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Posts Tagged ‘expat’

It was about 5 yrs ago about this time in Sept that I was heading home to California. I had been in England, staying with my then fiance, for 4 months. In that time we had gone from having met in person once, to having lived together for 4 months. We had traveled to Spain and gotten engaged. I remember feeling so extremely happy, as you should when you are newly engaged. I had a new diamond ring on my finger. It was all so very exciting.

I remember the night before I left. S came down the stairs and he was in tears. He said that it had just hit him, really hit him, that the next day I would be gone. We had no idea for how long. I had to get home and sell my condo, sort my life out there, get rid of everything and get a fiance visa to come back and get married.

The day I left, we stood in tears at the airport in Manchester. The thing I hated most about long distant relationships was saying goodbye, not knowing when you would see this person again. There is always that level of doubt that if a few to many months pass that they will have a change of heart. All your fears come to play. Its very painful, long distance relationships. They are really not very fun at all.

After really no sleep the night before, a 6 hour layover in Atlanta, and a long flight to Sacramento, I was home. I would like to say that the next 5 months before I moved to the UK flew by but they didnt. I had the stress of cleaning, painting, sorting and selling my condo. I had the heartache of being with my beloved step dad as he lost his battle with cancer. I had the blessing of being with him as he took his last breathe. It was a long and painful 5 months.

The one bright point was in November when S came to visit. We had a few days away from the cancer in Southern CA to get my visa, a few trips out but mostly it was a bit of a downer trip for S. We did have our fun moments though. It was also what seemed to be a start of a great friendship with him and my brother. Or as S says, his brother from another mother.

5 yrs on. So much has changed. Marriage, a son, ups and downs. I came to England all lovey with very rose colored glasses on. About a year in the rose color glasses did the typical expat thing and turned to grey. I think being pregnant really threw me into the greys. Pregnancy was mentally and physically hard. Being in a foreign country with no family was very hard. I didn’t really know people as I hadn’t been here all that long. It became easy to see the bad more then the good. Its also a pretty typical expat thing to do. There is a whole science to it.

So here I sit, 5 yrs on from leaving this land for the 1st time. I can not believe how fast it goes. I also am a bit shocked at the next stage of being an expat I seemed to hit. Acceptance. For the past year our lives have been geared towards moving. 2 weeks ago S got laid off from his job. Since then everything is up in the air. Strangely I have quickly become more comfortable with the idea of staying. A month ago I would of said NO WAY. Now, its a possibility. S seems to be more about moving then me. Its all a bit strange. Not sure what to make of it myself, but I am more of the school of if we do we do, if we don’t we don’t right now.  I just wonder what I will be doing in 5 more years and I think back to the day I left to change my entire life.

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Out of shear boredom I took my son to the farm again. The one with the big play area for the kids. He loves it. He has really come along in the last 6 months. 6 months ago he would of clung to me screaming. Now he runs and jumps and only screams if I put him on a playground toy. He is a typical boy, into everything dirty. He is a typical 2 yr old. He never wants to leave. Thank goodness for reverse psychology. I just start to go and he follows. What is the point of trying to reason with a 2 yr old. It just doesn’t happen.

Speaking of reasoning with a 2 yr old, how can a mother explain to her loving child that not every child he comes across want to be grabbed and hugged to the ground. He will make a B line across the field to grab any small child he sees and hugs the stuffing out of them. As sweet as it sounds, imagine some strange guy grabbing you and doing that. Not the most comfortable place for the one being hugged by the stranger. He grabs hold and holds on tight. It takes a lot to get him to unlock. We had to leave it was happening that much.

So he was hugging this little girl, and I was pulling him off, apologizing to the mother of this unsuspecting child when I notice her face. She hadn’t heard me, only my accent. I hate it when that happens. The glazed look a person gets when I speak to them. They don’t hear me or what I am saying. All they hear is American accent. Then that is it. I am the unheard American. If I had a pound coin for each time it happens I could buy us a new car when we move home. Maybe I should start charging. 🙂 It is a surprising downside to being a foreigner. I mean, I understand it. I stop too when I hear an accent. I used to stop over British accents but now I stop over American ones.  After so many years it does become tiresome being different. I will probably find it boring to be the same after awhile when we move back. Its the worse when its important like a doctor

So the farm was the same again. It rained. The sun came out. It was freezing. Then it was hot. Typical of British Summer. It is nice to have a place to go that isn’t torn up or be covered in broken bottles like most of the playgrounds around me. The teenagers use them to party and they are no go areas. So we drive to the farm and play in the playground and go see the animals. We usually even shop for the best veg at the farm store. Not a bad way to kill an hour. Its just a shame that it will stop in a week or so. When all the schools let out and the older kids come and take over the play area, my son will be to small to keep up. So for 6 weeks I will have to figure out some other things to do until schools start again in Sept. It’s a bummer that.

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In my never ending quest to try and get this house sold I am absolutely amazed at how much crap we have. Most of it is my husbands. Only fair as I got rid of everything I owned to move over 5 years ago, sure I was here to stay. I came with 10 boxes and 2 suitcases. I know how to sort and get rid. I just find it hard to do that for someone else.Motivating him to do it is impossible. He is waiting for eye surgery at the end of the month and the fatigue from his eye has started to become overwhelming for him. I guess I should say we are lucky for the cloud and rain England has been experiencing for his sake, but I hate the dark so I just can not bring myself to feel “lucky” for a months rain in a day. I will cut him some slack, but It means I am left to do all the sorting and packing. I am going to go to town this weekend and he just wont know what has hit him until he has to take it all to the tip (dump). He may not realize it, but he has given me permission to do a search and destroy mission. 🙂 Now to just get him into the loft to figure out what is up there. I wonder if that will end up my job too.

Credit to him, the bathroom did get painted last weekend and it looks fantastic. Its the same color as the kitchen, which I really like. We just need to re-grout, put new flooring down and its done. If we move before this time next year I will be amazed. Patience is a virtue as I continue plodding along getting rid of all his things. How on earth do you collect so much unnecessary stuff in 5 short years?

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We are one step closer to our move. S went to London this last week and had his medical done. They did the typical blood work and chest x-ray. All should be okay. Next step is the interview at the embassy. Nearly 1 year after we started this whole process there is finally light a the end of the tunnel.

The house is that much closer to being on the market. Now that we are this close we are going to really push ourselves to get it listed. My poor son has had most of his toys put away so we can make way through the living room. Funny thing is that he hasn’t even noticed. He seems happier with less toys to choose from. I may be on to something here.

I am really looking forward to starting a new life back in the states. Being closer to my family and having an area that we can live a more outdoor lifestyle will be fantastic. I just got back in touch with my best friend from 5th grade. We haven’t spoken in a decade or there abouts. Looking at pictures of her kids out in the sunshine makes me homesick. They look so happy and healthy living an outdoor lifestyle. It also makes me a bit more motivated to light a fire under us and just go.

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I started packing today. One box. Getting some of the stuff out of the way for painting the kitchen. So it has begun. We have so much work ahead of us its not funny, but we are making a dent slowly. Its not as easy with a child. My son, as an only child, requires a lot of attention. I am sure all 2 yr olds are like that, but without another child around I am the only one to interact with. So getting stuff done during the week isn’t as easy. When I sold my home in CA to move to the UK I painted day and night for nearly 2 weeks… felt like it. I only had a pug underfoot, but she just slept, happy that we where back together after 4 months of being apart and living with my sisters family. Every move in life is a diffrent experience. I am just getting excited that we are getting it going for this one.

Here is to new beginings!

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My mom has been in and out of hospital with pneumonia. She has been in three times. She has now so weak that they have moved her into rehab. My two sisters have been making sure that she is being cared for properly. I have been sitting here, on the other side of the world, waiting for the other shoe to drop. That dreaded phone call that says “you need to get on a plane NOW”. My husband and I have talked about it. I have looked at flights to get a good idea of who to go with. I have even been mentally packing bags. What to pack for my son. Which toy to take. What to get at the store to take on the plane. Oh, how I dread the whole thought of it.

I have been told she is settling into rehab. If she gets stronger then she can go back into an assisted living apartment, if not… I don’t know.

Fingers crossed.

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I have come to the conclusion that if I want this move to happen it is down to me. My husband just gets overwhelmed and shuts off. Great. Thank goodness that when ever I have decided that I want something in my life I figure out how to make it happen. I just need to get the ball rolling. Inform him of what he needs to know when the time comes, and move on. We have been looking at moving back to the states since last July. We started the visa process then. Its getting really close to a year and I am getting anxious to start a new life and frustrated with living in limbo. This is a feeling that I hate more then anything. Limboland. I have taken back the visa process as I have done a visa before and know its all about baby steps and checking off boxes. I am going to find out about contractors licenses in the state we are looking for because S would like to do tiling. I will figure all this out because this is what I am good at doing. All we need to get a mortgage is a letter of acceptance for a job. All we need to do is sell our house here… and that is going to be harder and harder the longer we put it off. If we would of just did everything last July we would be in the states now. House sold. New home. New life.

Fear is a big thing for my husband. Because he has never just up and left his life behind he is very afraid. I, on the other hand, have done this more then once or twice (or more) to one degree or another. Moving from country to country, state to state or just city to city. Starting over and starting new is nothing to me. I believe last count I have moved 32 times that I can remember in my life of 40 yrs. The longest I have ever lived anywhere is 6 yrs. So moving is a go with the flow and get rid of junk collected process.

This may actually be a really good thing for me. It may just be the ticket to feel like I am taking my life back, so to speak. As I feel like I gave up a lot of my independence and strength moving abroad. I have loved an awful lot about living in the UK and I am ever so grateful for the experience, its not the place to make a long term home out of. We can have so much more in life in the states. I want my son to grow up in America, near my family. It became very important to me when I had him. I want my husband to experience a different life as well. Its only fair as I have experienced Europe. So, I will make this happen. I will get all this figured out. Get done what is needed to be done. Then move on.

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