Friends back home keep asking me how "the transition" is going here and I find myself tilting my head and lifting a shoulder in a shrug that tries to say, "Well,... it's going."
Honestly, the transition to life here in the UK has been much easier than I ever imagined! There hasn't been drama, confusion, or catastrophe (which is often the case in our household!). In fact, in many ways, it is just like the USA: I still have to go to the grocery store every few days, I still do the laundry, fold the clothes and then wander away before getting them put away, the kids still clamor to play the Wii after school, etc.
But even though so much is the same, it is still vastly different. And different in so many positive ways that I find myself elated most days and incredulous that this is my life now. It's like we are all living with a facet of disbelief that colors our surrounding in wonder and magic. I might just be driving into town to go pick up some milk, but while driving I will suddenly look around and say to myself, "Holy heck, I can't believe I am driving on the left side of the road!" Or I'll get a glimpse of the glorious, rolling countryside of Hampshire County and have to fight the urge to pull over so I can take a picture like a tourist. I remind myself that we live here now, I've got years to take that photo!
We love our new home in the country so much that when I hearken back to all of my fears about moving out of town and being isolated? Well,... I feel a little silly for being so panic-stricken. My last memories of living in the country were so tainted by my teenage self that I managed to forget that I actually like being alone and puttering around my house! (Especially when it is surrounded by all this glorious yard that I can easily banish the children to without worry.)
The village we have moved to has gone a long way to ease those apprehensions about isolation. The women here are amazing and generous and I have not felt the sting of standoff-ishness once. In fact, I am going to a read-through on Thursday for the local New Year's Show (to be performed in February) at the request/invitation of the woman who wrote the play and is the head of our school's PTA, volunteered to host an appetizer/dinner for 8 couples as part of a school charity Supper, and was invited to model in a school charity fashion show event that is coming up in October.
Jumping in has never been so easy!
Now, that is how I feel about the transition... My darling Destructo and the Animal seem to be cruising right along, too. In fact, now that Destructo is in a new school (and praise the lord! has finally gotten over that nose-picking-OCD thing he had going on last year), I daresay the child is actually popular. He is on a great medication for his ADHD now and his history of being a bit, um, "out there" is gone, erased, like it never existed. Without that history (amazing that 1st graders can already have histories in place to color their opinions of others, no?), Destructo can finally let that sensitive, caring, hilarious personality shine and have it appreciated by his classmates, not ignored or dismissed with the shake of a head or eyeroll. (Seriously, when did 1st and 2nd graders get so jaded?!)
And then there is my newly minted 10-year-old, CC....
CC has had a few bumps along the way since we got here. First, he misses his friends and our dog a lot more intensely than the rest of us. When he is tired he has become prone to thinking about things at home and will then dissolve into tears. Second, his new teacher at school is incredibly strict and *added bonus* humiliated him in front of his entire class during the first week of school. Yay. The woman is definitely not going to win any congeniality contests, but aside from the humiliation thing (which had me more upset with a teacher than I've ever been before), this woman is really holding CC accountable in school in a way that we've never experienced. I hurt for him, because he is really far behind in reading and writing and I know that he gets embarrassed when he is behind.... but he has been fighting tooth and nail with us for the past two years about homework and now he is behind the eight-ball and there is nothing he can do about it but work his way out. His teacher, who I shall refer to henceforth as Ms. Bollocks, in a move that I am grateful for, has declared that CC must read with us every night and if he doesn't, he will have to read with her. At lunchtime. While all his friends are out playing. So, all of a sudden, CC doesn't put up a fight about doing his homework.... Hallelujah!! Even with the bad, there is some good, thankfully.
And the end product of all the changes is that we are happy. Happier than our little family has been in a long time. We are doing things together and enjoying it rather than wanting to kill each other. My husband and I feel closer to each other and we both feel closer to the kids.
I'm not sure how we made the shift (I mean besides all the packing, the moving, the research, the time and the money put into the move), but we have. And it is a glorious place to be. :)