Other than a few thrift-store-bound coffee mugs we saved to use until we leave and the appliances with UK plugs we can’t take with us, my house is empty. Our things have all been packed away, wrapped up and boxed up and, as I write this, they are being loaded on a truck bound for a ship bound for America.
My house looks like it did the day we arrived: a blank slate waiting to be filled up.
I know this house was never really mine, never really ours, but for three years we made it so and we loved it like it was. It has seen us through one of the biggest transitions our family will likely ever know: becoming expats, finding our new selves in a new culture, creating this life in England and all the changes it wrought in all of us.
Places become part of you, part of your story, and this wonky old farmhouse with crooked walls and wavy window glass and an 800-year old church next door is as much a character in this chapter of our lives as the people we met and came to love.
All I can think of as I look around the rooms stripped bare is the overwhelming anticipation and fear and hope I felt during our first days here. The empty rooms were waiting then to see what story we’d write here, I was waiting to see what our life would be here, we were all waiting to see what would happen here. And now, we’ve reached the end and the rooms stand empty once again.
We’ll stay in this empty house for the next few days, sleeping on air mattresses and eating off paper plates like we did when we first arrived, and I will say goodbye to all the things I love most about it: the light-filled hallway outside our bedrooms, the view of the sunrise from my window, the kitchen island where we have breakfast every morning and snacks every afternoon, the gorgeous fairy tale garden surrounded by the moss-covered stone wall.
For the life we built in this place: grateful doesn’t cover it, fortunate doesn’t cover it. Moving to England was, hands down, the best choice we ever made for our family.
My heart is full.