They say home is where the heart is, and I’m in a quandary.
I landed in my beloved England on June 30th and well, my heart (in the shape of three kids, the Ball & Chain and the mad mutt) was still in the States. Furthermore, despite having lived in Wimbledon for four years in the 1980’s, I only half knew where I was as my mate Di drove me to her house. (The one way system was never that complicated when I lived there and I’m relieved not to be driving this week.)
It was great to hear English accents all around me, and to ask for something in WH Smith without most of the shoppers turning round to see where the funny accent was coming from. The prices were a bit of a blow to the solar plexus mind you. How do you people afford to live here? And then the adopted American in me kicked in as I waited for two and a half hours (ish) in Café Nero for two cups of tea. “Come on girls, you’ll have plenty of time to talk about your weekend plans when you’re NOT WORKING”, my inner voiced screamed. Oh for the manic efficiency of my local Starbucks.
Then there are the bathrooms with no toilet that I forgot all about. In many lovely Victorian houses like where I’m staying, the loo is a small room by itself as opposed to being part of a larger bathroom. This is fab as it means that you never have anyone knocking on the door when you’re taking a shower and telling you to hurry up because they’re dying for a wee. (I realize that this doesn’t happen often in the States as many houses have a least two toilets, but in more modern houses in the UK it’s not unknown.)
The biggest thing about coming back to your country of origin after many years of living abroad is the feeling of being in an altered state. You know where you are and what you’re supposed to be doing, but everything’s just that little bit different.
As Mike said, when we discussed this, “It’s like waking up from a dream” but I would venture to say that when things change as much as they have in the UK over the last twenty years, it’s like waking up from a dream and finding you’re still in a dream. If you know what I mean: It’s life Jim, but not as we know it.
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