This month marks 7 years of living in England. I still remember the day I left New York, I was heavily pregnant with my first son, my entire life packed in boxes, my apartment left hallow, already gathering dust and I boarded the plane that would take me to my new life. I’ve always been an explorer, one out for an adventure and always in search for that place that fits the shape of me. However, moving to England came from pure coincidence, not planned nor dreamed, it was just the story of me that was meant to unfold. I met Jason (my now husband) in Brazil when I was 22 years old. Who would have thought that meeting a stranger on an Ipanema beach would turn into a friendship that would change my life forever. It wasn’t until three and a half years after Brazil that I would see Jason again. I was living in New York City and he was coming to run the NY marathon and thought we should meet up. I was beyond nervous (even though we had kept close ties through letters over the years) but to be honest, I vaguely remembered what he looked like. When he finally showed up at my door, soaked in the New York rain, it was as if no time had past and we ended up right back where we started so many years before. That first weekend in New York rolled into a year long, long-distance relationship where in 2006 on New Years Eve, I discovered I was pregnant. I was terrified, lost, confused and full of angst and at the time being pregnant was the last thing I wanted. I was living the life I had always dreamt of, had an amazing job, living in the city of my dreams in which I moved to from Southern California all on my own with a thousand dollars in my pocket so I was not at all ready leave as it took so much for me to get there. But obviously, with Jason living in England and me living in New York, one of us would have to give up our life and take on a new one. Jason already had a little girl back in England from a previous marriage so in my heart, I knew it would be me that would need to take the leap. Selfishly, I wanted Jason to come to New York but something in my heart whispered “BE BRAVE” so I closed my eyes and trusted in our story.
Moving to England wasn’t an easy transition especially being a first time Mother with no real support around me. There were many times when I silently mourned the loss of home and cried out for my Mother, desperately needing her to tell me what to do with my new baby. But over time, England taught me a great deal about myself and how to be strong and resilient. Here I am now, 7 years later, a Mother to a gorgeous 7-year old boy, a beautiful relationship with Jason’s daughter and a new baby boy in my arms. Although you would think after 7 years, you would get used to a new country, a new place, a new culture and true after time you do become accustom to all of those things, but you never really feel as if your shape fits the space that you’re in perfectly. It might feel warm and comfortable in that space but there will always be a small barrier keeping you from sinking in tight. Although I love my life and everything I have gained by moving here and how much I have evolved as a women and mother, I think HOME will always call me back. If you’ve never moved out of your comfort place, you will never understand how your mind takes over your senses and tricks you into thinking that you’re missing things you never knew existed in your old life. Like light for instance, sometimes the way the light shines in the morning transcends me through time and back to Newport Beach where the glow of the sun never ceases. When autumn comes and the leaves start to change, it takes me back to the East coast and no matter how many cities I have visited in Europe, NOTHING will compare to New York City. England has its own set of beauty and shine and I’m sure there is lots of it I will never see because you can only see and feel it with English eyes. As much as I do love England, it will always be just shy of what I need most… my home. The salt and warmth in the air, the embrace of my Mothers arms, the laughter sung between my close friends who have seen my through every mistake and triumph, the smell of my Dads freshly cut grass, the bond of my Brothers love, the fast paced life of New York City, the warmth of my Grandparents home, the childhood memories of Disneyland, sand castles and Halloween that I so desperately want my own children to know. There is also the little things to get used to, like driving on the right hand side of the road, bedrooms only big enough to fit a bed, having to constantly figure out pounds vs. kilos, military time vs. standard time, Celsius vs. Fahrenheit, pounds vs. dollars, American humour vs. British sarcasm, politeness vs. honesty. I miss icemakers on your fridge, a dryer next to your washing machine, drinks other than tea and ale, 2 lane roads that actually fit 2 cars and the SUN, that big golden sun that I never really appreciated until I moved to Mars. These are the things I miss most, these are things that pull my heart towards home.
Then I look towards my children, my 2 beautiful little boys who have grown up here. English blood runs through their veins, they speak with an English tongue and call me MUM. Their skin is as pale as the new fallen snow and their bond to this country is thick and their feet are firmly rooted. I sometimes feel like an outsider, looking into my life with a watchful eye, anticipating what will happen next. As much as I hate it, there are times when I feel a bit resentful that my boys aren’t California bred like me, that they don’t know what its like to be submersed in the salted ocean of my youth with waves crashing over them and allowing the big blue California sky to swallow them hole. I often feel they are missing out on so much, so much of the other culture that is just as much a part of them as England. I want them to have strong ties to both countries. To know my parents as they know their own. To know and love the sun as they know and love the rain. To have 2 hearts housed by both places and beating as one. I’m not sure how our story will unfold and I am grateful to have given them a life that they love in such a beautiful country. Perhaps one day California will call us home but whether it be here or there, whether we stay or leave England, I know the universe will unfold as it should and I suppose, I’m just whole heartedly trusting in our story.