I’m the kind of person who has at least six books going simultaneously (not including the 27 unread issues of The New Yorker I refuse to part with). This strikes me as indicative of my life in general; many projects, none quite complete, establishing myself as both half assed distractible and full of diverse curiosity. But with a little time and consistent reading I find myself stacking six completed reads on the shelf, all finished within a few days of each other.
That’s what life is like here now, back in the U.S., in a new town, a new home, making new friends. A whole bunch of lovely books opened, all fresh and engaging and all suffering from my limited attention span. Like my literature, I’ll stick to the ones I adore, muddle through the ones I tolerate (the dry pages of setting up utility accounts, creating a budget, getting my house in order), and savour the unfolding of several new stories.
I miss England. Certainly, the people I became close to are missed the most, especially since we’ve come back to an unfamiliar city and are just starting to make new friends. But I miss silly things as well: roundabouts, pubs, Marks & Spencer take away food. I miss being able to buy Z’s school clothes, pyjamas, and really good underwear at the same place I buy my groceries. I miss winding roads, cathedral bells, and trips into London. I miss my writing group and their patient tolerance critiquing stories of my dating adventures.
I really miss the English gentlemen. I’m trying to put my finger on why without making the Pacific Northwest American version sound second rate. The accent for one was knee-buckling, with voices that were distinguished by their low mellifluous vibrato, their articulation, and general good grammar. Most English men also have a body language and cheekiness that could make a woman feel desired rather than invaded. They were often tall and slim and didn’t revolve their lives around ski reports or trail conditions. I got used to that because it meant they spent more time pondering life’s big questions over a glass of wine with me rather than looking for their mountain biking glasses.
But Bellingham is our home now and I will get excited again by the snow, the water and the labyrinth of hiking and bike trails in my back yard.
Z is thriving in his new school, though it took awhile for him to figure out the Montessori system and motivate himself to work on projects rather than take a nap. (“They let you take naps during school!?” “Yeah, mom, it’s great!”) I sometimes feel as though I’ve entered the Montessori school of life where there are a gazillion projects I could work on but they quickly overwhelm me and I hanker to take a nap. There have been a few victories: I finally learned how to hard boil eggs in my Instant Pot, and six weeks after receiving my first Cuisinart, figured out how to operate the slicing attachment. As for my writing work, I’ve got new projects and one very big break I’ll share with you soon.
It’s time now to shut down ‘Finding My Tribe.’ This blog was about the transition, the experience and the changes during our life in England. This is the last chapter of an up and down story. There were a lot of laughs and maybe more tears along the way, but I can shelve this book now knowing that the narrative I lived was perhaps the most transformational time of my life and I’m happy with what I’ve learned. Grateful, in fact.
I haven’t finished blogging. I have a new domain, one that celebrates midlife, mothering, and mating with appreciation and curiosity. I want to talk about how we have relationships, why we need to accept people the way they are, including our kids, and why being single might just be the best way to learn how to love another person. I hope you’ll join me in the conversation.