Archive | September, 2011

I’m not saying goodbye

29 Sep

I grew up in one house, in one city. The city is still in my bones and memory and nothing feels like home as much as the bricked sidewalks, shady trees, and illuminated monuments of my hometown.  Somewhere in the core of my self-image, I will always live there.

But, I moved away to college, and after college came many moves — Canada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Kansas, Maryland.  We talked about moving overseas but as the children were born and grew that goal seemed to drift further away.  Until now, when after months of talking about it, we packed up and got ready to move to the UK in four quick weeks.

Four weeks is short enough that, if you don’t really think about it, moving away has a dream-like quality of unreality.  You say “see you later,” to someone at the market, and don’t realize until a few days later that that was it, that was the final goodbye.

I’m almost glad so many goodbyes are happening without my full awareness.  To know that the children I knew as babies and have watched grow into fascinating little people will be pre-teens or more when I see them next — that is a reach-for-the-hanky realization.  To sit with the women who are more than friends, who have been my lifeline as I struggled with motherhood and finding my place here in Maryland, and to suddenly appreciate that I am leaving that warm circle of companionship behind — that’s another box of hankies.

I’ve moved enough to know that friendships don’t end when you don’t see each other everyday, but I know they change.  The good ones grow deeper, stronger, and you pick up right where you left off as if the intervening years never happened.  I have a few friends like that, and they make life worthwhile.  I hope I’m lucky enough to find more in England.

I tell myself I’m not saying goodbye.  But I’m keeping the hankies close.

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House Hunters International, part one

25 Sep

I’m a huge (aka unhealthily obsessed) fan of the show House Hunters International. I really think those couples ought to give me a call before deciding which house to buy. And do you notice that no one ever buys a house and ends up hating it? How is that possible?

We’ve been scoping out houses to rent in our UK destination for a couple of months. You know, something small and typical, like this:

We’re doing our best with Primelocation and Rightmove, but if moving to Kansas and renting a house sight unseen has taught me anything, it is that one should never ever rent a house sight unseen.  (Moving to Kansas is a whole other blog.)  Figuring out the British lingo for renting houses is also a bit baffling.  Why is everyone obsessed with double glazed panes?  What could it mean that a house is ‘deceptively spacious’?  Why are there sinks in carpeted bedrooms? Terraced homes, reception rooms, houses to ‘let’, the PCM, calculating dimensions in meters, it’s all close to familiar but just unfamiliar enough to be daunting.

In just a week, we’ll start looking at houses in person. Stay tuned on this topic.

The Big Bang

24 Sep

Everything starts somewhere, and here is where this blog starts.  Bang.

keep calmWhy crumpets?  I’m an obsessive, obsessed, this-is-my-version-of-meditation-for-world-peace kind of baker.  Here in America, where I live and bake, that usually means muffins.  (Although if you’re one of my friends on Facebook you’ll know I don’t stop there.)  But in just a few days we are moving our family of five to England — to a really English-y part of England — so it’s going to be time for crumpet making.  Do they bake?  Do they fry?  Do they gently come into being by themselves inside a fairy tree?  Time to find out.

(I joke, of course.  I already have a recipe.)

And why Camelot?  I have some strong fantasy elements in my conception of England.  Geometrically challenged furniture.  Robin Hood.  Tudor Roses.  Bluestockings.  Julie Andrews breaking into song.  Maybe a highwayman on the way to Gretna Green.  That sort of thing.  Won’t it be fun to see what it’s really like?

Our house is packed away.  Our cats are staying with Nana for a few months.  Our minivan has already started the boat ride to Sherwood Forest.  The kids have smuggled as many stuffed animals into their shoes and underpants as they can manage.  I’m putting on my cowboy boots.  Time to say some goodbyes and get ready to greet England.  With a bang.