I'm sleeping in my snowball.
Less than two weeks till we leave England, and this snowball keeps picking up momentum. It's not a bad thing. It's the natural way things go. And although it's been stressful, it hasn't been a bad move, so far. Not everything has lined up exactly the way I'd like, but then again, I'm a bit of a perfectionist sometimes. Enough things have lined up closely enough, that I'm pretty comfortable about this move.
And the snowball keeps picking up steam.
On this side of the ocean, we are winding down. Finishing up work, training our replacements, attending our own farewell lunches, hugging people when we run into them because we might not run into them again before we go. There are checklist items that still remain, but it's hard to slow down this kind of momentum. Things will get done.
On the other side of the ocean, things seem to be falling into place. I hesitate to stay that, because I know there are so many variables that can still complicate matters. But, so far, so good. The seeds we've been planting seem to be sprouting tiny, delicate buds. There's no promise in those buds, I am hopeful.
It's hard not to reflect on our arrival here in England four years ago as we wrap up our time. Somehow, the beginning and the end feel a lot a like, although they are so different.
One of our last nights in our house, I was staring up at the bare walls and ceilings as I tried to fall asleep, and I remember our first night in the house. I remembered laying on our mattress on the ground (because our box spring wouldn't fit up our narrow stairs) and thinking, "This doesn't feel like home." I remember an almost suffocating sense of homesickness pressing down on my chest, and wondering if I'd ever feel like this house was our home.
Last week, I looked up at the walls where there was once furniture and pictures and mementos from our life, and I thought, "This doesn't look like the home we spent four years building." Back to the basics. Back to essentials. The important things are here: my husband, my kid, my health, and the promise of a new adventure. But it's hard to lose your home, even when you've been preparing for it since Day One. Even when you've know all along it was just a temporary home.
The beginning and the end magnify the differences between English and American life. I was amazed at how slowly things seem to move over here. Setting up Internet took over three weeks. We couldn't establish our satellite TV until we had a land line, which also took a few weeks. And as we leave, I'm reminded again of how long it takes to get things done. Thirty days to cancel my phone line? How hard is it just to turn it off? Three weeks notice legitimately isn't enough?!
The past few weeks have been hectic with Christmas parties and major moving hurdles. These next two weeks are a little more calm, with more time to reflect and say good-bye. Tomorrow we hand over the keys to our little home on Tottington Close for the last time. We will be officially homeless for a short period.
It's hard to roll all these emotions into this big snowball I'm sleeping in. The excitement of new possibilities and the sadness of losing what's familiar. The appreciation for excessive American options and the loss of these unique travel opportunities. The anticipation of being closer to family and the despair of losing...well, losing England.
It's been the best of times.
And I am grateful.