If you’d asked me what I’d wished for at the beginning of 2012 my answer, if I was being brutally honest (which I only was with a handful of people), would have been that I hoped that the planned move to America in January wouldn’t happen. I was as positive about it as I could possibly manage, mainly for the girls, but I was scared and homesick before we’d even boarded the plane. I hated saying goodbye to everyone, even though I knew we’d be back visiting every 2 or 3 months, which is a luxury most ex-pats don’t have.
Nearly a year on and we’re settled. Mostly. I don’t have that overwhelming homesickness and I even managed to get through Christmas without feeling too sad about missing everyone (and all the usual traditions) at home in England. (I did miss everyone a lot though). The girls are reasonably settled at school now too, although it’s rare to get through a week without one of them saying that they would really rather be back in their school at home and that they love their teachers and friends there much more.
At several points this year we’ve thought we’d be heading home due to changes at my Lovely Husband’s work but we’re still here. We’ve survived!
More than that, we’ve all grown.
The girls are taller, have mastered skills that they probably wouldn’t have at home (gymnastics, skiing, American vocabulary and pronunciation – the Little One giving a fantastic example today: I like tom-ah-to (English pronunciation) soup as it’s made with tom-aa-toes (American pronunciation)), are stronger, both physically and emotionally, and are learning Spanish and lots about American geography, culture and history. They are far more independent than they were at home and both are proud of being different at school (their English accents make them special, apparently, so they work hard on keeping them). They have also developed such a lovely relationship it is a pleasure to watch them together (most of the time, that is, they’re not perfect…) Both girls now appreciate their families at home in a way that they probably wouldn’t if we hadn’t spent this time away too. And they’ve seen parts of the world and experienced a different way of life. That adds up to a lot when you’re only 6 and 4.
I’ve grown too – not in a way I wanted to though – I’m a bit old for growing upwards, so it’s all been outwards! Too many huge dinners here which can be difficult to resist. It gives me something to work on in the new year…
As a family, we’re closer – having only ourselves to rely on, with no real back up means that we are now even more of a unit than we were before. Not quite inseparable (that could become annoying…) but certainly stronger together than ever.
They say that moving abroad for work with a family really tests your relationship – you either go home very married, or definitely not wanting to be married anymore. We’ve passed the test so far! And I’m glad we came, however difficult it has seemed at times.
Moving home is supposed to be even more of a test and it looks like this is one we’ll be facing later in 2013. It is an exciting prospect and I’m looking forward to settling the girls back in to school and catching up with everyone we’ve missed so much. There will be things we miss here though: the adventures and the freedom to please ourselves (apart from trying to fit in Skype calls to home at the right times!) to name just a couple.
We’ve got 8 months or so to fill with adventures between now and leaving (though the date isn’t exactly carved in stone yet…) We’ll definitely try to fit in another short ski trip to Crested Butte in March as it’s beautiful, the skiing is good and pretty inexpensive. Also the Little One needs to see Bailey the dog again! The girls’ main Christmas present is a trip to Disney World in February so that will be mind-blowing for all of us, I’m sure. That still leaves April – August to fill with new experiences and adventures. We need to include a desert in there somewhere, a trip to Vancouver and hopefully the Grand Canyon too. All suggestions of other adventures we can fit in are very welcome!
I hope the new year finds you healthy and happy and planning a few adventures of your own.
Happy new year!