Assimilation

Moving. Acclimating. Wondering? Thinking. Realising. Pretty much our lives right now.

One of the strangest things about moving from your home country to a new one is the process of “assimilation”. I would define that as the process of becoming comfortable in, or used to, your surroundings. (I bet it officially has a better definition, but I like Star Trek so I like using the word assimilation.)

It is a journey, that quit resembles standing in the waves and facing the beach. Some waves just sway you, some surprise you, hit you over the head, taking you under and roll you around on the bottom, all the while silently giggling like tiny bubbles washing over your skin. None of it is on purpose, it is all very neutral. But even neutrality can drown you in its weight.

I have gone back and forth, up and down. And only recently have I felt an internal voice say this is home. I think all of that is natural, you do not aclimate to a new home over night. You have to soak in it, there very well may be a time when I change the things around me, but for now part of this assimilation is choosing how you will let your new home change you. Again perfectly natural, when you are in the sea you smell like the sea. Your skin looks like a prune, and most obviously you get soaked by water.

You wouldn’t sit in the ocean and get angry for being wet. Just as when you enter change, or a new place, or any time of transition, there is no use to getting angry, or frustrated, the change is normal. They way it morphs you is normal. I truly think that you will change either way, either you go with the flow and manoeuvre  around in the current, you swim with it and enjoy it a bit, or you fight it let it tire you out, create in you aches and pains, maybe even drown you.

One of the main things I learn form this process is realising how much of what I thought I needed, I don’t need. Or how much I didn’t realise I needed now has become even more important. The same old things you can rely on you can no longer. It is an exciting experience, to begin to watch some of your cultural realities slowly wash away in the waves. And you realise either how absurd some are, and others you grieve because though you like them, they are no longer useful, they are dead weight on a journey.

Then in other ways you begin to grasp universal realities, that transcends culture, or experience. Well, as much as US culture differs from UK, which there are differences but in the grand scheme of things they are close cousins. But even here ideas of work, or gospel, or time, relationship, conversation, education… they are all different enough to be felt. Priorities in one place are not so much in another, body language and active/reactive listening all different.

Yet every day there is an invitation: it’s a choice to jump up on the board and ride the wave.

I’d rather be riding, than just stand there like a tourist and eat it.

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