I have not kept up on this blog the last many months as well as I would have liked. This saddens me, because as I look back on photos trying to recapture the experiences we have had abroad, I realize there is much I have already forgotten. Details and feelings that are already lost to me as new experiences have come. I've been reflecting on what may have caused me to brush aside the blog last summer after writing so vigilantly our first few months here.
It did get remarkably busy during the summer once the kids were home from school last July. We had a number of visitors back to back, we traveled more, and when we weren't traveling I was busy with the 4 kids at home. Additionally, James started walking about this time which meant I could no longer sit him down in a room and expect him to stay there. Unless he was napping, he was going, going, going.
I also felt like I had less to write about. After 6 months living in London, all that was once new and exciting seemed normal. I'd figured out how to grocery shop and do laundry and get the kids to the doctor. Our routines of school and work and play were somewhat set. We were still exploring and having adventures, but even our trips downtown to museums or new sights began to feel commonplace and ordinary since they were just part of our weekly routine here, and certainly not something worth writing about.
I think the biggest reason I stopped writing for a while though, was homesickness. It is strangely unexpected how powerfully homesickness can envelop you. When we first moved here, there was an adrenaline and enthusiasm that kept any homesickness at bay. Though there were things and people we missed, the new adventure of it all kept us moving forward. There was excitement about figuring it all out and getting settled. And then July hit like a brick wall. We have 3 family birthdays in July (not to mention the many, many birthdays of extended family in June & July) and are used to celebrating Kaylee's Independence day birthday with the entire USA. On July 4, Kaylee went to school. Matt went to work. And although the morning was shared with our dear friend Mary before she flew home to America, the day still felt a bit empty. Friends and family were posting about all of their gatherings, and we just felt far away and very lonely. There was no root beer floats or fireworks and we didn't want an adventure - we just wanted our familiar traditions and comfortable routines. And this weight continued for much of the month. We were settled here, and knew we would be here in London for a long time to come, and for several weeks that felt particularly discouraging and disheartening. I didn't really feel like writing about all we were doing here in the UK, as fun as it may have seemed, because inside all I was feeling was longing for Washington summers, camping in the mountains, summer bbqs with friends, and family gatherings. And so, write I did not.
We made it through the homesickness though, and as the months have passed I am feeling more at home here thanks to several wonderful friendships. There is something magical about hitting the one year mark in a new place as well. Now I am looking forward to each new season with great anticipation, knowing just what to expect. I'm humbled and grateful when I reflect on where we were a year ago and how far we've come - the challenges, the adventures, the experiences, the miracles - all of it. A few recent visitors and a quick trip back to the USA have also reminded me what a blessing and gift this experience is. Living abroad as a family has given us unique opportunities and has certainly strengthened us.
So with the crocuses peeking their heads up and spring knocking on the door, I am recommitting myself to writing.
Don't forget - no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell. ~Charles de Lint
We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect . . .~Anais Nin
Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different. ~C.S. Lewis