We’ve been in the UK for a few days over six months now. It’s interesting to note what we have learned and what we still have yet to discover. For me, it was a bit like a strange, extended vacation upon first arrival. I’ll spare you another re-telling of the long, drawn out, introspective diary-like study of the emotions I experienced while finding my way as a housewife, flat hunter, self-selling career ladder climber, color guard director retiree, overseas consultant, student chef, American ex-pat, foreigner on holiday, and new neighbor. (Some of those are quite creative titles for mundane parts I played, but the show wouldn’t be the same without the lead tree. I am the lead tree, for you non-regular readers…)
There have been very few teary outbursts, but those that did occur are worth documenting for the Huddleston history books. For every one, there was an equally weighted moment of realization and determination – the show really must go on, lead tree and all.
There have also been more “holy crap Batman!” moments than I am able to count. It’s very often that we catch ourselves in a routine task when we suddenly realize we are in London. Sometimes it does feel like being in the Matrix; I feel the glitch in our program, the jump. Perhaps it’s a result of having lived our entire lives, until October 2008, in small towns and familiar surroundings.
Here we are in the midst of people from all over the world… We are touched by their culture and their stories. We have greater regular exposure to world news and an environment of global thinking. It is a great vantage point from which to view our own home country. There are those who think us unpatriotic in our willingness to live here among these non-Americans and those who just don’t share our curiosity. However, I am convinced that it is all for the greater good.
So, at 6 months, what do we love and what do we miss? We love the architecture, theatre, access we have to the arts and sciences, free museums, other ex-pats, life lessons, how easy it is to recycle, public transport (for its green-ness), proximity to Europe for travel opportunities, and feeling like we have conquered our fears.
Unfortunately, we get homesick. Family and friends are constantly on our mind. And then there is this cat.
…terribly sorry for the grainy, fuzzy photos. He still melts my heart, though.
More and more often I wish that Midnight would hop on the bed to “help” make it or curl up on a pile of freshly folded laundry. That cat has a grip on my heart like I never could have predicted. It’s more than the loyalty and sense of responsibility that I thought I carried… (If anyone knows of a lovely place where he could stay until we get home, please let us know.) I have even seriously begun again considering starting the process of bringing him here. It just seems so selfish to demand that he endure all of that.
I am sure Drew misses riding. I miss color guard folks and activities – seriously, strongly, sharply, and in completely unexpected ways. There is a strong urge to refuse myself the right to look back on those things. After all, I chose to accept this challenge, right? Still, the excitement that carries us forward does not replace the connection that we have to those people and places that prepared us for this journey. Admitting that we miss ‘ol so-and-so does not imply that we aren’t still seeking to enjoy each moment before us, though it does seem to give greater meaning to our choices and certainly colors the lens.