Spring has finally sprung in England. It is May, after all, so it’s about bloody time. Being used to perpetual spring, or at least spring starting in February for the last 8 years, these last 6 months of never-ending winter have been absolutely horrendous. But now England is starting to put on her ballgown at last, and when the sun is out, she is an absolute beauty; trees are blooming, bluebells are out (and a worthy match for my beloved Texan bluebonnets), grass is green, people are smiling. When I walked the dog yesterday afternoon a teenage boy was strolling along the path ahead of me, trendy hair, swagger-y walk, headphones and all. And then, all of a sudden, he did a cute little skip and hop for a few steps. Had he turned round, he would have been totally freaked out by the madly grinning middle-aged woman behind him. Made my day. I’m glad he didn’t turn round.

Of course, winter had to come back for a last hurrah and blow some icy Arctic air and sleet into the lovely sunshine, but luckily it didn’t last very long, and the sun is out again for a bit. S is back this Sunday for a couple of weeks, the first time since early March, and we can’t wait to explore some more of the Kent countryside. There are so many places I’ve yet to see! Today I explored beautiful Great Dixter in East Sussex with my friend F, who had called on a whim this morning, and even the drive down there was stunning. As much as I dislike the tiny English country roads with their reckless drivers, there is such a charm to the whole concept that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s such a relief to finally feel like I can breathe again. The last few months were rough, and not just because of the weather. Living apart as a family sucks, and we’re all sick of it. But now I feel the tide is turning, and the anxiety that’s assaulted me so relentlessly is easing off. I don’t usually mention my anxiety as such, but I guess some people can read between the lines. Anyone who suffers from anxiety knows how it can attack, engulf, puncture and squeeze the life out of you, sometimes out of the blue. For the most part, I can handle it by distracting myself, usually by exercising or creating, but when energy is low and the weather is bad, things get difficult. Anyway, I can feel spring’s energy and zest and wake up with a smile on my face most mornings. 

Our family trip to Austin over Easter played a part in this too, I should add. As S has spent the last 10 months hopping across the pond at least every four to five weeks, we decided to give him a break and go see him instead. The girls hadn’t been back since last June, and we needed some Texan hospitality and warmth. It was so good to be back, and it was like we all sighed with relief and our shoulders collectively relaxed when we landed and breathed in the warm, soft air of the city that was our home not that long ago, and then proceeded to stuff our faces with tacos before crashing into our old beds in our old house. Austin is still home, that much was obvious. We all felt it.

And thus a decision was made, and the narrative of my life is taking yet another turn. While I thought that my original plan – family moves to the US for a few years, then returns to Europe and looks back fondly on that experience while feeling happy about being back home – was slowly albeit a little more painfully than expected, coming to fruition, life was taking a good look at me, wagged a finger and whispered into my ear, “Where is “home”? Are you really sure this is how it’s supposed to be?” I could hear it, loud and clear, and thought with absolute certainty, “No. This is not how it’s supposed to be.” As ever, life is full of surprises.

We’re moving back to Austin.

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