Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I made the move to England with an open ended plan, with no timelines for a return or deadlines for some specific goal to be accomplished. I've always wanted to live here, really as far back as I can remember. So I was surprised after first after arriving that I questioned the move. Did I make the right choice? Was this really what I wanted? Am I completely insane? The chaos of the first home and all the drama that went with it weren't helpful, but even once everything settled, a sense of impermanence remained. I signed on for a year here in Nunney, but I found myself already thinking of where would I go next. Would I go back to the States? Maybe Maine. Maybe South Carolina. Or maybe Europe. Maybe France or Tuscany. 'Cause though I moved with an intention to stay, I felt disconnected, a long term visitor almost, even as I was building a new world. I couldn't quite shake this feeling of not being in the right place, even though at the same time I felt that I was. A weird internal conflict that had no clear resolution. It wasn't homesickness, exactly, but just a sense of being transient.
Then my friend Dara came to Somerset. She was here for her sister's wedding last weekend in Maiden Bradley, coincidently 10 miles from Nunney. I went, excited to see her, having not seen her for five years, and looked forward to an evening outside of the village.
But what surprised me is that after seeing her, talking and laughing with her, my world, in a way I didn't expect, simply gelled. The life in the States had been connected now to the life here in England. And I realized how detached I'd actually been feeling. Even though I've been welcomed, warmly and generously, and feel many good, close friendships growing, getting to know everyone and everything, from your neighbors to the personality of your house, takes emotion and energy and is subtly, constantly wearing.
When I left the States I realized that while this wouldn't be the first time I'd be packing up and leaving a life behind, this would be the first time that anyone would not be making the move with me. When I moved to New York from Seattle, Julian, Kenny, Natalie and many others moved with me. When I moved to LA, Dan was already here, Tami had just moved and Heather would follow soon after. And while I expected the lack of traveling companions, per se, to affect me, I think I actually forgot how important that was. But, suddenly, seeing someone who spanned both worlds, both lives, made all of it feel...normal.
And now I look at my cottage and look at options. Think of buying it, though that would be a long time down the road. Think of what I'd do to it to make it mine. The long term planning, the setting down of roots, has finally begun to happen. I'm still getting to know the house, learning which floorboard creaks on its own, still putting bits away, just as there are people still to meet and footpaths to explore. It's just somehow not as tiring as it was.
I can't say that I'll live here forever. Who knows where the next adventure will take me. But I am no longer looking for a future away from here either. And so this cottage, and this village, has finally become, simply: