Tag Archives: moving

Spring

It’s officially spring, although the weather everywhere I look seems not to have gotten the memo.  The garden is popping up some spring-y looking surprises, but England generally doesn’t feel really like spring until at least late May, so it’s not quite time to put away the scarves and heavy coats yet. (Matt got overly optimistic yesterday though and, fooled by the sunshine, wore his spring coat to watch Gabe’s soccer match.  He regretted every single minute of that decision.)

We’re finishing up our second-to-last term of school here, with one more week to go until Easter break (which lasts 3.5 weeks!).  Then we’ve got one last crazy, full term of school to go until we move back to the U.S.

It’s going to fly by.

We’ve got four (!) more trips planned before we head back across the pond.  Plus this last term of school is always the busiest with sports, school plays, awards days, sports days, and other end-of-year activities.  Looking at the calendar with Matt the other night, we realized we only have a few weekends left with no plans.  It’s insane.

We’re going to Barcelona next week.  Venice for a long weekend in April.  Bruges and Amsterdam at the end of May.  And Athens for five days when school gets out in July. 

Then we’re flying home.

The Grand Adventure is coming to an end. A new one is beginning, I know, but man this chapter of our lives was exceptional. 

Until we get on that plane though, we’re ekeing out all the England we can.  Spring means cricket matches, school play practices, late sunsets and fire pits on the patio instead of in the living room, Easter break, flowers in the garden, and slightly warmer rain. It means bright yellow and green farm fields and baby lambs on every hillside.  The Queen’s birthday and a Royal Wedding this year! 

Long may it last.

Almost Gone

We have about four months left until we leave England.  Depending on the day — really depending on the hour or the minute — I am in turns devastated or elated about this.

We love it here. We love our house and our neighborhood and our friends.  We love the kids’ sports and the closeness of London and the ease with which we can travel all over Europe.  We especially love the school.  Oh man, do we love the school.  We don’t want to leave this school AT ALL. 

I am so sad when I think about it.

But we’re going HOME!  Where we have tons of friends to see and family so close by and my youngest sister is having another baby and she’s due right after we get back.  And we’ll be in my favorite place on earth (New England), close to my favorite city on earth (Boston).  And there are beaches only 15 minutes away all summer and skiing only 2.5 hours away all winter. 

I am so excited when I think about it.

And therein lies the trouble: I can’t reconcile the two wildly different emotions that pop up every time I think about moving.

So I’ve stopped trying.  I have to be simultaneously broken hearted that we are leaving and overjoyed that we’re going home.  That’s just the way it is.

I will be a soggy mess of tears and hugs and regret for probably the last month we’re here.  Certainly the last week of school is going to be a bit of a mess.  I will cry every day.  The children will be embarrassed.  I already know it.  I will be devastated saying goodbye to our friends here and this lovely old farmhouse and the fairy tale garden.  I will not want to leave.

And then I will get off the plane in Boston and be so filled with happiness that I am really, truly moving home that it will feel like my chest will pop open. 

I know, though, that I will always be homesick for this place and the amazing adventures and opportunities we had here. 

The more places you live, the more little pieces of yourself you have to leave behind, and the more you carry a constant sense of missing somewhere even though you may love the place you are now.  I’ll always miss our neighborhood in Virginia, and I will always miss this home in England, no matter how thrilled I am to be finally going “home” (the place I missed for the last 15 years, every day since I left).

The task then is to remember and appreciate without sadness or remorse and to just be glad for what you had and what it taught you. 

Still working on that.

The Last of Everything

We’re back to school here and settling in to the lovely routine of fall and sports and activities.  The lazy days of summer stretched out for what seemed like ages, and we soaked up the slow mornings and relaxed schedules and late bedtimes and weekend trips.  But by the end of August we were all ready for the hustle and bustle to return; even relaxation gets old if you do too much of it. 

But even in it’s welcome familiarity, this school year is different.  It’s our last here in England.  I feel it more deeply than the kids, I think, for whom the last two years seem to have been a lifetime.  I know how quickly the next months will go by.

I’ve already started my morbid tendency to memorialize the “last time” we’re about to do anything.  And this year makes it so easy.  This is my last September in England.  I’m strolling around my garden, saying goodbye to September roses and apples on trees and conkers – those most British of garden friends, little spiky balls that kids pelt one another with and which supposedly keep the spiders out of your house.  Every school event is our last: the last autumn cross-country season, the last back to school night with a wine and cheese bar, the last hurrah for all of it.  Events and traditions that were so foreign to us just two short years ago have so quickly become near and dear; my heart is already sad to let it all go.

We don’t have to leave, really.  Matt’s job will still be here, we could keep on with the grand adventure.  But all good things must come to an end, and we’re choosing a new adventure, albeit somewhat reluctantly.

There are things we miss about home that will make returning worth it.  But we’re new people now, we’ve changed in ways I never anticipated, and our lives are better for having lived somewhere new and different and foreign.  We won’t be satisfied going back to the same old thing we left behind.  And so the challenge will be to create a whole new life, with equal parts America and England, to find the balance between what we missed while we lived away and what we learned to love even more than anything we’d known before coming.

But first, this last year.  I’ll fight my natural inclination to live in the future and do my best to be present.  I don’t want to take away the joys of actually being here, not from me or Matt or the kids. 

And we’ve got big plans to finish — the ever-growing and changing list of places to see remains a work in progress, but with a much more limited time frame in which to accomplish it all.  Plans are constantly in the works, reservations being made, suggestions added and reality ignored for the most part.  There’s no way to do everything we want, to be honest.  And so, we say, we’ll have good reasons to come back and visit.

With the autumn well upon us here, and football for the boys and hockey for Bridget and turning leaves and holidays and half-term trips, this beginning of the end is upon us, and it’s just up to us to make the most of it.

Adjusting to a New Kitchen

 

KelseyGerhard-15-1-rush-1After over eight years living in the same house in D.C., I got really used to cooking in my kitchen.  And I really LOVED that kitchen.

The new kitchen here in England had a lot to live up to — we left behind tons of cabinet space, tons of counter space, and a huge open eating area. 

We’ve found both pros and cons to the new space: we have far less cabinet space (not awesome), but we have a HUGE island that is amazingly convenient for cooking and baking and which everyone in the family completely gravitates to (so awesome).

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We have an electric stove top instead of gas.  Not my fave: gas stove tops give you far greater control of the heat.  And we have a teeny tiny European size fridge, which makes it hard to buy enough for six people for a week.

But we have huge windows with gorgeous views and amazing natural light.  We look out the back window at an 800-yr old church. 

view from the kitchen window_LB

And we have a dance floor — a raised platform on one side of the kitchen — which I can assure you gets regular use.

The laundry room in this house is right off the kitchen, which means laundry gets washed and dried with far greater regularity here (it does not, however, get folded or put away in a timely manner).

And we have a formal dining room here, which I never had before.  Or ever thought I needed, in fact.  Now I kind of like it: although we usually eat breakfast and lunch at the kitchen island, we always use the dining room table for dinners, and we usually end up setting the table much more formally than we would if it was just the kitchen.  It’s kind of fun to use the place mats and chargers on a regular basis.

It’s been interesting adjusting to a new kitchen, but I’ve learned some things I like even more than what I had in D.C., and I really, really appreciate the amount of cabinet space we left behind and will probably never again take that for granted.

What do you love about your kitchen?  What would you change?

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Also, here’s my D.C. kitchen after the movers took all our stuff, and this is my UK kitchen when the movers delivered our furniture.


 

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