There are some changes in a major move that the relocation specialists, and the "Welcome to _____" guidebooks just can't help you anticipate. Things that you don't even think about, but that end up mattering in a profound way.
No one says "the intensity of the sun, and the length of daylight hours, and the angle of the sun in the changing seasons (or seeming lack of them) will disorient you entirely and leave you feeling the most primal unfamiliarity, where you awaken, disoriented, for weeks on end."
We moved to Russia during the white nights in June. The sun dimmed from ten pm until about two or three am. It was not dark, just muted daylight. Daylight filtered by the impression of night, but not night itself. Then, three hours later, the sun rises with strength, and I couldn't tell where, or when, I was.
Each time I am in Holland, I arrive in a jet-lagged stupor, and each time I am struck by the paleness of the sky, the whiteness of the sunshine, and the mournful sound of the turtledoves when I awake in the morning, to the ringing of bike bells out on the street below.
In Australia the sky was so blue, and the light so intense, I could hardly believe it was real. I took picture after picture, documenting cornflower skies against terra cotta roof tiles, the saturated colors filled up some empty reservoir inside me. The sun shines butter yellow, unimpeded by the ozone layer.
Here in Houston it is dark when I awake. I have never lived at this latitude and longitude before. I have never experienced the sun at this angle in this season. I look for friendship in the color of the sky, the rhythm of the seasons, the way things are here.
I plant my garden, I sow seeds in trays. I squat down to examine blossoms that don't ripen to fruit. I plunge my finger into the soil, to the second knuckle, dry. I roll the soil in my palm, the richness has all dripped away in rainstorms, the plants sag and shrivel.
They don't tell you in a guidebook that the very earth feels different, depending on where you stand on it, and sometimes, waiting for the firmness to descend into your feet is the hardest part.