Monday, January 20, 2014

I miss England.

It's official: I miss England terribly. I more than miss it; I long for it--in that awful way that makes your insides all achy and your heart too heavy. I'm homesick for it, and I've never lived there...but to be honest, I felt homesick for it before I even visited. And when I did visit? I felt home. More home than I've ever felt anywhere else. (I was seriously considering reincarnation as a viable explanation there for awhile.) It was weird. I won't lie, I cried on the plane back to the States.

The biggest thing about England, to me, was feeling like I was walking through history every moment I was there. I wandered in and out of buildings older than my country. I walked through doorways where monarchs had crossed and read the inscriptions where they were buried. I saw ceremonies that had been conducted for hundreds of years. It's a country of ritual and consistency. Some might view that as stale or oppressive, but it's so comforting to me. So steady. And for a few days, I was a part of the hum that stretched back thousands of years. I don't feel that here. Everything feels so rushed and monotonous. I feel free and individual, but I don't feel like a part of a grander history--at least not as much as I did there, for just a week. I felt like I belonged.

I know it sounds like maybe I'm ungrateful, but I'm not. I live in a wonderful country for the most part, and I'm lucky. I know that. I just feel displaced--like you feel when you go to stay in a hotel on vacation. It's great, and sometimes really fun, but it isn't where you're most comfortable. You can get used to it if you're there awhile, but something is still pulling you to where you belong. That, inexplicably, is how I feel about England. It waxes and wanes, but lately the pull has been stronger than usual.

And this--this is the sticking point every time: what do I do with that? Do we plan a vacation? A move? I've been planning a trip for us, but when I break down what it will cost us to be there for a couple weeks, spending that much money on a vacation seems irresponsible--especially when you consider that we're at the stage where we're thinking about buying a house and starting a family. A move would be the dream, but getting a visa, by all accounts, is akin to running the gauntlet; I know a girl who married an Englishman, and she still waited almost a year for hers to be approved. So the likelihood is small, and the thought of the place I love most and want to live in so badly not wanting me would be incredibly hard to stomach.

I guess I feel trapped. I keep hearing the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupery repeating over and over: "A goal without a plan is just a wish." Ouch. (Also, I have a bit of a cold, so I'm feeling especially whiny today.) I need to feel some movement, but I don't know which direction to move in--so I move in a million different directions and get nowhere, really. Researching and reading and dreaming is wonderful, but it's becoming less and less enough. 

Okay, the more I write about it, the more this starts to sound more like a whiny journal entry than a blog post, and I'm not going to be one of those people. If anyone has any ideas, thoughts, or opinions (or better yet, experience relocating to another country!), feel free to leave it below.


  1. YES.

    I miss England with a fierce passion. I know my family and friends laugh at me about my obsession with it, but I can't help it. For all the reasons you described, I love England. I gloried in the thought that I was walking down streets in London where all the great people of the world had walked for centuries - that I was seeing the same things seen by Winston Churchill and Queen Victoria and Henry VIII. I stood in the White Tower and realized that at some point in my walk around the Tower, I had at some point most certainly been in the same spot that Princess Elizabeth stood when she was imprisoned by Mary. I breathed in the scent of pure history. I reveled in a country where it's entirely normal to walk to the village (the VILLAGE!) to do your shopping, to drink a cup of tea with a friend, to live in a tiny house and eat smaller portions and have so many things that were almost but not quite what I was used to in the US. I'm also grateful to be American, but England is the home of my soul. People were posting a link to Buzzfeed's "What City Should You Live In?" quiz and surprise surprise, I got London. I was even trying to figure out how to afford graduate school in England at one point (turned out, I couldn't).

    But here's my thought on taking a trip - yes, it's wonderful to save money for a house (I fully intend to). But I think I would rather have the memories. I have so many amazing memories of my one trip to England, it's hard to realize it was nearly six years ago. My fund for a trip has not received many contributions lately, but I need to go back to saving money for it, because England is calling me home.

  2. love love love this. I feel ya girl. I miss london so muuuuch

  3. Aw, loveliness about my home- and pictures of my hometown Cambridge!!!- as well as a Steinbeck quite, blissful reading :)


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