May 24, 2008

Save me from myself

Okay, this is not going to be the most "upbeat" post ever. I've really had it today. First of all, I really hate complaining, and I hate complainers. I hope you can tell the difference between complaining, and being honest. I probably should just delete all of this and forget it ever happened rather than actually posting it, but I'm not gonna.

I had a friend that I had been keeping in contact with over the years. I love her so much, and I miss living close to her. She was such an example to me, and taught me many things. We fell out of contact over the last few months, and I often wondered why. I felt it was a little one-sided, as I really would have loved to hear from her. I finally broke down and wrote to her. She wrote me back such a heart-wrenching email about what her life has been like lately. I really, really felt for her. She indicated that she wasn't able to write me because she just wasn't in a place where she could be happy for me. My life seemed to be perfect and I seemed to be having new adventures and great experiences.

So let me just lay it all down on the line so no one is confused. This move has been unreal. It has been so incredibly challenging for both Ben and I personally. So many times lately I have wanted to give up, and Ben and I both agree that if there were and easy way out and we could move home with our tails between our legs, we might just do it. We are 90% there. But there is that last 10% of us that thinks and hopes that maybe the adjustment period is almost over.

Ben has had to put in incredible hours since we moved here. He is exhausted and hasn't had a moment to relax since we arrived. Most days he comes home, has a quick bite, and sits and works while I watch tv at night. Most days are boring and mundane since I don't have many friends, everybody works! Everyone who is around is very tight-knit with their family. It is not like it was before, when we moved overseas. Surround by good friends who were in our exact situation and you had so much in common {then again, there are no men hocking loogies constantly and I can speak the language and of course the food situation goes without saying...}

Being an American overseas SUCKS! Everybody hates us and I'm sorry my Aussie friends, I really am, but some people here take it to a new level I have never experienced before.



I am not the US Foreign Policy! I am not the cause of your Economic problems! I am not loud, or annoying! I am not rude! I am not an idiot, and I, like most Americans DO know where Sydney is and DIDN'T think it is in England or "wherever"...

For all of the ignorance you claim that we, as Americans posses, you really would be embarrassed at the things I have been both asked and told since I arrived here {as well as before, I am sad to say I have had this experience with Aussies before I moved here}. I seriously in my wildest dreams would not EVER dare to say the things to some one's face that have been told to me. But yeah, I would say them behind your back...

but that is beside the point!

There are many people here that I love, that help get me through the day. But man I wish people here felt about Americans the we we feel about them! Americans LOVE Aussies. We love their accents, we think they must be the funniest, most down to Earth people. In fact, besides terrorists, we as Americans love all, okay most, cultures. We think to ourselves that their quirks are "charming". Even the French. I just wish that favor were returned to some degree, and that so many negative assumptions weren't made about me because of where I come from.

I really do want to thank my friends who I do have here. I love my friends at the butcher shop, they are so great to me and put a smile on my face. I love my neighbors. I have made some good friends at church as well. I have met some great people, so I regret to take away from them. But I have to get it off my chest! It has also been so theraputic to have my hobby, Hot Garlic, thanks to everyone who participates. It really helps to have something you enjoy to look forward to.

Notwithstanding everything I just ranted about above, it has been difficult in many other ways as well. It is hard to be away from family and friends. I won't get to experience spring, the best time of year {besides summer} for a whole year and a half! It has just plain been stressful and a lot of work to move and unpack and attempt to get settled into a new life. We have so many loose ends flying everywhere all of the time. We are constantly so busy chasing down minute details that we don't get anything done! There are so many reasons I can't describe, or even put my finger on, it's just been hard!

But don't cry for me Argentina. I'll be fine and the dust will settle, I hope.

Okay, I'm done now. I feel better. Thanks.

PS : My sis Kate had this on her blog a while ago. I thought it was so hilarious, and always wanted a reason to post it on my blog. I think the time has come, it doesn't get any more appropriate than today. I do, however, think this is less of the world according to Americans, and more the what others in the world think Americans are thinking.


AnneMarie said...

Oh Nat, I am so sorry. I'm sorry your friend is having such a hard time. It is so hard to watch loved ones go through such things when you would rather just magically fix it all for them. I am sorry for your missing your family and friends and for being treated so poorly by some. I do think that it is a hard time to be an american, everyone I know that is or has recently lived, or even visited, overseas has had a similar experience. I hope that this stressful time will be relatively short for your beautiful, little family and that in some way you will find some relief. The Moses' love you!
P.S. There is a difference between being a complainer (which you are not), and being real. Nobody can be up beat all the time, and being real allows others the opportunity to be helpful in some way and with such an outpouring you might find that you don't feel so far away or lonely.

Gaengy said...

Hey know I think sometimes we forget that life is hard even for you. You are always upbeat and cheerful and find the good in every situation that some times people forget that life is never perfect for anyone, though it seems to be. Diane always had this problem too because she was so optomistic people around her just thought everything was always wonderful for her and even in her deepest trials they thought she should be or was miss perfect. Thanks for reminding us of the realities of life. We all need to be kinder to each other. You always put such a positive spin even I did not realize how hard this has been for you. It is hard to be in a place where you are not appreciated for who you are. We just returned from our cruise and one day a lady was bashing Utah and I felt the same as you. I would never say something so rude to someones face about where they live or what they do. Hope it gets better soon. Love you honey!

Nick & Nicole said...

Anyone who knows you knows that you are not a complainer. You are very optimistic and always see the good in things, situations and people. It it just one of the many wonderful qualities that you possess. I am so sorry that you are having a hard time. That stinks on ice! Moving to a foreign country doesn't seem like a fun adventure to me. It seems challenging and scary and like a lot of work. You are very brave. Way more brave than me. I hope things get better and if there is anything that I can do, let me know. Love You!

Andrea said...

Thanks for the up front and honest post. I love it when people are real about life. I really admire you for your courage to live in different parts of the world. It looks glamorous, but I can only imagine how hard it would be. It is funny how we always look at other people and think they have the better life. We're all just trying to get by wether in UT or Australia. You're awesome to stick it out and enjoy it while it lasts.

Jen Wide Open said...

Hi Nat,
Your honesty is great and I completely know what you're talking about with regards to the Aussies (and all the others in the world) in relation to their "thoughts" on Americans. One line I have used a hundred times in Australia, and other places, when 'natives' begin ranting about America and Americans is "have you every been there?" This stops them in their tracks - dead silence. Then you just kindly smile and say "then perhaps you shouldn't say anything else about it/them until you visit and experience it for yourself". It's never failed me. I think moving to a "foreign" country that is white and speaks English is 1000 times harder than moving to a "foreign" country. My relocation to China was so easy - they knew I wasn't from there so made allowances and amends. Australia is not so kind. It took me a good two years to feel comfortable there and like I "belonged" - so, you're what, four months there? Hang in there.

What the world doesn't realise is if Burkina Faso was the richest and most "powerful" & "successful" country in the world, everyone would talk bad and hate them too!

Be proud to be an American and raise your head - and flag - high! I love to see all the flags around here now that I'm "home" in California" - they only come out on Australia Day and ANZAC day down under; what a shame.

Stacey Lau said...

Yes, we Americans have quite the reputation, don't we? I got that a little in Korea (did you encounter it there?) but I'm sure that where you are it is much worse. And I think it is very healthy to complain every once in a while...this is your blog, you write what you feel like. I need a good girl's night out rant, wish we could go. I love you.

floridagirlinsydney said...

Hi my new friend, I'm so sorry you had a rough day, I know how it is, I've had so many since moving here. It's such a delicate balance between trying to keep a positive attitude so you can "fake it till you make" (-Dr. Phil), and letting out the frustration of the anti-American mentality here. You don't want to sound like Debbie Downer, but the reality is that it's not all kangaroos and cupcakes here.
I feel like there is a struggle everyday here for me to try and enjoy this experience vs. wanting to wallow in wanting to leave.
Ok, on a brighter note-- I cannot wait to meet you tomorrow!

floridagirlinsydney said...

Almost forgot to ask... can I use that image on your page, or who can I ask? I really need it for my blog.

Trent and Sarah Chapman said...

Amen! You just seem to bring it out for all of us! You write so simply but so profound! Thats what I love and miss about you!

Palmers said...

Natalie, First of all, I KNOW you didn't write this to get a whole bunch of symphathy comments. So don't take this as I'm trying to make you feel better. :) Because I know you're doing great over there. One thing I really like about you is that you can make the most horrible of situations sound so funny that you want to laugh hard - or cry, but with a smile on your face. I really admire that you always see the good in events, situations, and people. The reality for all of us is that regardless of how fun we can make things seem along the way, being a mother to small children AND having an extremely busy and hard working husband is NOT easy. Everyday is hard, regardless of how much fun you might have. And being in a foreign country away from family would be so much harder! As I've hopped onto your blog wagon I've learned more about you than I've ever known. Ben is a very lucky guy to have someone that can be as adventurous, and independent as you are. So keep on keeping on. p.s. You know I love your recipe blog too, so thanks for putting so much time into that. It has benefited me many times.

Tors said...

Hello Natalie! I found your blog via floridagirlinsydney. I'm an American who's lived in Australia for nearly 4 years now.

I can SO relate to your post. Since moving here, I've had 3 close family members pass away and friends drift away. I've had to endure rude and ignorant comments about America and Americans. In fact, I came up with something similar to Godwin's Law to describe it: "As the conversation grows longer, the probability of an unfavourable comparison to America and Americans approaches one."

I guess it gets easier over time, in the same way that dealing with someone's death gets easier... you just get used to it. You find ways to deal.

And while wallowing in negativity is never productive, on the other hand I think we expats really need to cut ourselves a little slack once in awhile. Give yourself permission to be upset about things, hurt about things, critical of things. Being an expat is HARD! You've just moved to the OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD, for pete's sake! And unfortunately, your friends just won't "get it" unless and until they've had that experience themselves.


P.S. (shameless plug time) You're more than welcome to visit my website, if you want to connect to more Americans in Oz who've been there and understand.

Tors said...

P.P.S Did I also mention I have 2 toddlers too? :-)

The Napier's said...

I think it shows the person you are, that a good friend of yours cant see through your optimism. I would have to admit that you make everything you do seem like its the best time you've ever had. THAT is what is SO AMAZING about you. You definitely had me fooled. I was thinking of moving to Australia, but I'll think twice about it now.

I wouldnt have thought Aussie's would feel so negative towards us. Guess it shows the bubble I live in. Im sorry for your struggles, but just think of the experiences your having in your life. Your seeing places most people will NEVER see (Me for one) and I envy that so much. Keep your head held high and your chest higher!! If anyone in this world can make friends and win people over its you!! (you remind me of Chris, so outgoing, so friendly). When those rude and ignorant people finally give you your chance, they'll see just how beautiful you are on the inside!!

Take care my friend, I am ALWAYS thinking and praying about you.

Jenny or sometimes Bozo said...

You really are so optimistic. I had no idea things were this hard for you. I have no idea how you do it. Moving to a new place is hard enough, then throw in a complete season change and culture adaptation and it would be so hard. But, at the same time you're so cool for doing it. I hope things look up for you and get a little easier.

JLR said...

I can so relate to this. While we were living in Canada, I felt that they all thought us Americans were "ignorant barbarians" and I got really fed-up with a lot of their hypocrisy. I love that map of the world, and your interpretation of it: it's how other people think Americans see the world!

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