So, I’ve been here for a year and a half now. And in keeping with feelings of sudden nostalgia, here’s something I wrote back in October 2015… four months in.
How time flies.
Georgia On My Mind…
Perhaps this was a pre midlife crisis.
Or maybe, it was merely time to un-play it safe, take a chance, pack a suitcase and leave the job I’d known for twelve years and jump on a plane headed to the United States.
Just like when I’d decided I wanted to finally write a book, I didn’t tell everyone of my plans. Because, like the energy around me, I needed positive folk, those I knew would support my dream with a well meaning; ‘Go for it, Girl’ and not the carefully worded, ‘are you sure this is a good idea?’
I am a dichotomy of traits; outgoing go-getter /introverted planner.
I was charting new territory having lived in England for most of my life, yet was no stranger to America. My first trip, aged nineteen involved working on an isolated summer camp in New Jersey with just an ounce of the confidence I now possessed. This time, I was a fully grown woman stuck in a space that echoed with the chimes of, ‘the time is now!’
So I did it.
I leaped off the proverbial safety net and into to the uncharted waters of the freelance writer and into a country that spoke a different English from what I’d been used to.
The first two months were a haze of apartment hunting and poetry slams. Making new friends was not something I thought I’d be doing at this age, but clearly a necessity when exploring new surroundings. The people I bumped paths with have been some of the nicest most welcoming I have ever met. Consequently, it didn’t take long to feel at home and rather bloated (Atlanta is home of the fried chicken wing after all) as I ushered in this new experience. Of course, the daydreams I once harbored about this trip (when it was far from becoming a reality) differs slightly to what has transpired during my time in Atlanta. The daydream contained five main components;
1) I Will Write In Fashionable Cafes Surrounded By Other Writer Types
So far, the only coffee shop I have frequented is the mighty Starbucks, mainly because of its proximity to my home, crucial as I do not drive. I once proudly vowed never to be a Starbucks type, preferring quaint family owned coffee houses with home baked cakes, but hey, needs must. I now even own a Starbucks card. Kill. Me. Now.
2) I Will Exercise (Almost) Daily
I am a woman of a certain age. I can no longer get away with a lack of regular exercise, as my lungs would attest after a short walk up a hill. The ‘but I do pilates once a week’ no longer cuts it. With a gym situated just a few yards from my front door, there are no excuses applicable. Three months later, I have been in that gym once whilst the chicken wing consumption has risen astronomically along with my girth. I have blamed the hot weather for my lack of interest, but Fall is now upon us and I am ready. I start today!
3) I WILL Maintain A healthy Eating Regime
Atlanta. Chicken wings. Please see above.
4) I Will Visit Vast Sections Of The American Countryside, For Inspiration
So far I have travelled to New Orleans, which was fantastic. But alas, this was to enjoy the annual Essence Festival, watch Mary J Blige, sample Louisiana’s finest cuisine and seek out a True Blood vampire. I’m not sure how inspiring this all was, but I had a great time! I do plan to visit Savannah, South and North Carolina in the very near future, areas I am told are very scenic during Fall months.
5) I Will Write (Almost ) Every Day!
At the beginning of this trip, my writing mojo had left me, gone on a vacation and tossed me aside. Friends dispelled my fears with; ‘You’re in a new country, it takes a while to settle down.’ But as any writer will tell you, writing is like breathing, therefore the absence of it made for an uncomfortable early experience.
Now, I am almost four months in. I am settled into my new home, the writing mojo has reappeared and I can end this article on a positive note.
I do however, remain addicted to chicken wings.