Yesterday as I sat on the train, waiting for it to leave the station, I said to my husband, "I hate living here!" We were late for a lunch date, and as is typical on a weekend, the trains were running 20 minutes apart, sometimes longer.
It wasn't just the trains, of course. It was everything. The dreariness of winter, with ugly patches of snow covering the even uglier grass. The sterile, 70s-era train stations, not meant to entertain but to move people around the city in as utilitarian a fashion as possible. The frustrations of driving anywhere, stopping and starting at the whim of the endless traffic signals.
After uttering those words, I stewed for a minute, then remembered what day it was: The last day of February. It was six months ago, today, that we moved from England to the United States. Half a year.
The six month mark is always the hardest. You're hopeful when you first move to a new location, even if it's a move you dreaded. There are many possibilities—new friends, new places to explore, new opportunities. Six months later, you realize that the possibilities haven't turned into reality. Your attempts to discover new places doesn't always go to plan—like the time I went to the Library of Congress and ended up at the Supreme Court building instead. And everyone in the new location already has friends; you're just another stranger to them. And while you spend much of your time in the early months shopping for necessities for your new abode, eventually shopping just becomes a chore, even at once exciting, new-to-you places like Target and Costco and Whole Foods.
Today, on the six month anniversary of our arrival at Dulles Airport, it's sleeting outside. I can hear the ice pelting the windows. This warm, inviting country doesn't seem so inviting anymore. Well-meaning friends tell me to hang on, there are cherry blossoms around the corner, but I noticed the Potomac was frozen over yesterday.
If D.C is a charming place, I have yet to discover it. The buildings are too new. The streets are too wide. The Metro is too scary. This city tries too hard to take itself seriously—I've walked up those Supreme Court steps, remember. They're not imposing; they're just cold and slippery and potentially quite deadly. I find Parliament Square altogether more inviting than Capital Hill.
I remember our first week here. It was hot, the outside air filled with loud insect noises, the inside air filled with the strange noise of the air conditioner. But still, there was that pregnant air of possibility.
Sometimes I feel like an exotic flower, uprooted from the soil it's known for ten years and forced to grow in frozen, foreign ground. They say you bloom where you're planted, but so far my roots haven't gotten a foothold. Maybe I need more fertilizer.
Or maybe six months isn't enough time for blooms to form.