I'm Discontent: How to Manage Weather Expectations in Your New Home Country
Don't get me wrong: I'm happy I'm not melting in 102 degree weather in Texas. And sure, it's been almost a year in Europe (!) and I'm only just now making a point to learn Celsius and Fahrenheit equivalents... Much like The Scientist and I suspected, Europe fits our cultural values very well, and I have incredibly kind friends, like I mentioned a couple weeks ago.
But the weather. This one is a real hurdle for me.
Do I like the fact that it's 73 degrees out right now in the beginning of June? Sure! In Texas, that's called "Spring" and it only lasts for two weeks, at most. But I grew up near the coast, so I'm accustomed to intense humidity and heat. I understand it. I enjoy it. This, I don't understand. It's more shocking to my system than the depths of a Lithuanian winter, and acknowledging that kind of bums me out. Last week brought a lot of gloomy rain, and I couldn't stand it... I actually felt depressed: "this is June!?" Luckily, I had a sweet friend from another country who felt the same way, and it got me thinking we may not be the only ones having to manage our weather expectations in a new country.
Of course, the weather is gorgeous right now and I just have to be patient every time it gets colder or rainier, spend time with my people, but still, it feels really healthy to acknowledge how much this gets under my skin. (It's less of a thing for my New England husband, bless him.)
So, if you're in a new climate and experiencing something similar, I'm here to say: you're not alone. It doesn't make you any less grateful or open to wonder. It makes you human. How am I managing this? It's actually very similar to how I managed the winter months.
Acknowledge that it sucks. You're not doing yourself or anyone else favors by pushing your feelings down, especially in the middle of a transition as big as this one. If you're into moving through your emotions proactively, EFT may be a good option. (It's helping me make some shifts!) Last week, I felt like I had had it. I was absolutely over the rain and cold, I wasn't feeling happy in Lithuania (a rarity!), I felt like I'd made a poor choice. And thankfully, a couple of people told me they felt similarly disappointed in the weather, and that made me feel... actually, a lot better. I realized that I've gotten pretty good at sitting with my discomfort, but not so much my discontent. Last week was a huge lesson in approaching that emotion. And then I did something with that emotion: I exercised, moved it out. Literally - right then and there, I started a new workout routine. It felt like a healthy challenge in the middle of some gnarly emotions.
Treat your feelings like the weather. Speaking of weather, recognize that your emotions are passing just as much as the rain I obsessively check on my phone's forecast. More than anything, this too shall pass - that's actually what I've been tapping on in EFT. That kind of gave me the grace to step back from my grumpiness and do a little reset. Thoughts and emotions are just passing through, including discontent.
Spend time with friends who care about you. This was a big one. I had a new friend over this past week for a tea ceremony similar to the ones I'm used to in Texas, and that healed me on a cellular level. It felt like home in a new space, a new arrangement of molecules. And this weekend, I participated in Vilnius's Baltic Pride festival and spent time barbecuing with friends. They were all part of the glue I needed to keep me going. If you don't have any friends yet where you are, I suggest looking into Girl Gone International or similar groups. I can pretty much guarantee other internationals are experiencing similar things as you, and they have good tips (bright clothes! bright nail polish! whatever it takes!).
More than anything, I'm glad a conversation with a new friend helped me realize that I was experiencing discontent instead of discomfort. To have a word for my anger, frustration, and disappointment was so immediately helpful. And it's all normal, especially in your first season somewhere. So, if you find yourself banging your head against a wall, just know it'll pass. At least, it always does for me.
To go back to Baltic Pride for a moment, it was such a joyous experience, one of the most joyous since I moved to Lithuania. So many people celebrating love, smiling, dancing, taking over the city with their joy. Wow, that sounds cheesy as hell, but that's really what it felt like. Audrey had a great time, too, as pictured. ... But then, I walked with some friends over to San Diego, a casual spot that kind of reminds me of Austin, and got to soak in some warmth. I guess what I'm trying to say is: I'm taking my warmth wherever I can get it these days. Maybe one day that'll include a trip to another European country, but for now, I'm immersing myself in the Lithuania experience.
The same face I make when the sun comes out.
One day, future me will appreciate it!
Alright, friends, until next time! Viso gero - be kind to each other.