Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The End of Our American Adventure

As some of you may be aware, after moving to America last January, my family and I are relocating back home to England in four short weeks. After 18 months our time in American is swiftly drawing to a close. It has been a crazy journey with many highs and lows and although I am thrilled to be returning to my homeland, I am perhaps a little sad to leave the American Dream behind. Before we fly away, I wanted just share just a few words on our time here.

Enjoying Central Park!
My husband and I relocated to America in January 2010, full of hope and anticipation for our new life. Leaving behind many green-eyed friends and family, we flew to New York where my husband’s company had an office which overlooked Bryant Park and found ourselves a lovely duplex on the Upper East Side. We were so eager and excited about a life which I, for one, had always dreamed of, and gushed about our adventure to anyone who would listen. We had several family members visit and embarked on every tourist activity imaginable. We enjoyed encountering actual snow, rather than the brown slush often found in the UK, and looked forward to experiencing a real summer, with rooftop sunbathing and Hamptons’ swimming pools. However our rose-tinted glasses were soon ripped from our eyes and I quickly realised that life alone in an apartment all day with only our Jack Russell for company was somewhat lonely and, despite joining several volunteer groups, I struggled to meet many friends. When I fell pregnant in April it sealed the end to the bright lights and big city life. New York is a world where you work late, play later and drink copious amounts of extremely strong cocktails (just two and I was on the floor). I found living this lifestyle whilst pregnant very limiting and the few friends we had made became even fewer. So when my husband was offered a position in California we jumped at the chance.

Our complex in California
We arrived in Silicon Valley in September and danced around our three bedroom apartment in glee. After the tiny kitchens in New York, John’s eyes lit up at actual worktop space and a proper oven, and I happily twirled around in my walk-in closet. California life seemed to agree with us much more. We had a car, a balcony and beautiful green spaces all around us. To be fair, we probably could have made a good go of California, however I was already missing home terribly and being pregnant and hormonal didn’t help. The eight time difference from home only emphasised how far we were away from the people we loved and I struggled to really commit to our new home.

So here we are now – with a beautiful five month old baby girl, packing up the belongings we have gathered over our short stint across the Pond and reflecting on how much difference such a short time can make, and yet how little. Our friends are still there, just as we left them, and I can’t wait to get back to their company and laughter. Our family eagerly await our return and I am so excited to bring our daughter into the loving surroundings she deserves.

We could have made a good life in America, and I do not blame the country or the people for things not working out. It was simply not right for me. We were welcomed by many and often asked to repeat our sentences in our ‘quaint’ English accents. My husband could have had his choice of escorts, had he so wished, merely down to the sheer fact that he was from England (they even managed to overlook his paint-splattered tracksuit bottoms and dog-hair- encrusted t-shirts)! But it was never home to me and I was desperately lonely for most of my time here. On reflection we maybe should have stayed in England, but then we would have never tried and never have known. At least we can say we did it and it will be an experience for years to come, one that few people have the privilege of sharing.

Our well travelled dog, Jasper
So it is with a glad heart that I will pack up our things, send our beloved pooch on his final long-haul flight and step onto that plane home. I will land on the green grass of England with a happy tear in my eye and hug everyone I love dearly. I will appreciate all the little things I have missed so much and never realised what they meant to me. And when I tuck my daughter into her cot at night, wrapped in several layers to keep out the English chill, and turn on her mobile to sing her softly to sleep in a place I can call home, I will know that we made the right decision for our family. So thank you America, it has been a crazy ride, but I am ready to get off and get back to my reality. Cheerio!
Cheerio! by Collage-O-Rama

6 comments:

Mardi said...

America will you Lisa - I can hear your heartstrings tugging to go home in this write-up. I can only imagine the sadness your family and friends must have felt when you left. How thrilled and excited they must be at your return. I wish you and your family all the best in the world.

Mardi said...

*** America will MISS you Lisa,***

sry - I'm so distraught that i left that word out! hehe

Jensdreamdecor said...

Lovely Post...I look forward to continuing our "etsy" friendship...for that it doesn't matter where you are! Happy journey!!

Annette said...

It is difficult to adjust to a new culture and make new friends. We lived in Germany almost 4 years, and although I loved it there, I was anxious to come home. I am so glad for the experience we had but there's no place like home! Good luck to you and your family!

Rachel J said...

I'm glad you got to see Silicon Valley for a while--as it is the very best and most beautiful place in all of the US--it sounds like you got to see and experience a ton, from the Big City to the Suburbs. It must be great to be back with your family and friends! (Personally, I have a really hard time leaving home, I admire anyone that does) and your dog looks adorable, bytheby!

PS, I just found your blog through EtsyBlogteam, and I really like your finds and posts!

Iota said...

I've followed your link from the Expats Round-up (I'm a Brit living Stateside.) This is a very honest post. I hope it's working out for you in England. I can imagine it would be very hard to have a first baby in a new strange place. But as you say, it was an adventure.

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