Assuming all goes to plan, come this time tomorrow, we will no longer have a home in the UK. The sale of our house in Old Windsor will complete, and for the time at least, thus will end a chapter in our story.
I have mixed feelings at this. There’s an element of euphoria at being mortgage free. Being free to make choices about how we live, with less regard for the ££ is something I’ve long beavered away at making happen. I’m also conscious though, not for the first time in our lives, that *home* is pretty binary. It’s here; not here, there & everywhere. Anyone who’s lived with international relationships I’m sure will recognise that. I’m not convinced it’s possible to be emotionally rooted to more than one place. Not convinced, rather than certain. I’ll find out in the fullness of time.
The plan, is to buy a small flat, somewhere within spitting distance at least, of London. It’s largely for my benefit, as till now, I’ve thought of London as home. I was born & raised in Hampshire, but London is where I experienced a wider spectrum of life & truly grew up (if I have, actually, grown up yet). Professional life has been London life. I will come back to it when I’m ready, but right now I need to live differently. I need to not spend my daily life being angry about poverty & inequality, at just how borked public service delivery is, and just how fucked up the Daily Mail’s Britain can be. I found I couldn’t work in public service delivery, in “the poverty industry”, and not be angry. And it tipped over, so I wasn’t using that anger in a constructive, force for change way. The Britain of 2015 made it easier to leave. I’ve decided simply to not be angry, and to live differently. Maybe here I’ll work out how best to use my skills to effect the change I think we need & keep the angry vibes at bay. I can’t come back till I do, I know that much for sure.
The mountains in France are home for now. I love being here. I love throwing open the shutters in the morning and breathing in clean fresh air. I love walking the dog down the snow covered lanes in the village, past the chickens roaming around free, and getting a fresh baguette. And I love leaning out of the window in the evening to pull the shutters closed, smelling the woodsmoke as I do it. We’re investing emotionally in being here, meeting new folks, making new friends, spending more relaxed time with old ones. It’s good.
I’m learning how to navigate a foreign language and a foreign culture. That’s not just “French” but mountain, countryside, village life. It’s challenging, but good. It calls on a resilience honed of not-quite-fitting-in in corporate life, and decent sized dollop of good humour, which I’m blessed to have inherited from my mother, who is an inherently sunny soul.
For Sid, it’s second time around. He’s done this ‘big move’ once before. He reflected on the differences earlier this evening. Moving from Turkey to the UK as a single young man, with a single bag and £100, but reasonably good English was a different kettle of fish. The language is harder this time round, but the financial situation is better, and there’s three of us (the dog, obv).
So here’s to big adventures, and the gut conviction that when you’re 90 you regret what you didn’t do, rather than what you did. And to London property prices tanking, so that we have the option of coming back!