arrived in Vancouver a couple of days ago (been in Canada since June). I completely understand what you mean about the accent - although I'm finding that the accent helps to strike up conversation and meet new people. When going for jobs hopefully our backgrounds add a little interest and difference - that's what I'm telling myself anyway!!

    Try thinking about it the other way too - if there was an American back home and you heard their accent, wouldn't you be interested in knowing a little more about them?

    The only thing that really bugs be about being a 'foreigner' is being interrogated at airports and border control like you are a criminal. I get security but they can clearly see I have already been through the ordeal in having the visa stapled into my passport!!!

    I hope you start to feel more settled soon - email me anytime for a rant or chat :) I always find that excersise (gently or heavy) sees me starting to feel better about myself in terms of how I look and clears my head - plus it can be free :) x

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    1. Sometimes people use the accent as a convo starter, the rest of the time they just stare at me blankly for a couple of seconds. And i'm like hello!

      Yeah the whole visa ordeal - I was stood in the passport control like and everyone else had their passports and there was me with a huge envelope to hand over. I'm sure they were all thinking WTF and wondering why it was taking me so long to get through. Ah well.

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    2. I'm a Brit in Canada too! I live just across the strait from you on Vancouver Island, been here since November.

      To both you and Rachael - I have personally found that the accent has really helped, rather than hindered, my job search. It really makes you stand out, and if you plan to work in customer service at all, then it's a real bonus. People always want to know my story - why I'm here, how long for, where I'm from....(even if they do think I'm from Australia at first!) So different from how immigrants are often treated in the UK! I work in tourism too (I work for the Provincial Park service right now) so being a 'foreigner' actually helps since I feel I can sometimes give much better advice than the locals!

      I'll warn you though - working in a new country can really alter your vocabulary....I now say things like 'parking lot' and 'line-up,' etc all the time as not so confuse people or get a blank look.

      Good luck both of you!

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    3. I possibly have that stereotype of how the British think of immigrates and thinking Americans feel the same way possibly. although I'm sure the majority don't think that way! I think once I get myself back out there with work it'll be a lot better.

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  4. Can't really relate (although I will be moving from Manchester to London next year which is a small yet similar thing) I just wanted to lend my support - and chin up chuck from one Yorkshire lass to t'other!

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    1. Its good to hear some Yorkshire lingo!

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  5. The US has a marvelous way of making women feel inadequate. If you aren't skinny and rich than you're not "hot". It's ridiculous. I'm a plus size girl and I've always had people tell me that if I lost 50 lbs. I'd be such a knock-out. They never stop to think that it's hurtful and that maybe,just maybe, I'm happy with who I am. I say to Hell with them. If you feel comfortable wear what you want.

    I find it so stupid that college is so expensive out here and the education isn't the greatest either. My husband and I moved to Nevada and have tentatively decided that if we have children in this state we will send our kids to private school. The local high school has a designated smoking area for students. I would not want my children around that.That an there's only two universities in the entire state.

    I don't know what it is with Americans and freaking out at accents. I've always found them interesting and fun. I'm of Hispanic descent and people are always amazed that how well I speak. Spanish is my second language now. If anything, my Spanish has an English accent on it. People can tell what part of Mexico my parents are from by the way we say certain words.

    I hope you feel better and decided to do what makes you happy. It sounds so cliche but the more you believe in it the less people will affect you.

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    1. I keep trying to find that confidence to wear what I want and not been scared about it, some days I feel like I can/could it and then others the confidence just goes completely.

      Sounds so wrong with the high school and smoking, that's far from the image a school should be providing that it's ok to smoke.

      With accents i've come across people hear English and just think we're all from London. I'm from nowhere near London but I have to describe where i'm from in relation to the capital. I want to shake people at times!

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    2. I have days like that. I feel so ugly and no matter what I do I can't shake that thought. I do something to make myself feel better cook or craft. I feel that if I can create something beautiful it reflects a part of me.
      I had a few customers from England and they all had different accents depending from where they were from. It pretty cool to see how they vary.
      People in Nevada smoke like chimneys. Coming from California it's been a huge change for us. We have very few places where smokers are allowed and it the opposite here. What's worse is that we see 12 year old smoking with their mothers. It's pretty bad.

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    3. That's true - crafting is my way of escaping that and reading. And wow that is bad, I mean don't get me wrong the UK has plenty of problems with under-age smoking and drinking [or even drinking problems with grown ups] but the smoking in high school still shocks me. It's a shame that some parents see it has an ok thing to do with children so young!

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  6. I can't relate but reading this has sort of made me stop and think, on bad days I'll often say 'Ahh I wish I could get away from here etc' when really I should make the most of where I live because moving isn't easy! I really hope you start to settle in a little better and manage to make the right decisions x

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    1. Thank you - your comment means a lot. Its like the whole grass is greener kind of thing. I think it's just that lack of knowing people. I've always been shy so it's hard to find that confidence to meet people.

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  7. education is really expensive, especially with the for-profit schools we have here. i went to a state school, so it was a lot less expensive, but had i gone a few miles south, it would have cost me over 30 thousand dollars a year more! ha!

    and i can't imagine that deciding where to have kids at is easy - i would find it difficult to choose state to state, let alone country!

    <3 katherine
    crave jewelry giveaway // of corgis & cocktails

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    1. To me that amount of money is just unthinkable especially as it clashes against my beliefs that education shouldn't just be for the rich.

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  8. I'm sorry you're having a tough time, can't offer any sensible advice with the university stuff but I can tell you that almost everyone has hang-ups about themselves in a swimsuit, go and join in, nobody will bat an eyelid, they'll be too busy worry about how they look. x

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    1. Yeah people will be having too much fun to care!

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  9. Rachael, sorry to hear you're finding it hard atm. You are absolutely stunning and have that cute rockabilly look about you. Go and rock it! If you're self conscious about wearing bikinis you can get those 50s style ones (House of Fraser deliver to the U.S), and they are really flattering and have cute prints. I emailed you - not too sure if you got it? Emmy

    xx

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    1. I did sorry - took me a while to reply which I just did this morning ooops! You're right about having a swim suit like that, could even wear it under shorts too. Thanks sweetie!

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  10. Chin up girl! Half of being gorgeous is knowing that you are gorgeous - and you are. You're unique - you have something there that no one else around has.

    After living in Japan and now Germany, I can tell you that the expat life is sometimes amazing but it's often frustrating and lonely too. But you're not alone. Look at all these girls on your comments who are/have gone through the same thing as you. Just stay positive and you'll be a local before you know it!

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    1. Thanks for your comment, its a crazy thing being an immigrant, half exciting half a little bit lost!

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  11. I love reading people's stories about moving to another country (or even above the pond), but I tend to forget that it's not always an easy peasy ride to do so.
    Maybe you can join a gym class and make some new friends there? Or find something in your local place to help to get to know new people?
    Whatever you do, just know that even when people seem so perfect and skinny on the outside, they all do have problems on the inside. They are just not visible! *hugs*

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    1. I think hopefully someday finding a job will help me get out there a little. I've never had loads of friends or being one for really getting myself out there but it would be nice to meet some new people outside of the boy and his friends!

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  12. Having a husband from the UK, I know about the whole accent thing. He has always dealt with it, but has never found it a problem because others always say they just love how he sounds. So I guess those compliments never really get old? ; ) Also, regarding the whole college situation: there are ways to get a great education without being saddled with huge expense. Two year college, and then transfering to a 4 year college to finish up, or going to a state school. Personally I went to a state college and had almost no loans to pay back (I was 19, married, and didn't have much money at the time, so most of it was paid for me.) Maybe I'm just very fortunate, but it worked out just fine for me. I totally get that it is not an easy decision though. And as always, I'm sure it will get wasier over time, as you acclimate to your new life.

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  13. Hey lady, I just found you on Twitter today (NBCfail), and have skimmed through your entire blog this evening. I hope that doesn't sound creepy, it's just that I found a lot of parallels between our lives since 2009: Graduating from Russell Group Unis, meeting Pennsylvania boys in grad school, getting married and moving to the USA.

    Moreso, your photography, crafting and love of cats makes you ever so much cooler (just to make me sound weirder I too had a ginger and white cat called Bert, who died when I was at Uni).

    I've been in the USA about a month now and even before I came over I pondered similar things to you. It's a huge transition and more of a struggle than I ever expected it would be.

    One thing different is that I'm actually proud that my accent is different - I've used it as a hook to meet people and that's how I'm selling myself just now. Use it to your advantage lady!

    I've also been volunteering at the local YMCA which gives me free membership to their gym, I'd totally recommend something like that! Anyway, thanks for your blog, and keep on trucking.

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