One of the biggest things that have been missing from my life since we moved to the U.S. is the sense of community that comes from greeting neighbors. It’s something that’s lacking in a lot of the places I’ve lived, especially as a single 20-something. I know that it exists when it comes to mothers or just life in the suburbs. Otherwise, everyone just goes on about their day without even a glance at another person’s direction. We’re all just in a hurry to get to wherever we’re going that even on an elevator ride, we can’t be bothered to say ‘Hello’. Read more Hey Neighbor, Can I Borrow a Cup o’ Sugar?
A D.C. Girl in a West Coast Blur
I never thought I’d actually feel downright homesick for D.C., but that’s been the feeling consuming me a lot these few weeks. I know that a lot of it has to do with where things stand in my life right now but I didn’t think it’d hit me this hard. But then again, I haven’t been the new kid on the block in a very long time. The block being the west coast, and ‘new’ being me completely out of my comfort zone and my introvert taking over full force.
(It may come as a shock to most of you that I’m an introvert. That’s a topic of discussion for another day.)
I’m used to being the new person or specifically the person that’s never quite fit in. When I was growing up, I don’t remember playing with any neighborhood kids. I started school by skipping straight to second grade so I was thrown into a classroom of older kids who’d known each other for years. I adapted by becoming a tomboy, sometimes getting into fights, but somehow managing to make a couple of girlfriends. We were a tight-knit group and I never spent a recess alone. I was able to drop my guard and just enjoy being a kid. Then at the end of fourth grade, we moved to a new city and I once again felt the need to be on the offensive. Just when I started feeling like I was settling in, my parents announced that we were moving to the US but I’d be spending a couple of months in a private school to learn English.
Great. New school, the added pressure of learning a new language, and trying not to get attached to people because I knew I was leaving in a few months. After we moved to the US, it really wasn’t until high school (and junior year at that) when I found a best friend I could count on, and a group of friends that I knew would actually show up to my birthday if I invited them. Fast-forward to college, not living on campus, commuting while working two jobs, and the beginning of the spiral that would lead to bad decisions, a lot of fucks up and the constant struggle to stay afloat.
As far as friendships and fitting in, nothing really stuck with me. I thought it would be different as an adult and after high school graduation, all I dreamed about was getting out of the area. Getting a fresh start and getting away from this city where nothing really made sense. It was surprising to me when I started putting down real roots. Don’t get me wrong – I had roots as far as family and memories but I didn’t think I’d put down any real roots as an adult. As a professional, I didn’t really start making a real name for myself until about four years ago. When it came time to leave D.C., the sadness of the friends I left behind was surprising to me. The way I miss D.C. and the people in it completely knocked me off my feet, emotionally.
I talk a lot about leaving my comfort zone but up until now, all I really meant was how familiar I am with the streets and the professional makeup of Washington, D.C.
As I spend more time trying to adjust to life in Seattle, I am becoming more and more aware of the fact that my comfort zone wasn’t just the familiar surroundings or the networking events I could attend on any given night of the week. Washington, D.C. had become as much a part of me as I had become of it. Before moving away from D.C., I never thought being homesick could be for any place other than Turkey, but now, there is a D.C.-shaped hole in my heart that nothing else can fill – right next to the Istanbul-shaped hole.
This doesn’t mean I’m going to pack up and go back tomorrow. That’d be taking the easy way out. It would be like deleting the few pages I’ve already written in this new chapter and going back to rewrite all over the old chapters, never touching a blank page again.
I knew that things would be tough but what I didn’t factor in was the culture shock I would experience as an east coaster on the west coast. Add to that my already loud and somewhat aggressive personality and I really stand out. I’m not quite sure if that’s a bad thing yet but I do know that there are certain things I have to reconcile on my own, to make sense of my own life, and the direction I’ve decided to take it.
But shit, I am terrified of never being able to straighten out this clusterfuck of a life. What I do know is that I’m going to be writing a lot more. I promise that I won’t have too many rambling posts, but once in a while, I’ll let you dive into my stream of consciousness.