Moving to a New City
Have you, or anyone you know, moved to new pastures for your partner’s profession, and are trying to figure out the next steps? New country, continent, city, state – doesn’t really matter. But if it’s different enough and you’re starting from scratch, that’s the experience I’m talking about.
As you may know from earlier posts, I have moved across countries and continents before. My age and family support definitely helped during the earlier moves. I don’t feel particularly old now, but changing circumstances, such as having a child while we moved to NYC definitely made the mix more challenging. What I mean is, it’s one thing when you’re single or without children and you’re moving. You’re more carefree, able to explore, look at everything with rose-tinted glasses. When you’re moving with a child or children, different considerations come into play. Schools, neighborhoods, getting homework done, putting dinner on the table, etc.
Even though it’s the same country, suburban California and NYC seems miles apart metaphorically as well. Not talking about the weather, the ability to drive everywhere, or the slower pace of life – but professionally, it’s been a beast trying to get my teaching license here. The hoops that I am currently jumping through are simply incredible(-y insane). The amount of paperwork (sealed transcripts, notarized letters, recommendations etc etc) that I have sent to the NY State Department of Education could fill a small library. And they wonder why hoardes of people exit the teaching profession :). I’m not giving up because I do love it, but it remains to be seen what their reponse will be in the next round of deliberations!
So in the meantime, I try to blog when I can, here and my other blog. But there is one more thing I have begun to do, allowing to rediscover my past. In my 20s, I decided to do a 1 year Masters in Computing Science, at a time when the dotcom era was booming and the bubble hadn’t burst yet. My motivation for doing this degree wasn’t entirely born out of a desire to do tech 24/7 – rather it was about wanting to be in London at the same university as my undergraduate degree (I was offered a partial scholarship) and learn and delay getting a real-life job (ah, the 20s…). I don’t regret it at all – I made some genuine friends who I am still in touch with, and that alone was worth it.
Cutting a long story short, I got the degree but didn’t necessarily use it in terms of moving to tech. Years later, I got another degree in Education and garnered more than 10 years in it. Yet I find myself turning slowly back to tech, working through online courses, remembering concepts, having a-ha moments…and actually enjoying it.
Pursuing other hobbies…
Is this my destiny? Am I destined to finally use a facet of my life that I had buried deep in my pile of other academic achievements? Is the delay in getting my teaching certificate in NYC a sign ? What about other avenues of interest, such as writing, blogging, and teaching online? Becoming a freelancer and taking charge? Are there other women out there who similar to me, are driven to change their destiny due to some quirk in their fate? How easy or hard it is to reinvent ourselves when we are confronted with the challenges of moving somewhere new?
A few days ago, I read this article sent to my Inbox via Linkedin, which I found interesting. It’s about pretty much what I talked about here and is worth a read, but more importantly, introduces a book called ‘Dear Ms. Expat’. It’s apparently a collection of stories about women from all over the world, who left their comfort zones and are rediscovering themselves. Sounds really intriguing, so I will look up at my local library and report back.
Now you may be thinking – I hardly count as an expat, making a cross-country move from CA to NY, both liberal and progressive states with big cities. What is she talking about? True, I am not an expat anymore in the truest sense of the word. However, moving from a suburban location after 9 years (even though I’ve lived in London before) to a fast-paced metropolis, forsaking a car, dealing with a new school system and roadblocks to the teaching profession, I do feel at times that I’ve moved to a new country. The disparities of the so-called ‘United States’ become very clear once you’ve moved across state lines.
That said, I am hopeful and excited about the challenges this new life is bringing. I don’t for one second want to belittle the amazing things that living in NYC has brought us. Vibrant and active streets, world-class culture at our doorstep, restaurants representing every world cuisine, and much, much more. So, here’s to new beginnings! Do share your thoughts if this strikes a chord.