It’s been over a year since I wrote my “Regrets” post and I suppose it’s about time to revisit that topic. I’ve seen so many varying experiences in some of the “expat” groups I’m in. There are people who hate the UK and desperately want to leave, there are those who love it and claim they’ve had no problem adapting, and then there are those who have struggled, grown, adapted and made this their home. The point being that two strangers from the US could move to the exact same country, exact same city, at the exact same time and their experiences will be vastly different. One person had a terrible time, the other’s experience was great and they wouldn’t change a thing.
This whole experience has been more difficult than I could have ever anticipated. I knew before we left the US that it would be incredibly hard but there’s just no way to anticipate just how hard until you’ve made the move. I would never recommend anyone just up and move in the same manner that we did, unless they want it with every single fiber of their being, which I did. Most expats move here with some sort of “known,” like a spouse, or a job, or plans for university… there was absolutely nothing lined up for us. We moved here with absolutely no promise of income or even housing, we started from absolute scratch and just trusted things would work out. It’s taken much longer than I expected but things are indeed starting to work out. December was the first month I paid rent from our UK account. That’s nearly a year and a half of paying rent from savings! We are only now starting to sort of stabilize financially… or at least to the point that I’m not afraid of going 100% broke and having to leave the UK.
The thing is it’s not an easy move. It’s frustrating dealing with the inefficiency of things here. Have I mentioned we’ve been a month and a half without internet and there is absolutely no hope in sight of getting it again? Or that our recycling is piling up in our kitchen because the bins on the street haven’t been emptied and the streets are literally strewn with garbage from the council’s failure to empty them regularly? There are terrible companies in the US as well and it’s getting worse; however, over here I am actually shocked when a company does what they say they’ll do, it’s so rare. One of my favourite companies here right now is Bulb, a utility provider, they have been one of the only large(ish) companies I haven’t had problems with.
There are many things that bother me about the way things are here; however, there are many things that I love. I love that we don’t need to own a car, we save so much money. I love that my husband and I aren’t afraid of incurring medical debt if we need to go to the doctor. I love the number of independent businesses around here and the variety of businesses. I love Aerial Edge, a place that unbeknownst to them has been my life support at times. There are so many people here that I love, so many lovely people from all walks of life, from all over the world. I have had my eyes opened in so many ways. There are still days that I look around and can’t believe I’m actually here.
This is a hard post to keep short. There is so much I want to share, both bad and good. If I’m completely honest there have been moments where I wished we had just moved somewhere else in the US. Financially it would have been the wiser decision. It would have been easier for me to go see my mom and my friends more frequently. We would actually have internet. LOL! That said, if something happened and we had to return to the US I think I’d be completely lost. I went through an unexpected grieving phase in leaving the US, and now I have reached a point where I would experience the same if I left the UK, it would feel like a huge loss for both my husband and myself. So, yeppers, there are times I think “what the hell was I thinking, this was a dumb idea” but even in those moments I recognise this is still where I want to be. This is my home.
I have given up the idea of thinking there is stability in anything and we’ll stay put anywhere because I have proven that stability doesn’t exist in my world, it can’t and quite frankly I’m not interested in it, though I wish I were. Why am I like this?! The idea was to move here, to stay here until we croak, and that’s still what I’m hoping for. That said, I can’t promise that there won’t be a day a few years down the road when we’re once again going months without internet, I’m tripping over garbage and dodging dog shit on the sidewalk, then suddenly there’s a downpour of rain when it was supposed to be sunny or maybe it was supposed to be rainy and I’m mad that it’s sunny and I just simply give up and say “I’m done, we’re moving to the moon.”