The last time I felt so much longing, my daughter was still in my womb in my last weeks of pregnancy. I could feel the little bumps of her spine, I could picture her posture, curled up inside me. I had seen the 3-D ultrasound pictures of her little face, and I felt like I had almost met her. But almost was not nearly enough, I needed to hold her, to smell her, to rub her back without pressing through layers of my own body first. She was so close… But not close enough, and I could hardly think of anything else.
I have been having this overwhelming feeling of urgency to be home. Not home in America, not in any particular house. Just my own home. Anywhere. We have been through so many temporary homes, and the nomadic lifestyle has really worn on me. For the last month before we left for England, we were living all over the place, packing and unpacking suitcases. One week, we slept in a different bed every night for four nights in a row. While I am of course extremely grateful that there were so many places available to us to stay, it was very tiring, mentally and emotionally, not to mention the lousy sleep that comes from sleeping in a bed other than your own. Knowing that most of what we own (including beds!) is in a storage container nearby, just waiting for us to give an address is comforting yet maddening. We have been here for three weeks, and we haven’t signed a lease yet. We have run out of our company-sponsored hotel stay, and are enjoying a week living in a real house, house-sitting for one of Jeff’s co-workers. We will move on in a couple of days. There’s a long weekend coming up, so we decided that, if we have to stay in a hotel, we might as well go somewhere else for a little vacation. We will be in Norwich for four days, and then I literally have no idea where we’ll be after that.
The lack of a home is making things very complicated. The school year begins soon, and Amelia can’t wait to start school. The problem is, we don’t know which school she’ll be going to, since it depends on our address, and of course we can’t register her until we’ve signed a lease for proof. The other matter that makes this all the more urgent is that I injured my knee pretty badly about a month before we left the States, and I need surgery. The good news is that I will be covered by England’s National Health Service, and everything will be close to free! The bad news is that I can’t get my NHS card or any services until I have proof of residence here. In the meantime, I have re-injured it, and am always worried about doing even more damage. I know that the surgery will be no fun, and the recovery long (I’ve done this before) and I just want to get it all over with, so I can hurry up and enjoy walks and runs in this beautiful country, and all the fun and activity that comes with properly functioning joints.
While we wait, it is hard for me to figure out what to do. I can’t buy anything, since we are still living out of suitcases, and having “stuff” for our new home would actually make life much harder for us. It’s crazy-making to not be able to start setting up life here. All I really want to be doing at any given moment is to be unpacking and creating a space that we can all rest in. I want to cook in my own kitchen. I feel pretty bad for Amelia, who had her room and things packed up in February and has been a really good sport about hardly having anything of her own, not having her own bed to retreat to every night. I can’t help feeling like I’m not really here yet, that our life in England hasn’t begun. The two homes we are considering right now will be available mid-September, and I am basically just trying to pass the time until we can be home. I’ve read six books, and Amelia has watched an obscene amount of TV. Having internet during our house-sit has been amazing, because now I can actually look at furniture stores online, and things like that. But I still don’t have a real space in my mind to imagine the virtual furniture in.
We are looking at two more properties tonight, and two more tomorrow. None of them are available until 2-4 weeks from now, so it’s hard to get too excited. On a positive note, we are sure that we want to live in Bury St. Edmunds, and have really enjoyed exploring this town. It is really beautiful. Although considered a pretty small town, “Bury” is much bigger than Amberg, and has a gorgeous Abbey with incredible gardens– I’ll devote a post to that soon. And I look forward to showing you our home when it materializes. I thought it would be fun, too, to show some of the places we’ve looked at so far– I’m always really curious about houses in other countries. Hopefully I can report some good news soon!