Out of the Rat Race and Into the Fire

When my husband first brought up the subject of moving to London, there were a lot of emotions that swirled around. First, it was excitement about pushing through our comfort zones and experiencing another culture, life, location, etc. Who wouldn’t get excited about the prospect of being at Europe’s doorstep?

After that started to wane, fear crept in. It took about six months for us to go from conception of idea to execution, mind you, so we had ample time to get terrified about what we were doing. After we acknowledged the fear with several long discussions about what we would be giving up and what we would be gaining, we moved on to preparation.

We prepared and prepared for months. How to transition out of my job, what things to get rid of and cull, what to do with our pets, and then travel arrangements.

The deal Jeff and I had decided on was that he would immediately go to work and I would set up shop (house). It was my job to find a flat, get the bills in order, find and get groceries, etc. When we were in the states, I took over the role of domestic housewife by going to the grocery store and cooking for the most part, so taking on these roles in England was great!

I have become the 1950s stereotype of a “little wife” who stays at home while her husband goes off to work and brings home the bacon for her to serve up.

I was very paranoid about finding a job almost as soon as I got off the plane, but I did realize that I could not focus on that immediately as I had other things to do, but nevertheless, I did try to apply for some positions all to no avail.

Finding a job is going to be a little more difficult than I initially thought. Anyway, that’s what brings me to why I chose this topic of discussion. I was at Waitrose, our neighborhood grocery store, yesterday buying our much needed groceries while the gentleman in front of me was giving the check out clerk some grief. He was in need of a very specific hand soap–it had to be a particular brand and smell. I was as patient as I could be standing and waiting my turn. [The British do love a good queue.]

What had turned out to be the ruckus was the gentleman’s wife had passed away some time ago, and he wanted to buy the soap she had used. All of a sudden, this inconvenience in the check out line became a solemn moment. When the gentleman had enough, he turned to the clerk and said he would search another time because the woman behind him (me) needed to go home and cook dinner for her husband.

I’m not quite sure if I felt good about the observation or irked by the stereotypical statement. I would feel more irked I guess, if I wasn’t in fact buying groceries for dinner that night but for myself as a single woman.

Anyway, this is all to say that I’m not sure how I feel about fitting the “little housewife” stereotype: staying at home and taking care of cleaning, cooking, arranging and logistics while my husband is off at work. I’m thrilled to not be in the constant grind of  the morning commute, but then again, I do wish I was the “independent” working woman making money and feeling career purpose.

Jeff is constantly having to remind me that I can take this time to really concentrate on what I want to do with my life. I fell into my previous profession of book publishing by accident and got comfortable under the fluorescent lights, for better or worse. I’m just so used to being on the go and constantly working toward something, I’m not considering that I can add to my education, find something on a volunteer basis, or work on a craft instead. Who would have thought that getting out of the rat race was even an option?

Here is to finding the sunny side and taking it easy. I’m trying to remember that each day living in this foreign country, we are embracing the world outside our comfort zones. Who would have thought that being out of the daily grind was outside of my comfort zone.

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