Just Breathe

For those of you who are new readers and didn’t hop over from Une Vie Chic, for the first 2 years of my marriage I lived in Suffolk, UK. In sheep country. Yes, it’s as beautiful as your imagining. And slower. Most shops close at 5, a lot of places aren’t open on Sundays. And it was lovely. We both were emotional as we left, and the adjustment here took a while. The first time I walked into an American grocery store after 2 years, I literally panicked from too much overload.

Not a month goes by that one of us doesn’t say “I want to go home.” (Okay, sometimes every week, but we’re improving.) Home for us isn’t where we were born and raised, though that did help shape us, but England. We moved back to the U.S., bought a house, had a baby, and now we’d like to take her home. However, most of our conversations are of further in the future. Maybe after G is out of the military and has his masters. Maybe we’ll go to Paris first (more jobs open there).

I expressed to him my concern that I feel like a person who may never get back to their home, and it instills a panic in me like no other.

During a conversation about life, family planning, where we’d be okay living in the future he finally mentions that a couple of spots have opened up on our old base. Just 1 of his rank, so a tiny little chance. He actually wasn’t sure I’d want to go, since he knows that it would be a huge undertaking (getting rid of approx. half our stuff, selling the house, prepping the animals). I stared at him like he’d grown a second head. I told him, screw worrying, if it’s meant to happen, we’ll get it done.

It’s such a small chance. But I couldn’t sleep that night, and since I’ve felt like I’m constantly twitchy. We won’t know if he got the spot until June. But I’m putting it out there to the universe: we’d like a break. This last year has been heartbreaking and yet we made it through not broken. So we’d like to go home. We’d like a chance to raise our daughter at least for a little while in a place that isn’t so busy. We’d like to see her experience the Christmas Fayres and markets and the open spaces where they encourage you to just be.

I don’t know what the future holds except hope. And we’re holding on to a ton of that.


I wrote this a couple of weeks ago. Last week G asked me if I was sitting down, and then told me we got the spot. Only, instead of moving the beginning of next year, we actually need to move by the end of November. At the latest. So in the next 5-6 months we need to completely de-clutter our home, finish painting, pack, and sell our house. It’s a wee bit overwhelming I’ll admit. But we’re so very excited.

E is excited too. She’s not sure for what, except tea (which we’ve taught her there will be plenty of there). And ducks. Lots of ducks.

It’s insane and glorious and we just feel this immense joy over getting to go back. Now, off to get rid of all the things I don’t love enough to have it hinder our move!

12 thoughts on “Just Breathe

  1. I really hope everything goes to plan for you and this exciting change goes smoothly. I am English, I came to America when I married my American husband… and as much as I love my day to day life here, it has never felt like home. I hope one day it may, or an opportunity for change will come our way… 3 years and counting on that! Good luck and Best wishes!

    • Thanks Danae! The U.S. can be a great place to live. I think part of why England is home for us is because it was just us two, exploring and figuring out who we were together. It will be interesting to see how different it is with a child!

  2. That is absolutely terrific news; congratulations and good luck! I just relocated to Seattle this spring and feel the same way about it being a spiritual “home.”

    Re decluttering, I did it all by myself, as my husband had to move to Seattle post-haste to begin his new job. I did a pretty good job of it; the moving company coordinator said that our total poundage was about 25% less that the normal amount for a house of our square footage. There were two weeks between his estimate and the movers actually packing up the house. In that time, I shed several hundred more pounds of stuff, so that we had half the usual amount for a house our size. Well, I got to Seattle, and my husband and I realized as we were unpacking that so much of our French-inspired Denver home didn’t match with our modern Scandinavian home in Seattle, and even more stuff went! We’ve probably made a dozen trips to Goodwill since March — and I am ever on the prowl for more stuff to shed. It becomes an addiction, and I adore how easy it is to tidy up the house because there’s so little in it!

    Anyway, the point of all that was to give you one piece of advice that I’ve found so helpful. Ask yourself, “Would I pay money right now to buy this thing again?” That question is massively clarifying for me.

    • Marsi, Thank you! That’s a great way to word it. We’ve been asking ourselves, “Is this something we use frequently (or once a year for holiday things)?” and “Do we love it enough to bother taking it across the pond with us?” We’ve purged hundreds of books over the last year (we’re both bookworms), and we’ll be going through the bookcases again simply because we won’t ever re-read all of them!

  3. Kate,
    How exciting–you’re moving back to Europe! I remember discovering your blog soon after you returned (actually thought you were a Brit who had been transplanted to the States!) I’m excited for you because now Paris is that much closer!

  4. So excited for you and your little family! Enjoy the time “back home”, reacquainting yourself with the area and seeing it as for the first time through E’s excited eyes. May the Air Force allow you many years there!

  5. What wonderful news I have followed your Blog for quite awhile. We are Expat’s living in the UK originally from Canada. I feel grateful everyday that I am in England it has easily been our favorite posting. Can’t wait to follow your travels!


    • Joanne, I just loved England. I found living in the countryside could get a little endless after a while when it was just me and G (and on a crazy shift work schedule), but I imagine it will be a whole other experience with E!

  6. Oh Kate, how exciting! I’ve been following your blogging adventures since your England days, and I must say I was the tiniest bit disappointed when you moved back to the US. Your writing from Baltimore has remained delightful but it will be lovely to follow along as you re-adapt to life in the English countryside. I studied in Ireland in college and, while I’m American born and bred, Ireland always felt like ‘home’ to me and I always longed to return more permanently. My husband and I were lucky enough to relocate to Dublin two years ago, and next month we are moving West to a small town in County Mayo. So I completely understand the joy, excitement, and gratitude you must be feeling right now. I’m so thrilled for you and am looking forward to reading about your family’s upcoming adventures!

    Kind regards,

    • Jamie,

      Thank you! It’s great to have other people who understand that Home isn’t always where you are from. I was bit disappointed when we moved back to the states too! Thought I have to say we’ve come to love Baltimore more than we ever imagined we would. I’m excited to re-acclimate into England. We’re also planning a trip to Ireland so that we can decide where to settle down (my family is originally from Cork, and we’ve discussed the possibility of going there once we’re done with military life!).

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