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Settling In After The Move to America

04 December, 2013 06:42  Erin Erin

In this series, we have followed a Brit in her quest to become an expat in America. She has recently joined her American husband in Ohio and is continuing to share tips on life abroad. At EasyExpat we try to provide you all the latest and greatest in Expat News and Resources, but sometimes a personal journey can best explain the unique challenges and triumphs involved in moving abroad. Meet Molly and follow along on her adventure in the Move to America.

move to america settling in after the move As I write this, I have been an expat in Ohio, USA for 12 days. 12 days - so everything is still very new, but I thought I would take this opportunity to write how things have gone so far and what to expect if you are about to make a big move to live in America, or another country.

The first thing I found, after the elation of being with my husband again, was the everyday stresses I had not anticipated. I had imagined, and prepared for the bigger things, but it was the 'everyday', during my first week as an expat, that proved the most stressful.

I had not anticipated the exhaustion and emotion related to not knowing how anything worked. The washing machine (washer), drier, oven, door locks, money, stores (I could go one) all look different. Not so different I could not identify them or figure out how to use them (sometimes with instruction from my very patient husband), but different enough to just make me feel unsure of myself. At first, it did not bother me, but after the second or third day, it began to make me feel exhausted because there seemed to be a never ending stream of new information I was having to process.

What helped me get over this was realising I needed to get into a basic routine so that these everyday things could become familiar. I decided to walk everyday to a coffee place in a local grocery store to get used to using the money by myself (not to mention get used to the local area and get out during the day whilst my husband is at work). I started cooking simple dishes and doing the laundry with the assistance of my husband and then increasingly on my own.

All these seemingly little things, became really important to master and I would recommend move to america goalsgetting into a simple routine to start with to help lessen the unfamiliar feelings that can be a source of stress. I even have a little notebook and pen to write things down to remember how to use them if they are particularly unusual or unknown. I also use the notebook to write things down that I would like to achieve within the week - setting myself a little challenge to add to my basic routine - and feel very satisfied when I can tick them off and see all the new things I have managed to do.

One other thing that I have really had to work on during my first two weeks as an expat, is to adjust my thinking. At first I felt stupid that using the oven was an achievement, but soon came to realise that it is an achievement because it is new, it is something I need to be able to do, and now I can do it really well.

Top Tips for Settling In

So, my top tips on settling in, especially in the first few weeks of living in a foreign country:
  • Set-up a basic daily routine - try and get out everyday
  • Set small challenges per day/week that you can do
  • Realise that the everyday things are important and practise doing them
  • Do not put too much pressure on yourself to get everything right first time

Thank you for reading my first expat experiences, I hope you have found them useful. If you want to follow along or read more about how I continue to adjust to life in the USA , you can visit my blog, themovetoamerica.wordpress.com.


Read Molly's expat interview and find other expat bloggers in the USA or abroad in the BlogExpat Directory and find the best advice for you to move abroad in our comprehensive Expat City Guides.



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