Stranger in a Strange Land

I moved to Washington seven days ago. Eight days ago, I was playing frisbee with half my best friends, and the other half were parading along the sides of the fields. Eight days ago, I hugged a lot of people and said goodbye and marveled at how well I held it together. Eight days ago I got the last full night’s sleep I’ve had since.


I have seen the sunrise every day since I arrived. And the sunset. It’s only light for 9 hours a day right now, and I am at work for all of those hours. My boss drove me home on my first day, because Husband was dealing with the movers, and I realized as we entered my neighborhood that I had no idea what my house looked like. We drove past it twice, because I couldn’t see the number over the garage. I didn’t really remember what color my house was until yesterday, the first time I saw it in daylight.

I have been diligently unpacking boxes and putting things in cabinets and drawers. I can see the beginnings of a home, in this beautiful house I can’t really believe I own. I’m just not sure if it’s my home.

I have work to do after work, gotta get those papers out, gotta apply for that award, gotta get that presentation ready. Gotta read and read, so they are impressed. And so I keep forgetting to call my friends until after dinner, when it’s already well past 11 pm on the other side of the country.

My job is actually great so far, as I knew it would be. Professionally, this is the best place for me to be. My colleagues are fantastic, the research is interesting, the lab is perfect. If I am going to succeed in my field, it will be here.

People assume newcomers will have a hard time adjusting to the landscape – deserts aren’t for everyone, I suppose. But that’s not it for me. It’s beautiful here, even in the winter. You can see for miles and miles, and the essentially treeless mountains underscore how amazing the earth itself can be. The sky is breathtaking, even when it’s grey, as it so often is during the winter.

I’m just afraid I won’t be able to make the connections I need socially. It’s a small town, a family town. I know it’s only been a week, and it’s the doldrums of winter, it just seems so unfathomably difficult. And so unlikely! How could I possibly find people like the people I already had?

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2 Responses to Stranger in a Strange Land

  1. Jess says:

    I feel this way too, about Denver, sometimes. We chose to move here for no other reason than that we knew we wanted to be here, and sometimes I remind myself of that, and I need the reminder because I had a whole social network back in DC and what was I thinking uprooting that? But I am starting to put down roots, just little ones, little tiny ones, and I keep reminding myself that these things take time but there will be more roots, and deeper ones, and new friends, and that in the meantime the old friends might be further away but they are still friends. And so far I’m doing OK.

    I can’t wait to have kids, though, because everyone says that’s when you really start meeting people.

    Also, I remind myself that my mom didn’t meet her best friend, who is like a second mother to me, until I was four. So it’s not like it’s now or never, in terms of friendships.

    You’ll get there. You will. And I think in some ways the small-town, family aspect of things will help. You meet someone, they introduce you to someone else, and suddenly there’s a whole network. Having coworkers interested in the same things as you will also help.

    • Susie says:

      I can see that it will all be fine, I’m just terrified! I had such a great network. But, tonight I went and played frisbee, and I could see that maybe things will be ok. So, feeling marginally less desperate :)

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