It has begun, our last chapter in the US. Our flights are booked, a shipment date is set, the ball is rolling. It’s a very strange feeling, slightly surreal, and while my overriding belief is that we’re doing the right thing, I wake up some days and doubt every single decision that I’ve ever made.

7 years is a long time to spend in another country. F has spent most of her life in the US, and E half hers. To go back to a place that we left that long ago is a daunting prospect. It might not be as daunting as moving to a completely new place and starting from scratch, but it’s daunting all the same. After all, we have changed, and no doubt the place has changed too. It’s not simply a case of picking up where we left off.

Yes, we had always planned to return to Europe eventually, but that was a rather vague notion and certainly didn’t entail moving back into our old house. So it is only natural that I have very mixed feelings about that. One the one hand, I can’t wait to be back in an environment that I know, where I have friends and easy access to places I love. I am slightly worried about the winter weather, after having lived in warmer climes for so long, but I am thrilled to escape the relentless Texas summer heat and humidity.
But on the other hand, I worry how we’ll feel being back, while all the people around us have been living their lives there, and don’t know anything about this strange, amazing, unique parallel life we’ve had in the meantime. We have changed, for sure, and it’ll be interesting to see how this will affect our friendships and sense of belonging.

I also worry about the political climate back “home”. Brexit has only just begun, and I fear its toxicity. I’m determined to bring back some of my positive, open and friendly “American” attitude to fight the general doom and gloom and negativity that we might encounter.

We just spent a few days in California, the first time being back since we left over a year ago. I was worried about how we’d feel and how much of a connection we still had to the place we called home for so long. Both girls formed some deep friendships during those years, especially E, and so I hoped she wouldn’t crumble and feel even more torn and unsettled. But while it was quite emotional for her, we ended up having a wonderful time, and it felt amazing to go back to familiar places, see friends and confirm that our connection to California will always be there. Sitting on a cliff above Pleasure Point and soaking in the spring sunshine and glorious view over Monterey Bay was absolute bliss.

I have this theory that wherever you go and spend some time, you leave a chunk of your heart, sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller, and when you return to that place, you’re reunited with that chunk and become a little bit more whole. At least for a while.

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