Tag Archives: American expat in England

Easter in Lindfield

Today we spent Easter with Jon’s family, having a nice lunch, drinking some vino and listening to Jon’s grandpa give everyone advice on every part of their life, as he does. Old people, amirite? He’ll be 90 in July, so….you can’t really be mad about that, he’s earned his grumpitude. Our nephew, who will turn one in just a month, was there as well, chasing the three dogs around and being generally adorable, as one is before they are able to walk around. It rained torrentially and was mostly miserable until the moment we left to get the train, at which time it turned beautiful and the sun came out to say hello (to “put his hat on”, as the English say) while we made our way back to Shoreham!

With Jon’s family I never want to take many pictures that include them, as I’m not trying to be a photo creeper (and things end up on the internet anyway, which not everyone loves, I’m sure), and that moral dilemma leads to the photographic evidence of these gatherings actually just looking like Jon and I hanging out in a different place. But so it goes.

We had spent the night with the in-laws on Saturday, which was strange and constituted our first overnight visit to Lindfield since we’ve moved out-we had to stay in the guest room! And our old room, which is not the guest room, is still mostly empty, with a few random boxes in it, just waiting to be redecorated. Things are so different now, a short two months or so later. Bruce was really weirded out since he hasn’t been back to Lindfield for an overnighter since we moved out, and he just didn’t know where to go.

bruce and his tongue

spuddy cuddles

I had the chance to get some Spud cuddles in and wear a face of fresh, delightfully springy makeup, which was a fun change of pace. Take that rain! And say hello to my electric toothbrush looming in the background-my oral hygiene has really stepped it up in the last year or so, in case you were wondering 🙂

easter selfie

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land to sea

jon and bruce on the beach march 2014 shoreham

bruce on shoreham beach 2014

Growing up in rural Ohio, my life until 18 was mostly cornfields and endless country roads. I grew up in a tiny town of less than 2000 people, and went to an equally tiny high school, with a miniscule graduating class of 81 (I like to think of myself as that special extra one, heyooooo). The closest body of water was the local pool, and outside of that, a few hours’ drive north, was Lake Erie. I remember sitting on those dirty, mostly muddy beaches with my mom and grandma and sister, playing in the sandbars that appeared at low tide, rubbing that disgusting muck all over our bodies. And I remember hot summer days as a teenager driving out to the “beach” in Delaware with friends, lazing the days away in a land-locked Midwest style, no real beaches needed but the water was good enough, and it didn’t even need to be actually hot outside. Just better than warm was fine.

Now, I have a house on the river, sandwiched between its languid flow and a beach a few hundred yards away, a few minutes walk behind us. A beach, mind you, that fights English tradition and actually has a fair amount of sand on it when the tide is low enough! And if we stay here, we could have kids here. And my hypothetical future progeny would be….dare I say it….water people. They could grow up knowing the tides and the sea mist and stormy days on the seafront and winters by the Channel and little else. They could probably be outdoorsy because we sure do take a lot of long nature and/or beach walks around here. And by “outdoorsy” I mean outdoorsy activities would be forced upon them until they reached the age at which they could reasonably sass their way out of it. They would not live near farms, they would not know corn fields and what should be knee high by the fourth of July, and they would not know endless country roads and the joy of driving down them. Maybe they’d join a rowing team (a LOT of people row around here), or maybe they wouldn’t, but I bet they’d know people who did. They wouldn’t be bothered by the rain or the gloom, year round at least not like I am, because it would be completely normal for them. And they’ll probably think winter here is cold, when it isn’t really, they just won’t be used to seeing snow every year. Maybe they’d like canoeing, or body boarding, or be those brave English surfers that I’m always so impressed by (because beach or not, it’s oh so cold here and I’ve still never been in the water, Shoreham or Brighton, and it’s going on 3 years now….maybe this summer will be the year it changes).

I guess the point of this is that life is weird, and I can’t help but think of my ancestors, my peoples’ people who were European, and how they married people from other places, and immigrated to the States many moons ago, and the marriages and the procreations that just kept on keeping on, and generations later, I’ve moved back across the ocean, from whence we came, and seriously, the universe boggles and circles come back upon themselves and here we all are.

It’s hard to imagine.

I miss all the things

ryleigh's birthday missing ohio

best friends that i love

ohio sunset

nia and ashley

kingswood center 2012

with lindsey in german village

The longer I’ve been here in England, the more entrenched I’ve becoming in seeing this as my home. While I also see Ohio as home-and forever will I feel that way, I’m sure-I have far fewer, far less frequent pangs of homesickness than I ever used to. That being said, today I’m reminded of how many important moments I miss by persevering in this life that I have here in England, continuing to build it and put down roots and become permanently entrenched within it.

Today is my niece’s 5th birthday. Fifth! I remember when she was born-another event I missed because I was living in South Korea at the time. I didn’t even meet her until she was 4 months old. My sister’s son was born just before Christmas in 2012, and I didn’t meet him until he was 2 months old-I was already living in the UK then. He barely knows who I am, as I’ve only seen him twice in his young life. I missed my mom’s 50th birthday. Next weekend my cousin is getting married, another wedding that I won’t be attending, same with another cousin’s wedding from last September that I couldn’t attend. I haven’t met my best friend’s baby girl, or another best friend’s new baby boy, or seen another best friend’s fancy downtown apartment. And countless other things that have come and gone.

The missing goes in ebbs and flows, but I am missing all the things today, and all the people. This whole immigrant experience has gotten so much easier as time has moved on and I don’t even think about it all that often any more, but some parts are never, and will never be, easy to deal with. The guilt for not being there for my loved ones is immense, and unavoidable. And I just don’t think it will ever get better, not really. I will never not feel guilty, and I will always be straddling two worlds.

A Sunday

Wake up to this.

bruce in bed

Drink this.

coffee

Mix this.

french toast making

And eat these.

french toast

french toast

Say hello to this face.

maxi november 2013

Enjoy a bit of this.

bruce in the garden

Take a walk and appreciate this.

autumn leaves in lindfield

And the light falling here.

autumnal light

Lay on your bed with him.

bruce cuddles

And do a few other things as well. Reading, writing, netflixing. A tidy little Sunday….and now it’s coming to a close, and welcoming in a short week! Can’t say fairer than that.

Butterflies of the social persuasion

I’ve had the opportunity lately to spend more than a few good nights out with large groups of ladies, and it’s brought to my attention how utterly delightful it is to get to do that. I miss my girls back in Ohio, and it’s been slow going around here, but now I am at the point where I can have a buzzing social life more weekends then not, separate from Jon, and it’s good! So good. Color me grateful over here. Getting all dolled up a friend’s house, having drinks and getting ready for a night on the town is one of my favorite, most-missed things. It’s one of those things you take for granted when you’re a teenager or at college….and then you just don’t do it any more and man, does that suck.

naomisbirthday

naomis birthday party september 2013

naomisbirthday2013

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Road Trippin’ with Mom {Bath Prior Park Landscape Gardens}

The Prior Park Landscape Gardens just outside of Bath were a must-see for me. Mostly just because it’s (they’re?) really quite pretty. Now owned by the National Trust, the park was designed and built on the property of a rich landowner of the early 18th century, Ralph Allen, who was helped along in his ground breaking designs by the poet Alexander Pope. It now serves as the grounds for a private boys’ school (lucky boys!). The sweeping valley holds gorgeous views and one of only four Palladian bridges in existence. Heart-crushingly romantic, the whole thing. Look at that valley. priory landscape gardens

priory landscape garden bath

priory landscape gardens bath

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