“Move to a new country and you quickly see that visiting a place as a tourist, and actually moving there for good, are two very different things.”
I know that statement was very true for me when I moved to England 8 years ago, and it was probably the same for Vernon when we moved back to California two years ago this weekend. Its one thing moving house, moving country is quite another.
After the 10-month visa application process, we had forgotten whey we’d wanted to move to America in the first place. We got caught up in the moving momentum and suddenly found ourselves staring at US customs officers like deer staring at headlights. After working through the culture shock (yes, even for me…granted, we did arrive in a presidential election season) we recognized the benefits. England was a great place for us to start our lives together, and we loved it there, but various things that came up in our lives made us realize we couldn’t really pursue our interests as easily as we might in the US. Plus, I’d had Justine by then and was realizing how much I missed having my family nearby as well as a larger supportive community (an unexpected jackpot I’d found in San Clemente years before, when I’d returned to my childhood-hometown.)
Here we are saying good by to our charming home of the past 3 years (yeah, we move a lot, apparently.)
We adore our English friends and family, but we never had found the same sense of ‘larger connectedness’ that I’d experienced at home. It may not have been important to Vernon, but it was important to me. Possibly a cultural thing.
I am sure Vernon would have been taken care of in England by the medical staff (and there wouldn’t be expensive piles of bills to pay) but I also wonder if the ambulance would have arrived so quickly, if we would have had access to the same quality of care. I’d like to think so. I DO know that Vernon has received those things here. We just happen to live close to one of the best brain-trauma hospitals in the country, so of course that is where Vernon was taken after the crash.
I also know that the generous care that the kids and I have received through our local community has been amazing and life-changing. I can’t imagine holding up as well as I have without them (you!) Having my parents (and other volunteer babysitters) nearby to watch Justine so that I could visit Vernon in the hospital regularly has been so helpful. Having people fill our fridge, cut the lawn, sweep my floors, get into my business—I am beyond thankful.
This may have happened in England too…the people we know there are so wonderful, I have no doubt they would have come into our corner there. But it happened HERE. And here is where the love has manifested in action. I am so thankful we moved into such a kind and caring community. So two years later to the date, I remember and celebrate our move to THIS home.
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
― Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky
Here is a very much younger-looking Maki getting prepped for the long flight from LHR to LAX two years ago. He’s such a jet-setter— even as I type, he is on another long flight from New Zealand to LAX and will arrive with his mother in the morning. This family never claimed to have a small carbon-footprint. Oh well… chalk it up to ‘what you do for love.’