We’re coming up on our one year anniversary of living in England. We’ve seen a full turn of seasons. (Does England have true seasons? I leave that up for debate.) I’ve heard myself say “We didn’t get to see [insert castle or event] last year, let’s go this year.” I’m in love with online grocery shopping and home delivery. Two large vehicles passing side-by-side on a one-lane track blocked in by hedges doesn’t bother me a bit. I like the habit of ordering and paying for food at the bar and then sitting and enjoying a leisurely meal at any local pub. I’ve found a hard cider that I enjoy, and I devour mushy peas. I’m ready for winter, with my “happy light” set and bright. I — almost — know when to say “cheers” and when to say “ta” and can have a phone conversation with a native British speaker without leaving us both in tears. I know my way around this corner of England and can — sometimes — even get somewhere without the satnav.
I suppose we’ve acclimated to our lives overseas. It definitely took me longer than six months, but finding a unopened box of salt water taffy when we did some clearing out over the summer didn’t bring me to tears, as it might have last winter.
Maybe going to Cornwall in the spring helped me ward off my usual summertime biological imperative to jump into the Atlantic, walk along a boardwalk, get a sunburn, eat ice cream and fries, and watch dolphins. Anyway.
The kids are back in school, excited about their new year and jumping with all limbs forward into even more clubs and activities than last year. My dreams of a Parisian vacation have turned into fees for endless music lessons and tennis lessons and ballet lessons … and that’s okay. They’ve adjusted to this being our home, not our vacation spot, and they want to do all the normal things kids do day-to-day. Still, the bulletin boards by my youngest’s classroom give me pause:
How much acclimation is too much, really? Eyes to the side, I want to tell my kids: look around. Who knows where the person in front is going — find your own path. Hold your hands out, so you can reach high, or catch yourself if you fall. Run.