As I’ve said numerous times on here, this time is going to be stressful. There’s just so much going on. So much change, so much newness. Plus, y’know, someone has a brand new job.
But here’s the thing. You’re also living in a new, mostly awesome, country. There are cool sights to see, places to visit, foods to try, drinks to sample. It can’t just be all business all the time.
When you start to feel the stress, try to take a moment to remember why you’re doing this. It’s totally understandable that you might end up frustrated to the point of tears (after, say, your sixth visit to a bank, hypothetically speaking, of course), but overall the good should vastly outweigh the bad.
When you’re in temporary housing, explore the neighborhood. It might not be where you end up living, so use it as a chance to see a part of town you might not normally visit. Check out a restaurant you might not normally have tried (if you don’t enjoy the food, you can always heat up a frozen pizza later). Go for long walks. Sit in cafes and eavesdrop on what other people are saying.
Also, dive into the culture. The UK isn’t just the US with better healthcare and minimal gun violence. It’s a different country that happens to speak the same language (sort of). There are people here from all over the world, and unless you’ve moved from NYC, chances are you’ve probably not heard this many different languages spoken, or had this many different food options.
Pick up a paper. Start to learn about the politics here, and the entertainment. Watch an episode of a TV show you’ve never heard of. It might be awful, but it might also give you some insight into your new home. If you have Netflix, I recommend watching both the Crown and the Great British Bake-Off. The former gave me some (dramatized, obviously) insight into the recent history of the UK; the latter was wonderful in learning about the culinary history.
Also, take time to stay in touch with your friends back in the US. Download WhatsApp — you can text and have phone calls over WiFi instead of through the phone system, so it’s much cheaper. You can even record little videos and send them over so your friends or family see them when you wake up. Set up chat groups with others so you all can just message whenever.
Go to a movie. I know you might feel like you have a million things to do and no time for it, but go. Or do whatever you used to do back in the states – find a club playing music you like, or a bookshop. Do things that feel normal.
It can be hard to transition from a place feeling like a vacation destination to it feeling like home. For us, it started to feel like home when we got into our flat, but it didn’t really come together until we got internet installed. That was the last little bit to make this feel less like an extended trip and more like our new reality.
It’s also important to know that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed, and to miss home. Often times decisions like this are the very definition of bittersweet. You’ve left behind friends, family, and possible a town you did really like. That’s hard, even if the new job, the new city, and the new friends are awesome. It’s okay to have mixed emotions, it’s okay to want to know what’s going on back in the states, and it’s okay to not be happy all of the time.