Living in the US and on the Big Island, HI, is new to me. I’m from far up north in Europe and used to a totally different climate and a different culture. It’s been almost 4 months since I moved here and it’s been, and still is, an adventure. So much to get used to, some things harder than others.. Of course.
I LOVE the sun. Coming from a place where, in the dead of winter, there’s only a few hours of daylight (I remember being in class during high school looking out the windows thinking “there goes today’s daylight and I’m stuck inside”) and temperatures down to -46 degrees Celsius (-50F) I’ve grown to be a person that knows better – my mood and my body NEEDS the sun. I started traveling after I turned 25 (and I still love it) and it helped me get through not just the long dark winters at home, but also a long and very challenging depression. Not only the sun and heat in places I went to (Thailand, the Middle East and India to mention some) but also meeting people from different countries and to me new cultures.. I definitely grew as a person and I learned things about myself that I so desperately needed to learn (for example; I started liking myself, I finally allowed myself to be seen/heard and I trusted myself to get through whatever situation, bad or good, was thrown on me while traveling).
So moving here, to Hawaii, I knew that I’d like the sun. And the water. I love the ocean! Ever since I was a kid I’ve been walking to the ocean (when possible) to sit down on a rock/beach and listen to it and watch it move. It calms me and comforts me like nothing else.
Where I’ve been living before I moved to the US the climate was cold, not just temperature but also the way people behave and treat each other. When I turned 17 I moved 950K away from my family to start my own life in a big city. I stayed there almost 12 years. In this city people spend a lot of time trying not to have to interact with each other. If I was holding a door open for someone behind me I learned not to expect a “thank you” or even a smile or eye contact. I realized that in this city you focus on yourself and your career and you couldn’t give a crap about others. Of course, not EVERYONE behaved like this but in general that was what I felt.
So meeting and falling in love with a man from the US and getting to go here and spend time here I was AMAZED by how people actually SEE each other and talk to what seems to be total strangers, all the time. At first it made me insecure and shy – it was such a big change from what I was used to. I learned to LOVE how the American culture is open and welcoming and I changed from being shy to enjoying interacting more and more with people around me, strangers or not. I absolutely love being at the grocery store and being able to talk to people around me about something (weather, product, music played in the store or whatever) or just give the lady in front of me in line a compliment on a beautiful dress – without having to feel like an alien that probably will scare the shit out of that person.
My home country is pretty big, in European standards at least, but coming to the US my home seems like a tiny place. The fact that there’s so many different time zones and so many different climates here in the US constantly makes me go “WOW”.. I’ve known that the US is a BIG country since I was a kid, of course. But not until actually coming here meeting people from all over the country it really hit me. Being on Twitter and having this blog I’m connecting with people all over the country (the whole world actually) and it never stops to amaze me that when people on the east coast go to bed I still have a huge part of the day left. I know, it sounds stupid – but for me to get a hold of when shows are shown on TV and so on is a little bit of a struggle for this reason..
I am getting used to all this, slowly. And I’m happy about it. Happy I did this big move. Being here is great!
But of course, the down side is that I’m far away from family and friends. Having 12 hours time difference to keep track on when I want to call my family can be hard. And the fact that I no longer live a 1 1/2 hour flight away from my parents/brothers, more like a 25 hour flight away can sometimes be really hard. I’m lucky I have internet and a Skype account so that I am able to reach my loved ones back home.