It’s only the beginning of March, and yet it feels like 2017 has been around for an eternity. My head hurts with all the news pouring in every day, every hour. Some days I try and stay away from it all, but it’s hard – 2016 has left a huge shadow, and it doesn’t look like it’s shifting any time soon. I won’t start ranting. We’ve all become so much more aware politically, which is a good thing, and I’m determined to keep it up. Calling, marching, protesting, boycotting – you name it, we’re doing it. I want this blog to become more personal again, which it will, as this year looks like it’ll be another firecracker! But more about that later.
Christmas in DC was a blast. It was great to spend time with our friends, whom we had only seen sporadically over the years, but whom we’ve known since F was born. They’ve been our friends while we lived in the UK, and we’ve accompanied each other over the years, them marrying and buying a house in France, only to up sticks and move to DC, and us moving to California and then to Austin. Living in DC, it’s even stranger for them now that the Obamas no longer rule the roost. They’ve built their lives there, their children are settled, and yet they look with horror at what is happening around them. I also loved that we were surrounded by friends during Christmas. I didn’t feel like celebrating ‘at home’ so much, as ‘at home’ is a very loose term these days. It seemed much easier to escape, and a great opportunity to talk about our future as a family.
I’m sure we’re not the only family to start 2017 with a sense of unease and worry. Once inauguration day had passed, it seemed there was no stopping the bad. But I digress.
March in Austin means that it’s been just over a year since we left California. A whole year of Texas! We had all hoped to visit California sooner, but too many factors kept us away. For the first half of last year, we were too exhausted and worried that we’d become too sad if we visited and then had to leave California again. Also, flying four people across the Continent doesn’t come cheap, and we were hoping to save up for a trip somewhere more Latin American. But oh, how we’ve missed the Pacific. And Tahoe! And so we finally gave in and booked those flights. I can’t wait to sit on the beach in Santa Cruz, enjoying a light breeze and the gentle March sun in approximately two weeks, knowing that the air conditioning in Austin will be on full blast. It’ll be good for us, good for the soul, to reconnect with the place we called home for so many years. And it’ll be sad to leave, as we don’t know when we’ll get the opportunity to go back. It’ll be a while. The thing is, we’ve decided to say good-bye to the USA.
After seven years away from friends and family, and our European roots, we’ve finally decided to call it a day. As soon as the girls have finished school in June, and before the Texas heat renders us all insane, we’re going to get on a plane and take off for that return flight we never took. Our house in England will be waiting for us, and we’ll see how we can squeeze us, our stuff and our pets into a space that will appear tiny after all this time. F doesn’t really remember the place, as she wasn’t even four when we left, but both girls know the surroundings and can’t wait to be close to their English friends again.
It was a tough decision, and it will be a tough year – but after the last one, I feel we can handle it. And now I’m going to try and not lose my mind just yet and focus on the tasks in hand. There are plenty.