4 Nov

We’re doing fairly well with our adjustment to the UK, so far.  Being the compulsive (obsessive?  OCD?) researcher I am, I’ve read all sorts of articles about what to expect with children on international moves; about homesickness and signs of depression (college sites usually have good articles on this); about making mum-friends in England (or being prepared for it to be hard); about staying in touch with family and friends back home (thank you Skype and Google Video Chat); how to integrate as well and quickly as possible to a new country (Expat forums are helpful).  I’ve been the grateful recipient of advice and suggestions from other Americans who have made the move.  (Keep it coming!)  And, of course, we have the luxury of being in a secure country with a (mostly) common language, a home, food, internet, choices — we’re not displaced, we’re not in crisis.

Still, some mornings I find myself getting weepy because I’ve deleted the ‘local’ (state side) stations on the radio.  (No more Kojo Nnamdi?!) The shirt at the bottom of the luggage that smells like home gets an extra sniff.  (Mmm, Tide.) I order ridiculous baking mixes from King Arthur Flour because I want to hold something familiar in my hand and remember my connection to home.  (Doesn’t hurt that it’s delicious.) You just want to walk out of the house and be normal, instead of what you are: a whacked out bipolar hot mess who is up one minute and down the next.  Look, a gorgeous castle!  Wah-ha-haaaa, I miss my cats!  Wow, the best scone I’ve ever tasted!  Wah-ha-haaaaa, I can’t figure out the bus timetables!  It’s like a never ending game of “What Good Luck, What Bad Luck.”

Not never-ending, of course.  Six months, eighteen months, we’ll be all sorted, right?  Oh dear.

My kids are inspiring.  Every morning the older two walk into the real-life of the photo above — a large play yard filled with kids they don’t know, running and yelling before classes start.  To me, this would be absolutely horrifying.  Been there, done that, had therapy.  But, my kids?  They call out ‘Bye’ with their backs already to me, arms wheeling, faces shining, running to get in as fast as they can.  They are fearless.  I love them.

Knock on wood.  I know they are stressed, and I’m keeping an eye out for their emotions, which have been tender.  They miss their friends and their familiar worlds, too.  But when I have a bad moment, I think of their faces running into the play yard and think: “Yes.  Be that.”

Homesickness will come.  And, eventually, homesickness will go.


8 Responses to “Reminders”

  1. krisgal November 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    This post totally made me laugh…. I still go through the Wha-haaa moments. They are far and few in-between now, but there are still times when I will catch the faint smell of something familiar, or a song on the radio, or see something that reminds me of my previous life in America and makes me homesick for a few short moments.

    Good job to your kiddos! What is it with kids that make them adapt so quickly?!!. They will be speaking like little Brits in no time at all….. and it’s just so darn cute!

    • Monique November 4, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

      It really is so good to hear from folks on the other side of the transition. Life goes on and is rich and sweet!

  2. Sarah November 4, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    I see my 18 mons comment stuck with you. *sheepish grin*

    One more short school term from now you will have all your worldly possessions surrounding you in your new home. You’ll be baking up pumpkin-y things and cranking the fireplace (you do have a fireplace, yes?). Your husband will be out scouting a gorgeous, albeit incredibly overpriced, Christmas Tree, you’ll decorate it and make hot chocolate (or tea or coffee) and muffins (or scones, food glorious food!!), and have THREE WEEKS (or more, depending on your school’s schedule) to snuggle up to those closest to you and remember that home is where your heart is – and your heart can be lots of places. Get your happy lite out every morning at breakfast, and be a hermit in the dark the rest of the day if you want. Be manic if you must – embrace it if you can, and emerge at the end knowing your kitties are on their way, the sun will return as quickly as it retreated, soon everything will be spotted yellow, and wow wasn’t that the best 3-week staycation you ever had? Oh what’s that waiting for you on the other side? More English adventures, and maybe guests to share it with, oh, hello life – school and work and groceries and homework and dentist visits and all that boring stuff to distract me from something I think I’m longing for.

    Hang in there!

    • Monique November 4, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

      I can see it all now, with a rosy golden sort of glow … I like it. I’m going to borrow this bit of certainty and comfort in the future from you, like a cutting from a tree, and hope it grows and bears fruit. ❤

  3. Ghada November 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    Aaaaw, your post resounds so much with my present situation – just move from New York from New Zealand, but originally a Canadian. Thank goodness for kiddies! Watching mine everyday adapting so well makes life easier. Two months later and I definitely still get the waas, but I try to focus on the oohs and the aahs of all the fantastic places I have been. Found you over from NaBloPoMo 🙂

    • Monique November 4, 2011 at 9:49 pm #

      I’m hustling over to your blog, Ghada, sounds like a story I’d love to read!


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