We’re going Home this summer, after a year in England, to visit our families. As the time for going draws closer, the trip looms larger in my mind. As usual I have some questions. Will we feel more or less at home in Oxford after we’ve been back, I wonder? Quite a few ex-pat friends have told us that they found the first visit home to be a milestone on the road to settling elsewhere. That returning to their starting point showed them the distance they’d come.
Because sometimes in life you know for certain you have changed. Perhaps, seen from the outside, the changes are subtle? Perhaps, to those in our old pattern, used to us as we used to be (and seeing us only in the old places) they’ll be invisible. We have of course added our darling Harriet, that should be fairly visible! And we have some new vocabulary words, though mostly I think we still make a conscious choice to use them. We won’t need them at home, unless we strew our conversation with them so we seem very cool and English and different. (Nah.)
Will it all go too fast? Will the whole long lovely month flicker by in about a week? You know how it is when you are looking forward to something for a long time. You have frequent opportunities to add to your ideas of what it will be and by the time the occasion arrives it’s so much larger than life that it cannot possibly be all that you’ve envisioned. I have this problem whenever I have an afternoon to myself. One memorable occasion I realized as I set out that my plan was to get a really good coffee, wander through both the French market and the Ashmolean, take some time for my pray and plan, go to the library, find some sandals for Norah, and stop for groceries. In two hours. You can imagine for yourselves the lists I’m making for a one-month visit. The mind reels.
Will I be ready when the time comes? (Is anyone ever ready for transatlantic travel with two babies?) I’d like to wrap a gift for everyone before we go. And make a really solid packing plan so I don’t bring all the wrong things. I’d like to get my hair cut. Oh, and while we’re getting ready I’d love to change my personality. Maybe I could regularly practice getting funnier and more laid-back so as to be ready to have extra fun. Just twenty minutes a day could really pay off.