So, I have my one way ticket to America in a few days time, Belle and I will be on our way to our new home.
We moved out of our flat 3 months ago now and have been living out of suitcases ever since. I cannot tell you how many times I have packed and unpacked this summer but I know it has been about 8 times too many. Whilst the travel has been fun and living with family is a huge blessing, I am giddy about having all of our things in one place again, with food in the cupboards, a meal in the oven, a baby in a routine and our clothes in the wardrobes (or should I say closet?).
It will have been almost a month since J and I last saw each other and I cannot wait to be back together. Belle has really missed having him around. For the first week she kept asking for Dada and then stopped which is the saddest thing. I am so glad that she will never remember this time. We have not spent this long apart since we first met and whilst it was our only real option over the last few weeks, I would not opt to do it again. I have a new found respect for Mums and Dads who have to do time apart from each other and the kids on the regular.
J has completed his mission (very well I must add!) and has found us an apartment. Apartment hunting at the best of times is flipping hard work and doing it alone in a new country whilst working full time is pretty impressive if you ask me. He gets the keys in the next few days! We will have a bit of a gap before our shipping arrives and so I am feeling that life will involve lots of takeaways, plastic cups and IKEA trips in those first days and weeks. We don’t own much furniture and so we are almost starting from scratch. J has ordered a mattress which is a good start and we left a travel cot at Jono’s office when we came back to the UK (we like to kid ourselves that our child sleeps in a cot – she doesn’t!).
Something I learnt from first moving to London is that no matter how long you are planning to be there, you have to make it home from day one. If you see it as temporary then it will feel temporary. We really fell into that trap during our first year in London and it took 12 months of loneliness and frustration to realise that the problem was not London, but us and our attitude. We had to embrace our new city and invest in making it home. The flip side is that once you have made somewhere home it is much harder to leave and move on.
Whilst I don’t feel ‘sad’ about leaving London, because London isn’t going anywhere, I am really sad to be leaving our church and our friends. The thing about big city living is that everything changes all of the time. People come and go and stay and move and so it is very unlikely that our friends will still be in London when we return and I expect that our church will look totally different too. It is hard to say goodbye to all of the Mums and babies that I have learnt to be a Mum around in this last year. Those women have been with me through the most life changing year of my life and it makes me emotional just thinking about going.
Family is hard too. I feel this sense of guilt about taking Belle away from her grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles. Whilst she won’t remember it, they will and that is a little tough. Thank the Lord for Facetime and blogging to keep connected with family, plus most of them are already making plans to come out and visit. I actually have a theory that in a year we will end up seeing more of family and for bigger better chunks of quality time that we did when we lived in London. I will keep you posted on how that theory works out!
Start to finish this move has happened pretty quickly. We first heard about the possibility of a job in NYC in June. Two weeks later we moved out of our flat, a week later we went over for seven weeks, 1 week later we were back in the UK and we had our visas and 3 weeks after that we moving into our new place in Jersey City. In the craziness and sometimes stressfulness of this move, I do feel that it is totally right for us right now as a family. I have an underlying peace about the whole thing that only comes from knowing that God is in this. We have had so many answers to prayer in this process that you wouldn’t believe.
In faith I am trusting that we will find a new church where we can serve, new friends to rebuild our community and a city that feels like home.
I am so excited to bring this little blog along on the journey as we start again in New York/New Jersey!
Anyone else moved abroad with a family? I would love to hear you tips and advice.