Today marks exactly one month since I arrived in the States, and exactly four weeks since I have been living in New Jersey.
(This will only be a quick update and I thoroughly apologise for waiting so long to do it but if you know me you wont be surprised. In fact, I started posting photos to Facebook as compensation for giving you nothing in writing).
I can’t tell whether a month seems like a long or short amount of time in comparison to how I feel. Actual days and weeks go so fast and I almost can’t believe only four have passed. But the month as a whole seems like it has gone incredibly fast: I wonder how fast an entire year will go by?
In this household, I feel entirely at home. I’m already completely in love with Chloe and Warren and enjoying my job very much due to the incredible hospitality I’ve received. However, although I’ve really enjoyed all the things I’ve done so far, I still don’t feel completely immersed in my new culture. So in a way, it feels as if I have been here forever, with ‘here’ being a part of this family and their house, but at the same time I still feel just as strange and foreign in this town as I did when I first arrived.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for Jade here and she made the clever decision to go home, which I and my host family fully supported her in. Luckily I got to spend quite a bit of time with her beforehand and we’re still in regular touch (she’s doing so well being back in England so I’m very happy for her). But since the moment that Jade left, I began to feel homesick for the first time ever. Suddenly, the honey-moon stage was over for me because my perfect situation was altered slightly and losing my only friend was ever so slightly daunting. Missing home hasn’t been too bad though and it only happens when I’m alone and away from distraction. Nothing I can’t handle after getting this far!
I have since made new friends and spent time with them and I’m really happy. I met a couple of German girls my age, Sophie and Jana, who are really great company, as well as some more Brits! I’ve also been able to spend time on my own which is something I’ve always enjoyed, and being alone gives me a good excuse to talk to and interact with strangers which helps me feel slightly more human again. The accent reactions I get are hilarious and I’ve started observing people’s facial expressions during the moment that I first talk to them; it’s a great source of entertainment.
American culture varies a lot more from English culture than you might realise. I have come to realise that stereotypes for both countries are extremely accurate, and I love it.
I haven’t done anything major just yet; it’s been a lot of food involved activities, a lot of Starbucks involved activities, and shopping. I had a trip into Jersey City with Jade, the day she left, where we had breakfast by the Hudson River, volunteered at a film and television festival and then sat down to watch a series of short films that were entered, before going to an open house at Mana Contemporary art studios in the afternoon. Halloween was very fun: we went to an event in our local downtown where everyone (children, adults, dogs, the lot) dressed up and the stores were providing candy for trick or treaters. Being dressed as a Disney princess was an interesting experience in that Beth and I were treated like minor celebrities. Little girls were so delighted to see us and have us wave and smile at them, and complete strangers asked for photos of us or with their children. Odd, but adorable. The next day they had a street fair in the same place, which was so much better than we were expecting so we ended up spending quite a bit of time there with the kids. Other things I have done involve practicing my driving, going to a Halloween party with a group of Au pairs in my area, getting frozen yoghurt with Jade, autumny walks, and getting manicures with Sophie and Jana.
I have exciting things coming up though so I’ll try and be more consistent with my updates.