As many of you know I’m the newest host here at Evine. Taking the job a year ago followed many months of uncertainty and a visa process so lengthy it probably deserves a blog of its own! I finally moved here from London in January this year. Arriving in Minnesota in the middle of winter might sound like the worst time of year, but I had done my research, got some good boots and a big coat. With the beautiful houses and the snow it was like landing in Christmas-land!
When most people talk about stepping out of their comfort zone, they think about doing something extreme like bungee jumping or leaping out of a plane. But those are short, sharp shocks that are over quickly. Moving to a new country, everything you do is new. New, job, new home, new people. Even the car I drive (and the side of the road!) and where I buy groceries have all changed, so it takes a while to come down back to earth because there’s nothing familiar to come home to. Plus, as there are so many decisions on a daily basis there’s no time to procrastinate! You have to seize every moment, a way we often talk about in terms of living our lives but rarely get the chance to.
I’ve always had a love affair with America. When I was little I used to watch Moonlighting from my bed and imagine that New York was outside my curtains. I first went to New York when I was twenty years old and, in 2005, worked on the BBC documentary series ‘Soul Deep: The Story of Black Popular Music’ where we traveled the country interviewing some of the most influential names in soul music. On my travels I’ve visited San Francisco, Las Vegas, LA, New York, New Orleans and Connecticut. I’ve always found people in the US to be open, friendly and even an exchange with a stranger in a elevator can brighten my day.
Right place, right time..
Moving your whole life is a huge, but I had so many signs that this was the right place to be. I’d lived in London for 10 years and always thought I would move after a decade but just hadn’t decided where yet. Then my apartment building was sold and I’d be talking to my coach about moving to the States. I was working in Dublin and walking down a street that could have been straight from Minnesota, thinking to myself that I always thought I would live in America one day and just weeks later I was approached by Evine!
In Minnesota, people are always curious when they hear me speak. “I love your accent” is a daily thing, or “I could hear you talk all day” to which I say that can only be a good thing as I talk for a living and tell them they can watch me on Evine! The question I get asked the most is, “What the biggest difference?” or “What do you miss the most?” My advice to anyone going to live in a new country is to say your goodbyes to what and whoever you’re going to miss before you set foot on the plane, and look for connection rather than what’s different.
When I first arrived I did miss being able to walk everywhere, as well as the architecture of London. Unlike most Brits, I don’t crave PG or Tetley tea (British tea brands); I’m more of a Pukka girl when it comes to having a ‘cuppa’. There aren’t any TV shows I can’t get online or live without. In terms of fashion, I was sad to leave was my beloved Topshop. I actually cried when I saw they’d come to Nordstrom’s – to see the familiar logo I’ve loved and worn for years in an unexpected place brought up unexpected emotions!
There’s a French expression, ‘Vive la difference’ and ‘long live the difference’ is how I feel about living in America. I love the four seasons that we have in Minnesota, I’m a water-baby (which you can read about in my last blog) so very well suited to lake-life. I’ve also enjoyed the challenge of making new friends with the interests and person I am now. I adore the weather here because, although Minnesotans refer to it as a short summer, three months is a cause for celebration and very different from our wet summers in the UK!
Here’s my advice if you’re thinking about taking plunge and moving somewhere new:
Embrace the new
One of my mottos has always been ‘I’ll try anything twice’. I hated sushi the first time, now I love it! If you’re somewhere new you’re not the same ‘you’ so, be adventurous – you might surprise yourself! When I came over last year, I went to the State Fair to sample the many foods on a stick and then drove to St Paul to hit up the yard sales. A few months ago, I volunteered at the Minneapolis film festival; both to meet new people and so that I had to drive across Downtown in rush hour! I often set myself ‘missions’ just to get myself up and out and about.
Laugh at yourself
Taking yourself too seriously can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Another motto of mine is ‘Lighten up and let go’. I like to try and laugh at situations and notice my negative self-talk. Telling yourself, “I’m such an idiot” doesn’t serve you. Try laughing at the situation rather than making it your fault. We can’t all be comedians 24-7, but sometimes cracking up at a situation lightens the mood and gives you a new perspective.
Let yourself mess up
Things will go ‘wrong’ but, as a life coach, I’m a great believer that the only mistakes we make are the ones we don’t learn from. Allowing yourself to fail allows you to grow.
*Pssst! I failed my written Minnesota driving test the first time and then spent two days revising the whole Minnesota drivers handbook!*
Make it your own
I’ve practiced yoga for 16 years and love to swim, dance and work out in the gym.
I bought my yoga mats with me and joined a studio the first week. If your life is feeling all over the place, try and create your own routines to feel grounded and move your body to get those feel good endorphins. I love the quote, ‘If Oprah has time to meditate you have time to meditate.’ (Even if I don’t always find time to meditate! 😉
Get out there!
Don’t stay in and wait for life to happen. Meetup.com is a great way to meet people with the same interests as you. If you’re feeling you can’t go alone, post a message to say that you’re feeling nervous! A lot of meetups wear wrist bands or something to make it easy for you to find the group. Go for it!