Monday, 3 December 2012

Arriving Home

January 9, 2012 is when we arrived back home, this time for good. It has taken me this long (11 months) to gather my thoughts and begin to draft a post about returning home. In the meantime I have also had a baby (so I do have a pretty good excuse for my long absence from the blogging world).

The arrival of our first child and returning home are two major life events which both happened at the same time and so the one will forever be associated with the other. As I said in my last blog post it is always the most unexpected events that provide the most pleasure!

The impact upon our identity on our arrival home is quite interesting. When you are abroad you are foreign and our accent differentiated us immediately. Now that we are "back home" we are nothing special but the everyday things still leave us feeling a little "foreign". For example; the size of things, everything is a little smaller - cars, homes, shower gel etc and the lack of decent Mexican food (yes there is Wahaca - but when you have had an amazing $2 taco nothing really compares.) The amount of people in central London can get overwhelming at times and there is also the amount of walking involved in daily life. Of course we had lived in London for more time than we lived in Dallas - but it is funny how quickly you forget things.

Another major aspect was time, in Dallas all of our time was our own, back home we have family which was actually one of the major reasons we came home. But having family commitments on a weekend is something which we are again getting used to. Seeing my son with our siblings, his cousins, his grandparents is such a joy and to know he will be physically surrounded by his extended family (and a new baby cousin on the way!) just fills me with a warm glow.

I don't think I can ignore the impact of Baby D's arrival in this blog post and upon our arrival home. I personally don't think any amount of planning can ever truly prepare you for the whirlwind of emotions when your first child arrives into this world, there is of course the physical pain of labour (it is true what they say; the memory of the pain recedes as the sleepless nights and constant worry overwhelm you) and then there are the emotions - the emotional roller-coaster just does not describe it. The highs and lows are intense and it is hard to ever see normality ever being resumed. Our ante/pre-natal teacher gave us the best description when she said, "life will never be normal again; in the sense that it will never be what it was; but it will be a new normal that is newly wonderful in so many ways."

Then there is the home sickness; I now miss my friends back in the USA with the same level of intensity that we missed our friends and family in the UK and so it is that we are now permanently in a state of always missing someone somewhere. A modern world dilemma and the risk that comes with living a global life? And yes I do also miss Dallas - the sunshine is a given, the Tex Mex, Mexican food, fro yo and our Volvo station wagon...... all of these things and much more.

So here we are back home with a new normal, our baby and no Tex Mex, but now we have good friends across the pond whom we look forward to hearing from and seeing. Getting back into the swing of things is a little different as my new job does not have regular hours, is very demanding and the hardest work I have ever done but his smiles and giggles win me over everytime.  Arriving "home" has not been what I imagined it would be and I am still waiting for the dust to settle. But as my husband has always said my home is with you and now our son.

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