Okay… the sun is back, I walked around without a coat today, the flowers are blooming (though that started in January. I do love that the bulbs start popping up so early, this tantalizing reminder that spring is coming.) I can feel my brain recovering from the winter hibernation.
Over the winter I was gone four weeks, two in Nov/Dec and two in February, to help my sister with her newborn twins in Colorado. Having the back and forth, stateside to UK, made the contrast more apparent… that the US doesn’t feel like “home” in the same way. I think it made returning to England feel different, more settled, less like a guest in a foreign country.
The two things that really are helping me feel adjusted more is driving around the city (and surrounding areas) and making friends. Being able to navigate the area I think helps anyone when in a new place, and the anxiety of driving here has been absolutely keeping me from exploring. I’m trying to tackle that… I think desensitization therapy is the way to go when it comes to driving. 🙂 Public transport is fantastic and I’m very grateful for it, but there are locations and situations that make it much less practical (especially with all the kids, none of them ride the buses for free) and so Heidi MUST get comfortable driving if we want to visit anywhere outside of the city. And I do!
Admittedly we heard assumptions and stereotypes about making friends in Britain, from Americans who had lived here but also from Brits! They are slow to warm up, it can take ages to be invited into their homes, they are very private and slow to disclose, etc. But those same people giving us “warnings” about the hesitant welcome said that Brits are fantastic friends, loyal and generous and warm once they’ve made a connection. We’ve found the latter to be true – the friends here are beautiful, kind, thoughtful, and very welcoming! Much to our amusement, we’ve not found the “slow to warm up” to be accurate – we’ve met people at the playground or library or online, exchanged info and been invited into their homes right away! Maybe we’re in an unusual city, but we’ve met such sweet families and I’m thankful for every friend we’ve found… it makes living in a new place infinitely easier. Being able to walk to the shops and pass friends on the street or attend a home ed field trip and see numerous friends has helped it feel like we’re finding our community.
By far, I have been the slowest to adjust to life in the UK in every possible way. Kit and the kids took to it like ducks to water. I’m not there yet, but I am working on it. (Ironically, I’m the only one that had lived abroad before our move here!) I love England, SO MUCH. But there are some wrinkles I still need to iron out that leave me struggling. I’m thankful it’s me with the challenges, and not the kids or Kit. 🙂