A friend of mine who recently moved back to the land of the free has found herself feeling a bit down and out lately. Four-months in, she is struggling to find her niche in a new city with few close friends. As she is telling me of her struggle, I can totally feel her pain. How many times have I found myself in new places, circumstances, etc. not knowing up from down nor left from right? My introverted tendencies have rarely ever helped in this “settling in” phase.
One of the issues that have started to have a permanent space right next to any “I wanna live in ______ (fill in country in provided space)” thoughts is this precise issue of finding a niche. While some people can feel right at home in any country/community they move to, for me, it’s pretty safe to say that it’s only around the seventh month mark that I really start to feel at ease in a place. It’s at that point when I start to feel a part of a place. I know some of the back streets, have gained at least one close friend, know the fun places to eat out and chill etc.
I mention all of this because I have found myself at a new point in my journey. For the first time in months (if not years) I haven’t felt that “chuck everything to hell and move to new country” itch that I have lived with for a so long. In fact, this feeling grows with each passing month I live in D.C. Moving right now feels more like a burden than the freedom that I have always associated with it. “How can I move when I have barely scratched the surface of my new life in D.C.?” is the question that pops up with any fleeting fantasy of greener foreign pastures.
Another friend recently noted that there is a great price to being a wanderer. Each new place or adventure out on the road is a lost dinner with friends, a birthday, or wedding, or new birth, a family reunion, a chance to grow a new plant, an un-hurried phone call, or just sitting in a café laughing at a shared joke. In the past, my pursuit of a new challenge abroad has always found me ignoring this price until I slammed into the moment when I would realize yet again that I had no niche or anything else in my new place.
As a Libra, I’m always weighing things and right now, despite my lingering fantasies of new land, the scales are definitely in favor of staying put. No new land can compete with all the little moments that I no longer feel like missing because a plane ticket from xyz country is beyond my budget. While I still break out in hives at the mere thought of not at least having a second home on foreign soil, I’m ok with growing a few roots and finding my niche right here for the time being....