In my last post I described – in the words of 2011-me – why I decided to move to Greece. It’s clear from what I wrote that, although I was aware of the country’s pitfalls, I was totally bewitched. I sounded a bit like a teenager with a crush on some super-sexy guy who she knows is really a bit of a prick – and that’s still how I feel nearly six years later. I’ve been through holy hell in this country … and I’m still in love.
Moving here was an isolating experience, however, and I only realised recently how it affected my state of mind. It possibly even set me up for the fall into the black hole of real depression.
1. The language barrier wasn’t something I considered much before moving here. I had some basic Greek and I thought I would pick the language up easily once I started living in the country. Well, apparently my brain doesn’t work that way. I mean, of course I speak enough to go shopping, visit the doctor, make small talk with the other mums … but there’s a great difference between chatting about after-school activities and toddler tantrums and having a meaningful conversation.
2. Missing having good friends was closely connected to the language barrier. Everyone was so nice to me at the park, in the square, in my neighbourhood, but because of my limited communication skills, it was difficult to move past the acquaintance stage and on to becoming actual friends. When I started working at a company where many of the employees spoke English as a first language, I thought it might help, but most of them were in a different place in their lives to me. While they invited me out for drinks after work, I always refused because of the ‘working mum guilt’ and the irresistible desire to rush straight home and actually spend some time with my daughter.
3. I couldn’t tell anyone how I felt – I didn’t want them to see me as a failure. Plus, saying it out loud would have meant admitting to myself that my dream hadn’t worked out as perfectly as I had planned, and I couldn’t bear that thought. You would have thought I could have talked to my husband. After all, he is the love of my life – that’s why I married him. But soon after we moved here, he lost his job and, due to the crisis, he had a hard time finding another one. At least, he had a hard time finding a suitable one which actually paid wages. He was miserable, but I – in my wisdom – decided to blame him for not putting enough effort into searching for a job, instead of supporting and encouraging him. This was not only bitchy; it had the effect of isolating me still further. He was the one person who could have understood how I felt, but I drove him away. We should have been a unit, but instead we were drifting on our sea of unfulfilled expectations on separate rafts.
Of course, things have turned around for me and my family now. I know this truly is my soul home – you couldn’t convince me to leave if you tried! It’s a shame I didn’t have a crystal ball back then. Perhaps if I had known every little thing gonna be alright I wouldn’t have been so miserable.
What about you? Have you recently moved to a new country? How are you feeling? How are you REALLY feeling? I’d love to hear your story! Share in the comments or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take care!
Images from Pixabay.