In terms of the mental and emotional preparation for moving to Mexico, I’ve come up with this metaphor for the different experiences Mark and I are having: He’s the one who’s pregnant — experiencing the day to day changes while living in DC and learning Spanish, meeting colleagues, and studying history and current events in Latin America. I’m the partner to whom it doesn’t really seem real. Oh sure, I’m getting the nursery ready and reading up on baby care. But of course it’s not the same.
Sometimes this is OK — it has to be, right? But sometimes I’m overwhelmed by a kind of left-behind feeling, and the worry that I’ll never feel connected to our new community like he will. He’ll be bonding with his coworkers and living embassy life while I’ll be adrift at home, unable even to speak the language.
These worries come in my worst moments, the ones I sometimes share with my therapist, who suggested that, if I’m feeling disconnected, it might help me to do whatever it takes to make connections. Of course it sometimes takes an outsider to point out the obvious! I could try to touch base with folks in the therapy community or in regard to Jack’s school or families already living there! On the other hand, just thinking about reaching out to people I don’t know fueled my anxiety all over again.
The problem with anxiety, of course, is that it blinds you to the opportunities right in front of you. My friend Martha Barnette lives in San Diego, right across the border from Tijuana, and has regularly sent me encouragement, even a work lead, via Facebook message. She would have been happy to help me think through all this had I contacted her. But I didn’t have to. Just this week, there was another Martha message — hey Fran, I met a woman with Tijuana connections whom I think you’d like! She’s a Unitarian Universalist, too! Maybe you all could be Facebook friends! I’ll introduce you!
And she did. And I did. And there’s enough of a connection, however slight, that I felt instantly a thousand times better. I wanted to weep with gratitude. OK, I did.
And I was reminded of what a gift it is, when you’re scared, to have someone else make the connection for you. Sometimes that’s all it takes.