I wouldn’t have believed it could happen to me. I’d read articles about how difficult repatriation is, but I always imagined it happening to those who’d lived abroad for many, many years. I’d only lived overseas for two, short years when I decided to come back to the States to more fully participate in my only child’s upcoming wedding.
After the long journey home with my belongings, I rested and adapted to jetlag in Dallas, Texas for four weeks. During that time, I saw friends and family and house-sat for two different friends in their beautiful homes. As lovely as this was, living out of a suitcase becomes old. I then flew to California, where my daughter lives, and had a very loose plan to stay with her until her wedding in January. I brought enough clothes to last through the changing seasons. I walked everywhere, just as I was used to doing in Istanbul, but found after about a week, I was getting restless. I attended a few meet-ups and art outings. I began looking for possible employment. For the first time ever, I began to feel that my age was a factor in both job-seeking and social outings.
Then I signed up for Obamacare health insurance. Wow! Expensive! The reality of living in the USA began to infiltrate all my thoughts. I could see that my savings would quickly disappear if I did not find a job. I initially thought of working for Starbucks or Trader Joe’s for a few months, until after the wedding. I’d always heard these companies had good benefit packages, but what I didn’t consider was the fact of no vacation and horrible hours. For example, after researching Trader Joe’s, I learned that an employee shift can last until midnight and begin the next day as early as 4:00 am. Three hours of sleep? No, thank you.
Within a few days, I began to reconsider living in California without a job. Several of my good friends live in Santa Fe and were working hard to convince me to move there for a few months. I’d visited Santa Fe a couple of times and found it interesting with its many cultural offerings and I thought it might be a good place to be through the fall; halfway between my daughter in San Diego and my mother in Dallas. I decided to try it, so I bought a car and drove to New Mexico!
I have only just started to explore what this small city has to offer in terms of cultural explorations, and I think, actually, there are many. I love having a car and the fact that I can arrive anywhere in this city in less than 15 minutes. There’s a Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods here and I’ve discovered red and green chilies. There’s an art movie cinema, and farmer’s market. I’m curious to learn about the history of the Native Americans and the Spanish explorers. My long-term friends who live here have been so generous, kind and encouraging. They’ve allowed me to vent frustrations and sadness of repatriation.
I’m continuing to help plan my daughter’s wedding. Everything is coming together. It will be joyous and I’ll be able to easily meet her in Dallas for a planned bridal shower.
I continue to be grateful to live in a city with friends. The skies are amazing with the enormous swirling, painted brushstroke clouds. The yellow color of the sunflowers has grabbed my attention and the rainbows here are vertical. It’s weird. A good friend just told me of a place called Tent Rocks, less than an hour away. Suppossedly, it looks like Cappadocia, Turkey.