For nearly a year, I’ve been waiting.
Waiting for it to have been a year since we left England, so that we could go back, shamelessly. Desperate. Homesick for a place that, by all normal definitions, is not my home. If we could just wait a year, we could say we really tried. That we gave America a fair chance – that magic number: One Year – and it just wasn’t for us.
I missed the trains, the bakeries and the Saturday markets. I missed our house group, our church, our tiny little flat that was once a Post Office. Our life there had been perfect. That’s what I told myself.
I interviewed the owner of a well-known restaurant in Chapel Hill before Christmas, and she told me she’d moved here from New York for love, and that it had taken five years for it to feel like home; for her to let go of the notion that she was just visiting, and would return to her city any day.
I felt sick.
And so, when we went to England on June 3, I was prepared to scope out London neighborhoods and job opportunities. Simon even had an interview.
But we had only been there a few days when we started to realize that we didn’t want to slot back into our old life. Things are different now. We’re different.
2008 was, quite possibly, the worst year of my life. Because of bureaucratic nonsense, I was separated from my husband for four months, and forced to celebrate our one-year wedding anniversary during a weekend jaunt back to England. My faith suffered. My health suffered. Anxiety and depression assaulted me at every turn.
But it’s not America’s fault. And maybe that’s why we need to be here now, to see that God is good to us on both sides of the world. To see that home has become something new. It is not the town where Simon grew up, or our 500 square-foot flat, or my parents’ white farm house.
Home, for now, stands alone. It is independent of a city or street – it is the cloud of love, of friendship, of community, where we make our life together.