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#P9 What in the world?! aka Moving to Portugal from the USA

So I was getting ready to write up a foodie post but I think that would be really insensitive and obtuse with everything going on between Russia and Ukraine. There are no words to describe how sad this is for all the people losing loved ones right now. I won't get into the politics of this, as I feel like who am I am to comment? I will discuss my current experience and the surrealism of attempting to understand everything going on.

America is like the rebellious baby of the family that "wants to live my own life and be myself." Crap I did it again...not America... the US...see what I mean? The US doing its own thing has led to its own unique culture and perspective which has a lot of perks. At the same time, Isolating from the " world family" has sometimes also made it feel like we forgot that there is anyone else involved. I mean literally, we call our baseball championship the World Series (fun fact the world is not a part of it).

Anyways, growing up in the US, we really aren't educated on the detailed history of other countries, world geography (it's an elective course), and have completely different measuring systems etc. Needless to say, moving from the US to overseas is entering a completely new world which seems pretty ridiculous and embarrassing since everything else has been here way longer than the US. (the pic below is supposed to be funny so please don't freak out).

Although we are immigrants in Portugal I hesitate to use that word as we have been far more fortunate than most, compared to those who have had to flee to new countries and were not embraced openly as we have been. Making a new country your home is confusing. I am an American (USian?) but I hope to one day become as much of a Portuguese citizen as I can. I'm trying to eloquently put into words what I am trying to get at but it will likely be far much more of a ramble as I'm not sure what I'm trying to say. If you've made it this far I appreciate it.

Living in the US watching the rest of the world function, feels so removed. We don't really discuss it in school or social circles. We aren't educated about the intricacies, and although the more empathetic ones of us feel for those countries, it all is very removed, almost as if it's a movie. For one of the first times in my life other than 911 (but I was 13 and didn't have the social media etc we have today) I find myself actually living a life where I can't allow myself to be removed.

I am sitting here looking up the history of Russia and Ukraine. Trying to understand NATO. Wondering about how close Ukraine is to my new home and will the energy crisis affect us. How will we be able to help people possibly seeking asylum? Even while living in San Diego, Southern California, when Mexico was going through terrible things 45 min away from where we lived and having Trump who "helped" by throwing kids in cages; it was horrifying but was a blip on the radar concerning a huge chunk of the country. Yep, big fat liberal here, but I feel like this isn't a shock...anyways...

Now I'm not making this a bash the US fest. There are so many amazing things about the country. So many things that I love about living there. I am just pointing out the reality for many when living in such a huge country that is much younger and secluded than its older siblings (if that makes sense).

I have worked really hard in my life to adapt, chameleon my way out of trauma and danger and it is very jarring to not know how to react, what to do, how to acculturate. Now I am in no way sob storying it. We are so incredibly lucky to have the transition we have had, and apparently also landed in one of the few European countries that don't rely on Russia for gas which is a huge relief.

In so many ways I feel like a little kid listening to the grownups talk and trying to make heads or tails of it. I'm not sure if any of this has made sense so far and I hope that I have discussed this as respectively and empathetically as I can while trying to inject a little sarcasm, as is my way. I also am not trying to speak for everyone else and their experience, which I hopefully avoided doing.

I've prided myself in being educated (not necessarily book smarts but more on the human condition, empathetically, etc. hence the being a therapist thing). My hope is to bring that stubborn (passionate?) determination and come to learn my new home and a new world so that I can no longer be a bystander. I want to be able to have a say and a valid opinion because I am living it and breathing it. My world is no longer a million miles away it's down the road and I hope I can live up to that privilege.

Stay tuned for all the good stuff....

March 1, 2022

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