I am in six-month state of unbalance. I have danced on the light-beams until this point. At the moment, I am in transition, my feet feel as if they are having to walk again, where previously i have floated. What I was is dimmer in my mind and eyes, what I am is confused, and the future as ever is obscure. I feel sad for Home, but where is Home? Was it the last house we lived in in Surrey for just 18 months? Was is Chichester, Cambridge, London, Yorkshire where I was raised? My parents are both passed away, so it’s not where they reside. I know that my family is here in Dallas with me, my husband, my children. It’s as if we are a jigsaw piece in the wrong puzzle — we fit, bizzarely and by coincidence, all the contours of the outline, but the photograph on our piece is a mis-match.
When I left home in Yorkshire, even then, I felt that the open moorlands near which i grew up, and the wild, ancient and uncommercialised woods that they crowned, never felt they left my blood. Maybe I’m homesick for the beautiful country of Yorkshire, as I have been since I first left it 14 years ago. I also miss the greenness of Surrey, even though most it was owned and couldn’t be walked on. The shadowy lanes overhung by vigorous trees and vines, the leaves of which held the sunlight above it’s crown like a hat.
Texas has beauty too, but it does speak a foreign language. It’s not that easy to understand, you have to make an effort — you must see under the myriad of insects which have evolved cunning ways to get your blood out of you, over the criss-cross of snakes with varying degrees of poison in their mouths, around the vultures and kites that constantly wheel around in the translucent sky. Then you notice the intensely green, spongey trees, adapted to the infrequent storms by bending like rubber, arms splayed, dressed from head to toe in it’s hardy leaves. Then you notice that the sky is full of butterflies — in September, it’s full of Monarchs on their way to Mexico for the winter, from canada — and brilliant birds, with varying degrees of splendid plumage.
You see the creeks and dramatic rivers cut through low canyons, filled with bleached boulders. You see the passion people have for gardening, with fat topiaried bushes, and chubby pansies lining their paths. The lean Texas cacti and water-filled succulents add grey and green structures, pointing to the mostly kind, benign blue sky.
Maybe my homesickness is simply a biological and hormonal response, automatic and out of my conscious control. Because when i think about it, it’s not what my conscious mind is saying at all.
I did think when we undertook this move from Surrey to Texas that the first six months would be the hardest. Actually, the first six months are the easiest i suspect, you are carried on the crest of the wave that you began yourself. The pages of the book still smell of glue, the cars smell new.
The next six months will require us to work harder, to lay foundations, to take the risks of making connections, of taking the first steps towards building a new home. Turning back is no longer an option, even in our deepest dreams. We must take setbacks and misunderstandings and set them aside, trying again and again to become part of this new country.
The next six months are a risk, now our gamble must turn into work. We have to earn what comes next, rather than just reap the rewards of our boldness. If it goes wrong, we can’t blame chance. We can only blame ourselves. Maybe I made a sacrifice six months ago when i quit my career, friends, family and country to take this step. But that sacrifice is now over. This is my normalcy.
In fact, I realise that it is in fact NOW that we take the decision, not when we actually moved — Do we really want this to work? Do we really want to live in Texas and the US?
My answer is Yes, and No. Well, that’ll have to do for now I guess!