Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Moving in reverse

We don't need guidebooks to London....
Moving back from the US is a strange old affair.

In many ways it seems as if you're putting yourself into reverse gear. All the things we had to do when we first arrived here - for example, obtaining a car, buying electrical goods and registering the kids for school - we're now doing from the other way around. So we need to think who might want our coffee maker, iron and toaster, which won't work in the UK, deal with selling our car, inform the school that we're leaving.

Things that have been stuffed into drawers for four years - UK credit cards, kids' NHS health books, UK chequebooks - suddenly have to be retrieved and located, whereas the things we fought so hard to acquire over our first year - our US credit cards, New York drivers licences, work permits and the rest - suddenly seem less important. Our attention is turning to issues such as buying a car for London, and working out where to live.

In some ways, it seems like a self-catering holiday (a long, long one) coming to an end. Except you've made several firm friends during it, educated your children, seen them acquire American accents, gained a new knowledge of how to speak "American", and understand more than you want to about the US gun laws, the Tea Party and the path of Hurricanes.

What do you do with all this newly acquired stuff? The knowledge, I mean, not the irons and toasters. Do you just file it away into a corner of your mind marked "America"? Do you bore people at home with it? (I always remember a university room-mate, who came from Guernsey, and prefaced every sentence with "In Guernsey"....until we were sick to death of hearing about the Channel Island).

Hopefully it helps give you a more balanced perspective on life back in your home country- an ability to appreciate the good and compare the bad. On the other hand, it could just all slowly seep away as you slot seamlessly back into London life, as if you'd never been away.



11 comments:

MsCaroline said...

I'm sure some of the American stuff will disappear immediately(and good riddance!), but I hope you'll keep the good stuff - Fall in New England, the view of the sunrise over the water from your house, goofy big-hearted Americans who decorate their houses to the 'T'for every.single. holiday, the convenience of the word 'ya'll' (I know your DH has family in Virginia,) getting caught up in the energy and excitement of the City, the funky vibe (and constant sunshine) of Cali, and 4 precious years of your boys' growing up. If nothing else, you'll have gained an insight that not many will ever have. And- when you're finally able to talk about politics at a dinner party again- you'll have some first-hand insights to share. Can't believe this adventure is winding down to an end, but looking forward with great interest to the 'repatriation process.' xx

Nota Bene said...

Write a blog ...........................................oh yes you do already... :-)

Melissa said...

I know exactly how you feel about those pieces of paper and credit cards and social security numbers that took so much effort to get and felt immensely precious once you got them, only to tuck them away in a filing cabinet, like a ticket stubb you'd stick in a holiday diary. Mainly forgotten and going from mega important to not important at all as the years pass.

But, all that stuff you've learned in America is a gift that can never be taken away from you. You don't need to tell other people about it - you already do via your blog. You will just end up using it. It will become part of who you are. If I were you, I wouldn't view coming back to the UK as returning home, same old, same old. I'd try to see it as a whole new adventure. It will be for your children.

Expat mum said...

They say repatriation is often harder than moving away in the first place. Not that I"m trying to be a Debbie Downer, but it will be interesting to read your blog...

About Last Weekend said...

Am really looking forward to your first new impressions of your old homeland. Wonder if you will find it much changed. Still the obsession with blonde B-celeb and Royals, that will never change it seems. This must be a time of mixed feelings. Are you going to get a whole lot of traveling in before you leave? I would head straight to Mand S for the Indian food and the brown sugar chicken and I love Pret bacon and egg sambos

Julie said...

I wouldn't bother with the chequebooks...nobody uses them anymore, even in the UK....

Michelloui | The American Resident said...

This is such a profound statement: 'In some ways, it seems like a self-catering holiday (a long, long one) coming to an end.' I someitmes feel like that about my whole expat life until I realise that I am NOT on holiday, that this really is life. Funny how our mind does these things. As the others have said, it will be interesting seeing how you move through the next 6 months or so. x

Elsie Button said...

Your blog is a wonderful record of your experiences - incredible in fact! Xx

Manohar singh Jodhpur said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Iota said...

I think you need to find a place where they are valued - in answer to your question. It's not always easy. As you say, you don't want to bore people who aren't interested. But there ARE people who will be interested, and I think that you have to hold on to the fact that you have a width of experience, and so much new insight and perspective, that you never had before. Even if you don't find a place where that is overtly valued, it is valuable per se.

Metropolitan Mum said...

I'd be very interested indeed. Let me know if you want to meet up for a cup of tea or coffee. Anytime. Dxx