In October, we traveled back to the States to introduce Coleman to K’s extended family. This was our first trip back since November of 2012 and we had a really nice visit. Coleman couldn’t get enough of grandma and grandpa’s cuddles (not to mention swinging, wagon rides, petting the cat, petting the donkey…). And Walker couldn’t believe his luck with all the new toys and playmates to enjoy.
And since all K’s brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, parents, cousins, grandma, etc, etc were around to visit, there were plenty of spare hands to give mum (K) and dad (G) a much needed break.
In London, the boys are very clingy to Kimberly. They spend much of the week together solo and as a result, she’s their security blanket. This is great for attachment theory (not that we follow that convention), but not so great when mum needs a shower or when it’s dad’s turn to do storytime and bedtime for a change. So, the boys being enamoured with grandparents was the absolute best gift of all. We ran out for a solo coffee one morning. Spent a morning in the storage unit (yes, we still have all the contents of our NC house in storage 7 years on, ridiculous…). And when we were at the house, we could still have some downtime there.
So while we LOVE our London life and don’t plan to move on from this chapter anytime soon, we do also love our American respites. Though, K still wishes her family would travel.
And this brings us to another theme. Living abroad–the pros and cons as evaluated 7 years in.
For us, the big reason for moving abroad initially was to allow ourselves more opportunity to see and do things in Europe. The limited holiday allowance in the US (generally 2-3 weeks) didn’t really allow for many jaunts across the ocean. And low-cost air carriers made it easily possible to travel loads using London as a hub.
Now, 7 years on, we realise that we’ve grown accustomed to the ways and life here in London and while we can’t say we’ll be here forever, we can say that it very much suits now. For any who have asked us ‘why’d you decide to stay in London’ over the years, I’ve recently found http://www.businessinsider.com/us-expats-in-england-2013-10which sums it all up much more eloquently than I have ever been able to.
Sadly our most marked regret is one which we can’t impact or control.
A majority of our family doesn’t travel. Of our immediate family members (K’s 3 siblings, K’s parents, G’s parents and G’s sister), only G’s parents have been to visit over the last 7 years of our living in the UK. And while we do see everyone while visiting Virginia and many of our immediate family have to make a large effort in order to see us there, it would make our life seem more ‘whole’ if everyone could see and experience a part of our life here. So, alas, life abroad (for us) does come with its tradeoffs…but that’s life?!