Though there are many reasons and many different situations that see people arriving in the Bay Area there is a very specific reason for a lot of us. And that reason is, love! We’ve followed husbands, and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends across the globe as they pursue their careers in tech, science, academia or otherwise in the Bay. And while for the most part, we do so willingly that doesn’t mean that sometimes things aren’t hard.
Many arrive alone whilst many others come as a family, with children, pets or other extended family members, there are those of us, like my husband and myself that come as a couple. This is a complex situation, arriving alone forces you to get out and meet people, having children forces you to get out but when you move abroad as a couple only, you can become overly reliant on each other and life can get pretty lonely. There are no children to take to class, no school gates to chat at, and no parents to socialize with at playdates. This means that your relationship becomes more important than ever as your love and bond to each other can be all you have, you have become each other’s only family member.
In time you will both make friends and establish social circles and regain some of your independence, but this will not be instantaneous. In the initial stages, love is all you have. So, you need to make every effort to make things work. Though many of these tips can be applied in any situation here is how you can make things work.
Spend time together
When one of you has moved for a career it is understandable that you get caught up in the excitement of establishing yourself in your new role. But it is important to remember that you have a partner at home, who has potentially given up work and is now sitting alone, wondering what to do with themselves. This can turn love to resentment so, try not to work every evening and weekend, but to take time to be together. Get out, explore, make an effort to do things together.
Spend time apart
Conversely, be sure to spend time apart. If you become entirely reliant on each other for all of your social interaction, bad habits are formed. You must encourage each other to get out, do things, try things alone. Whether it is starting a new class or hobby or just exploring the neighbourhood and learning how things work for themselves. It is important to support the one you love to take these steps towards independence early on. When I arrived, I spent time getting to know public transport in the area, as a means to explore, interact and gain some independence while my husband was out at work. These little steps can be enough to help you find a footing in your new home.
Be honest with the one you love
Times can be tough, and there is no point in hiding that from each other, right now you are the biggest support for each other. Be honest when you are finding things hard, share, listen and be ready to help if you can. Often, just talking things through, is enough to help. Remember – It is normal to find things hard. I am not afraid to admit that there have been multiple occasions during my four years abroad when I have felt overwhelmed with missing family, but a cathartic conversation, cuddle, and cry is enough to make the world seem brighter again.
Embrace the new
So, someone invites you to something you wouldn’t normally do, or somewhere you’ve never thought of going, say yes. You never had an interest in belly dancing before? Or had no interest in pottery? Who knows, it might be fun! Together or apart, you need to start grabbing whatever life throws at you and you’ll soon build a new community. I had dreamt of being a writer for many years, and arriving here, knowing no one, I took a leap and joined Life in the Bay, if it wasn’t for this adventure, I would never be doing the thing I love most in the world. And I have met wonderful people that I am glad to call friends all thanks to taking that leap.
Remember why you’re doing this
You’ve come halfway across the world together on this adventure. You love each other enough to take this giant leap together, whether the venture is a success or a failure, you still have each other. So whilst love is definitely not all you need, it is certainly an asset in your life abroad!
If you’re still looking for your community or want to get out more join us for a walk on Thursday 22nd, details in our Facebook community. We look forward to seeing you.
Did you follow love to the Bay? Tell us your love story, below!
I know now that I’m not alone, being homesick is just another part of the rich, fascinating and sometimes challenging experience of being an expat.