Hi everyone. It's now just past the middle of July, and I feel like time is flying all of a sudden. We've got our green card interview next Friday and from there it will be all go, go, go to get this move done and dusted!
I'm having a hard time with it now, to be honest. I'm struggling with my feelings about it all.
On the one hand, I am so happy about being nearer to my family!
We haven't all lived in the same place for as long as I've been away, so nearly 11 years now. That's going to be amazing, and strange, and hopefully great for all of our relationships. It will be wonderful to have help with Bug when I need it, sitters for date nights or if M and I fancy a weekend away, to have my parents' great influence on her as she grows up. I'm looking forward to so many simple things I've missed about the States: screens on windows and doors to keep the insects out of the house; seeing a proper four seasons again in one year; lower cost of living (seriously, London is insane! And I thought NYC was $$$!); wide parking spaces and less one-way roads; all of my favorite TV shows being shown earlier in the year!; Wegmans!!!; big yards and houses not attached to other ones; Fritos and Tootsie Pops and flavored coffee; great customer service; a huge country to explore that is all in the same currency; water brought to your table when you sit at a restaurant; and so on and so forth.
There are also some things that I am worried about: the lack of regulation regarding GMOs and having to wonder what is in the food I buy; the decreased availability of maternity/parenting programs that are what the UK really do well (that's how M & I met so many of our friends where we are now - through an amazing prenatal group run by a UK charity that we joined when I was prego with Bug); a culture of comparative excess and waste; the high costs of healthcare; and if I'm being completely honest, I'm very worried about the increased prevalence of shootings at schools....that one has been weighing on both our minds as we start to think about Bug going to school in just a couple of years.
I also worry that I won't fit in. I've been an expat here for 6 years. I'm not a Brit but after this long over here I'm also so different from the American I was before leaving the US. Being so close to European politics, and living in a country that is incredibly aware of and involved in world politics and initiatives has really opened my eyes and forced me to develop a wide worldview. I hope that M and I don't have too difficult a time adjusting to the differences in politics and opinions - and that we can make friends who have some of the same ideals and views as us - or at least enjoy a healthy debate (not argument)! :)
There's positives and negatives of both countries of course - but the biggest one on both sides is family. And I'm heartbroken that in order to be nearer to my family, we have to move further away from M's family. I'm very lucky that I love his family - and they've accepted me into their family as one of them. We don't get to see them all that often but the benefit of being in the UK is it's only an hour long flight to Shannon so we have always been able to do long weekends here and there without needing to take off much time. We'll lose that ability now - and with the serious reduction in vacation time on the US side (sort it out, US!!!), we're going to struggle to be able to go to Ireland more than once a year now. That's going to be difficult for all of us to get used to.
In one way, this move seems like it will be better for us because right now, neither family is near. We have to use holidays to visit both of them, and we've had to manage as best we could with childcare and the first 18 months of Bug's life on our own, because it's just the two of us. Now we'll be at least within 30 minutes of my parents, my sister and her family, and my brother and his family, and that gives me such comfort for the 'what if we need help with X?' questions. Especially since M will be traveling a LOT with his new job (he's looking after the globe properly now, so Boston, Australia, Singapore are all on his travel itinerary in the first two months...). I'm pretty grateful that I won't have to be on my own with Bug every time he's away.
But I can't even express how sad I am that when we go home to Ireland this month, we're going to be saying goodbye for who knows how long. We'll have Christmas in NY this year - that was always on the cards because Ireland was last year - so I don't know when we'll have our first trip to Ireland from NY. Whenever M racks up a couple weeks of holiday time I guess...and it's going to feel like such a long time in between this short visit and the next time we get to see them all. My nieces are going to be so much older and bigger (so will Bug) and we'll all have missed the changes from seeing them periodically along the way.
I know how M feels. I know because I had to say goodbye to my family six years ago, and I sobbed the entire plane journey from NY to London. I hated thinking that I would be so far away - what if something happened? What would I be able to do from over here? How can I handle not seeing my family every few months? It's an awful, sorrowful, desolate feeling. And I hate that he has to feel it now. And that his parents have to say goodbye to their only son, not knowing when we'll be back to visit, or if we'll ever move back closer at some point. (And I don't know, if he didn't marry an American, would he have ever moved over there...so I feel pretty guilty about that too.)
I hate goodbyes, I always have, and I am going to have to say goodbye to my 2nd set of parents, my 2nd sister, my nieces and my brother in law. All of their lovely extended family who live over there and have always been so warm and welcoming to me. Some incredibly special friends I've made over the last six years - friends who have supported me through good and tough times and who made sure I felt connected and at home, in a strange country, where I knew nobody at first.
So as much as you see my excitement and joy at going home again, and being near my family again, understand that it comes at a price. We are leaving behind family and friends here too, and the life that we made for ourselves over here in the last few years. We've only just become truly comfortable in our life here and now we're throwing it all up in the air and starting all over again, in another new city, finding another place to live, having to make new friends all over again and friends for Bug too. It's difficult to truly feel happy about this because it's also so sad. I waver back and forth between the two emotions constantly.
It's going to be a strange new world, and today I'm just wishing that we find our feet quickly, we get back to Ireland as soon as we can, and that overall we're making the right decision and the right move for our little family. Please God, let this be the right thing for us all.
And know that you may see some wild swings between up and down over the next few months while we figure all this out....but I'm grateful to all of you for your support and lovely words already about our move!! Thank you!!