01 February 2007


Okay. There's this big, huge scheme that Jonathan and I are hatching. And it is all we talk about anymore. But I haven't mentioned it on my blog yet. Partly because we are afraid that if this plan does not come to fruition we will look like big idiots. And partly because there are so many thoughts flying through my mind at any given moment that I haven't known exactly how or when to begin. So. Without any further bullshit--I mean, buildup, I begin:

We want to move to England.

Yeah, I know. Dream on, right?

But you don't understand.

We really want to move to England.

So here's the plan. In a nutshell.

Jonathan is going to apply to some universities in England this fall. If he is accepted to one (which I firmly believe, given the overwhelming brilliance of my husband, will not be a problem) we will put our house on the market next spring. (This is the scary part, due to the stagnant housing market in our area. But we'll tackle that next spring.) Then we will pack up all of our belongings and fly our little family to Lincoln to stay with Jonathan's best friend, Andrew, and his family until we find a place of our own. Jonathan will attend school for one year and the following year he will find a job as a teacher.

So. There it is. The Big Crazy Plan.

Which we have been discussing all day every day. And even all night some nights. And when we are not discussing it, we are both scheming and dreaming silently.

He is much more practical, as usual, and has been researching which universities he will apply to and which areas we could live and work in and housing costs and general cost of living and the cost of shipping all of our belongings to England and tightening our budget now to help afford the move. He has talked extensively with Andrew to determine how much house we can afford to buy over there and has worked out exactly what our budget will be while he is in school.

I am, as usual, much less practical, but so very, very excited! I have already begun sorting through our belongings because I don't want to ship all of these things over to England. I see this as a great opportunity to pare down. I have been getting a little too fond of Things. I want to live in a smaller space over there and surround myself with only the belongings that are too necessary and too dear to part with. I also am excited about not having a car (because we won't--at least at first), and walking a lot more. I am excited about living in a colder climate. Hearing English accents all around me, all the time. Watching BBC. Eating mushy peas. Wearing Wellies. Boxing Day.

Jonathan is excited about having a new career. He has always wanted to teach. He is so creative, so dynamic, such a natural leader, I think he will be a wonderful teacher. He is looking forward to having all of Europe at our doorstep. Traveling every summer. Being near his best friend. Drinking in a pub. Watching soccer. Hearing English accents all around him, all the time.

I think he will fit right in. He looks very English, if that makes sense. He is very into fashion. He would look fabulous in a Burberry raincoat. If we could ever afford one! His favorite bands are Oasis, Blur, Pulp... He loves Earl Grey. He doesn't really care for (American) football. He hates really hot weather. He loves stinky, European cheeses.

He will probably fit in much better than I will. I don't think I will ever forsake coffee for tea. Or be very stylish. And yet, I think we both think that I will love living over there more than he will. Which is funny, since he is the one who has actually been there!

I asked him, during one of our millions of conversations about this Big Crazy Plan, "Are you nervous that I will get to England, see it for myself, and wish we had never left?"

And he laughed and said no.

I can't explain it. I just wish I were English. I remember telling my mom (when I was ridiculously young to even know the word) that I was an Anglophile. And I remember her response. "Ick. Why would you want to be that?! The English are so cold and stuffy. Why not be a Francophile? The French are so romantic!"

How can I explain it? It's impossible. You are either in love with England or you're not. You either hear this Big Crazy Plan of ours and sigh with jealousy or you ask, "England? Why England?" There is no in-between.

When Andrew and his girlfriend were visiting in 2005, Teresa had just found out she was pregnant. So there we both were, newly pregnant, horribly nauseous and tired, and she was so homesick. She said, "I just want some of my mom's chicken curry right now." And she was so worried that I would be offended or hurt because she missed her home so badly. (I wasn't.) She said, "I just love England. I can't help it. I love being English. I'm proud of my accent. I love hearing other English people talk." And I feel that way too. I love listening to their accents. So crisp. So clever. It's like music to me.

I see pictures like this:

or this:

or, jeez, look at this one:

or this one, beautiful:

and I feel this ache inside. Like that's where I am meant to be.

I don't know.

Jonathan's parents lived in Germany for five years--he was born there. His mother said she was excited by the Big Crazy Plan and then she said, "After about 6 months, you'll be very homesick. You will appreciate how wonderful America is." And Jonathan told her, "I hope so. Maybe this is what I need to do, then, in order to really appreciate the U.S." Because he and I have been so disillusioned since Bush was "elected" in 2000. So maybe we need to leave our country for a while in order to truly love it again. Who knows.

And there are, of course, all the Doubts. Are we crazy to want to do this? To give up this amazingly beautiful house on this gorgeous lot? To leave all of our family and friends and live all the way around the world from them? To take our children away from their grandparents? (I know, Mom. You don't even need to post a comment. I know.) I am getting tired. All this excitement all the time is exhausting. And "Grey's Anatomy" is due to start any minute. I'll continue with the Doubts tomorrow...


Amy said...

It's so beautiful there. I look forward to visiting you there someday.

Anonymous said...

I hope you aren't too suprised that not all of us share in your enthusiam. Try to imagine yourself if in 30 years Sadie, with two small children, drops the same bombshell on you -- she decides to move back to the States. One more thing to check out while you are there - socialized medical care and how it affects your children. Sorry to be a downer, but I can't imagine not seeing you for possibly years at a time.

Aunt D

Anonymous said...

English medical care is 'socialized' in some senses I guess, because it's free....we have a national health service where everything basic for your kids would either be free or heavily subsidised, a LOT cheaper than in the US - alternatively, we also have a lot of private health companies should you prefer that option. Sorry Aunt D, I don't think that the USA can really look down on free health care...

Btw, not everywhere in England is beautiful,and not every English person is nice, smart, etc. but I think that if you really have a dream you should follow it, and your family should try to support you - it's the same the world over, people are people - the worst that can happen is that you really miss the US and decide to move back, with some amazing experience under your belt and maybe less money in the bank, but that's your decision and I wish you luck!!xx

(I'm a brit who spends half my time in Holland, and it has given me a real appreciation for my country, and for the challenges of being away from home, but in my opinion, if it's what you want, it's WORTH IT! :D )