Moving and Starting Over

I suppose it is time for another “life update.” As of a couple weeks ago I am employed again, and as of two days ago I am living in Houston. This is not where I expected to end up (and indeed if you look at what I was hoping for three months ago, and where God placed me instead, you will see that there is little matching), but God knows what He intends and my job is to follow His lead.

In a way this is a good thing. Those of you who have been speaking with me for a while know that upstate South Carolina, despite liking the climate and landscape, was miserable for me. Work was a constant stress, especially from April until July, and after being there for two years I could still say I had no friends in the area. True, I had acquaintances at church and was beginning to get along okay with some locals, but there were no relationships deep or significant enough to call real “friendships.” Alongside this, because I have moved every year since 2006 and have had little chance to “settle” for a while, I ended up falling back to online contacts because I knew that even if I moved, they would still be with me, so I devoted more time than I probably should have to those friends I have online.

This has gone on for years.

But when I was driving through Spartanburg to drop off my cable box and router, and a few times going to church in the past month, I passed through parts of town I had never visited in two years. I did not know what was on the east side of town. I did not visit the downtown library until six weeks ago. I never stopped by to see what the downtown square had to offer.

In a way this could be viewed as two years of wasting opportunities.

This is not going to happen in Houston. In a way, moving this far out here will be a good thing, because I know no one and have no one nearby, so I will be forced to get to know people in order to function at a minimum and enjoy it here. The last two years were squandered. The next two, three, or however many, will not be. I have been given a chance to start over and do not want to lose it.

Culture Shock

Culture shock can manifest itself in the oddest of places. I have lived in the South all my life, so I am used to the Carolinian/Georgian way of doing things, but for the most part I don’t feel too out-of-place when travelling. Some of this is due to the effect of modernization on different societies (when I landed in Bogota I wasn’t sure if I’d left Atlanta). I don’t even feel out of place in Toronto, although this time around I did notice a few more differences I did not quite pick up on at first.

Visiting Texas for an interview was another matter entirely. The entire trip was a reminder that I was far from home in unfamiliar territory. Even though I am used to life near the ocean, and have worked at a plant on a river, there was much different. I did not figure out the feeder roads while I was there, nor was I sure what to make of the menus at restaurants (missing items I am familiar with), and the way of life I observed during my brief stay there was different enough to make me feel uncomfortable.

What are the odds that I would have more trouble adjusting to a town in “my own” region rather than one on the other side of the continent? Apparently rather high.