Wow, we’re really doing it. It is with very mixed feelings that we’re saying goodbye to America tomorrow. Time to get on that return flight we never took when we landed in this country over seven years ago. It feels right to go back to Europe – after all, that is what we had planned all along, albeit sooner than this. But while it’s kind of like “going home”, “home” has become a little less defined, a little blurry around the edges.
Saying goodbye to Austin is harder than I thought it would be. I know I won’t miss the heat, the humidity, the crazy gun laws and the insularity of liberal Austin in the middle of ultra conservative Texas. But I will miss its open, down-to-earth vibe, its wonderful food, friendly people, and its quirkiness. It truly is the most accepting, least judgmental place I’ve ever lived in, and I intend to take a bit of that spirit with me wherever I go.
I will miss bank employees with blue hair and school principals and teachers covered in tattoos.
I will miss the abundance of gorgeous food and awesome music on my doorstep. I will hate that California is a 10 hour flight away instead of 4, and I have no idea how to exist without Trader Joe’s.
I will miss the awesomeness of the Southern drawl, I will miss people saying “y’all”, especially my friend V, whose voice was made to say it (maybe I’ll ask her to record it for me). And I’ll miss my big, overwhelming Texas sky, which is truly amazing and bigger than anywhere I’ve ever known. I wish I could capture the beauty of it on camera, but as so many things, the depiction doesn’t do reality justice. I’ve taken so many pictures of it in my mind that I know it’ll always be there whenever I need it.
I will plant bluebonnet seeds and make tortilla chips, and I will forever yearn for Torchy’s Tacos.
I know a big chunk of this place will forever live in my heart.
Having spent so much time of my life in countries other than the one I was born in, I know that the feelings of yearning and sadness will always be part of me, but I hope I’ve learnt enough – especially those last few years – to be able to handle them. Also, it’s a sadness overwhelmingly tinged with gratitude. Gratitude for the fact that I’ve been allowed to have this amazing experience of making a home in different parts of the world and connecting with different people and places. Those experiences will be part of my and my family’s story for the rest of our lives.
And I’m grateful we’re going to a familiar place next. I’m not sure I could have handled anything else. We have friends, family, and familiarity to look forward to, and exciting new adventures. Our girls are a lot older, and there is so much to discover and enjoy.
It’s time to start our next chapter.
P.S. Don’t go away – this blog will not die. I shall document our return and my observations about living in the UK! After all, I do have another perspective to try out….